Gallerist, Nina Yashar again confirmed herself as an exceptional visionist on the scene of international design, presenting an unrivaled series of extraordinary events at Fuorisalone 2019.
As a reference point for collectors of 20th-century design and a catalyst for new talent through exclusive editions catering to artisanal work, Nina moves with ease between objects and furnishings from the great maestros to young designers blurring the lines between creative languages and styles in a mix of industrial design and art.
Reinforcing her unmistakable instinct as an explorer, Yashar hosted a striking showing in the scenographic atmospheres of Nilufar Depot in Via Lancetti 34.
Set design, from Space Caviar’s Joseph Grima, presented as a rarefied landscape with pieces suspended in scenographic bubbles evoking the utopian residences of the 70’s experimentation in Radical Design.
The transparent globes are a faithful reproduction — adapted for the spaces of the Depot — of the Oasis No. 7, an installation from Austrian trio Haus Rucker Co Group in occasion of Documenta 5, the international art exhibition held by Kassel in 1972 as a manifesto of the evolution of domestic spaces towards the avant-garde.
“ The bubbles represent an episode in experimentation, something that decades ago seemed something impossible. Now they are a reality and a very ‘simple’ and affordable one – you can easily buy them on the internet and install them yourself.‘ ……….. Nina Yashar, gallerist, collector, and founder of Nilufar.
“ Some radical collective experiences from the 60s and 70s (Archigram, Archizoom, Superstudio, Memphis etc.) had a strong ideological foundation, or a Manifesto, nowadays collectives are born mainly from a need of young designers who aggregate to have a shared space, shared technologies and instruments, giving them the possibility of experiment and test, giving shape to their ideas and obsessions “‘ ……………… Nina Yashar
Nilufar Gallery launched itself into a galaxy of emergent designers. building on a seminal pilot project initiated in 2018, its exhibition ‘FAR’ created a ‘temporary collective’ of young talent whose way of working includes forming, dissolving, re-grouping and ungrouping fluidly with open-end.
The final result is a mapping of history that compares and contrasts the radical approaches of designers both past and present.
Whilst the radical aspects can be somewhat mirrored, the structural definition of a collective has grown to become much more fluid.
Creating a fertile place to map future directions for design, the central hall of the depot was overtaken by amorphous pieces that subvert traditional concepts of form.
They worked together to destabilize ideas of domestic spaces with designers selected for their experimental methods.
Supporting Yashar was a group of recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduates, including the anti-superfluous Johan Viladrich, echoed by Thomas Ballouhey’s low tech lighting objects, and Wendy Andreu, whose recent additions to her ‘regen’ series are on display.
These designers’ experiments openly challenge the notion of function, focusing instead on deploying materials and techniques that have often never been tried before.
Projects converge that share an obsession with membranes, films, coatings and epidermises, or with forms developed through processes of almost geological stratification and layering.
Pieces communicate in a direct, visceral way, interrogating our understanding of contemporary living and prompting discussions about the future: what does a chair look like? how is it made? what other functions does it have?
The 3 transparent bubble houses showcased pieces by the emerging designers Wendy Andre and Thomas Ballouhey.
“ It is a very fascinating environment the one created in collectives, and I was amazed to discover how incredibly lively they are and how free they are when thinking about the future of design “ ………… Nina Yashar
Beginning with material rather than form seems to be the prerogative of designers on display.
And although each are vastly different from one another, their works are held together through the negation of pre-stabilized aesthetic canons, catering to the creative process rather than concrete functionality.
The young talents at FAR begin with an in-depth study on materials and construction techniques, concentrating their work directly on the surface of products to create a grotesque — sometimes even disturbing —appearance, inciting awe and excitement.
Examples of this include the Camouflage Soft Stool by Wendy Andreu and the Metal Fountain by Audrey Large, realized in plastic materials with a 3D printer
With a provocative presentation, a bizarre effect is triggered by the mixture of conventional domestic spaces with the dark and rough surfaces of furnishings from the Archetype Series by the Destroyers/Builders.
Then there’s the ultra-colorful Guise series signed by Odd Matter, distinguished by a glossy lacquered finish.
The final result is a striking contrast pushing visitors to explore the dominating concept of “modern”, which is in need of redefinition.
Each object features its own peculiarities, with an array of uneven, wrinkled, or globular forms far from mainstream tastes.
Together, they compose a contemporary fresco vaguely evoking the idea of a chair, table, bed, or container.
Overall, however, the familiarity of these pieces and their true purpose is shadowed, taking second place to their role as an artistic manifestation.
Selecting the pieces on display not for their functions but for their capacity as relational objects, Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima have no intention of inserting the body of work into a movement or trend.
What’s more, it seems too early to tell if FAR represents the future of art, or merely a transitional moment.