In-Pulse by Rolf Sachs @ Milan Design Week 2011

In-Pulse by Rolf Sachs @ Milan Design Week 2011

Rolf Sachs added human elements to usually inanimate objects , fusing pieces of sculptural furniture with mechanism of the human body at Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti, and literally giving us a breath of fresh air. Inspired by the motion and sound of breathing and the beating of the human heart, the installation focuses on the primary physiological mechanisms of the human body.

Sachs has created sculptural furniture & lighting pieces that have been infused with human emotions and attributes, creating a collection of unique and individually crafted objects that can form part of your everyday environment and will continually surprise and awaken the viewers’ senses. A usually static piece of furniture comes alive, representing different emotions and reactions we can personally relate to.

His Lighting Domes offer a surrealistic reinterpretation of the content of typical museum displays. Each dome is mirrored and contains an integrated light source, which allows the illuminated mirror coating to become virtually transparent, unveiling a unique hidden surprise at its centre. The reflections created on the inside mirrored surface of the dome are intriguing and mysterious as each time you look, you will discover something new.

Each dome is a one-off in a series of 17 and all in a typical Sachs manner – unpredictable and humorous.


In Pulse  ( cont’d)

As the viewer enters the first room, they will encounter an intriguing red wax chair that sits in conversation with a classic mechanical metronome. The usually regular, metrical clicks of the metronome have been ‘tuned’ to replicate the  beat of the human heart, creating extra layers to what is ordinarily an impersonal and mechanical object. The BPM (beats per minute) of the metronome can be manually adjusted to replicate the entire spectrum of a human’s pulse rate.

A collection of surreal chandeliers is installed in the second room of the gallery. Within each of the chandeliers lies a pillow, a neutral and usually static everyday object that has been injected with life through the creation of a human ‘breathing’ motion within. The ‘breathing pillow’ is illuminated from above by a single incandescent bulb and each chandelier contains a Whispering Window speaker concealed in the base that echoes the faint sound of the individual ‘breathing’ that accompanies the rise and fall breathing motion of the pillow. The subtle sound is only audible in close proximity to the chandeliers, encouraging the viewers to engage closely with the exhibits.

The ‘on the pulse’ tabletop is filled with pigmented mineral oil, creating a tranquil, red mirror finish surface. The calmness is surprisingly interrupted as the table is brought to life through the ripple effects of a ‘mechanical heartbeat’ that is transmitted onto the oil surface. A pre-programmed, adjustable combination of ‘beating’ signals is sent to a speaker installed under the table’s surface to recreate the rhythmic beat of a human heart that animates the oil surface.


Addict-us. First featured in 2007 in the Selfridges surrealist window display, Sachs presents the scientific skull head filled with multi-purpose pills to demonstrate humans’ addictive tendencies in our modern society

Rattus maximus. An albino rat stands like the ruler on top of a world of random, everyday household rubbish, such as peanut, egg and clam shells, sardine, cat food and coke cans, coffee capsules, an analogue clock and broken glass…to name a few. A sponge printed with the word ‘Leitkultur’ is amongst the pile and cunningly challenges the concept of ‘Leitkultur’, a German terminology mocking the concept of intellectuals that follow only one ruling paradigm of culture.

Raptus domesticus. At the centre of the dome sits a pristine skeleton, which looks at first like that of a small dinosaur, yet, the comedy lies in the fact that it actually belongs to an everyday, domestic chicken. The resulting aesthetic, with its hundreds of reflections, is surreal, intriguing and unexpected.


About Rolf Sachs

Throughout his life Sachs has been heavily influenced by the art that surrounded him as a boy growing up in Switzerland, citing the work of Malevich, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin or Joseph Beuys as influences in his creative development.

Rolf Sachs studied business administration in London and San Francisco and was an investment banker before turning to furniture design twenty years ago. Since day one his work received international acclaim at a number of one-man and group exhibitions. His body of work includes set design for opera and ballet, furniture, lighting, photography, architecture and interior design projects all used to demonstrate conceptual, rather than decorative ideas, governed by emotion and intellect. The work of the studio is not defined by the project/medium but by a common thread of ideas, which juxtapose function and art.

He lives with his wife Maryam and three children in London. Sachs is a Member of the Board of Trustees for the London Design Museum, the Tate Modern International Council and a member of the Sotheby’s International Advisory Board.

About Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti

Established in 2001, Studio Visconti used to be the studio of Lucio Fontana and now represents the most important Post War Italian artists who have characterised the Italian art scene during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The gallery also showcases works by Conceptual American artists from the second half of the 20th Century, spanning from Minimal to Pop Art.

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