Although several have tried, few design studios manage to unify concept, craft and sensitivity quite like Studio Glithero. The London-based duo's most recent display of creative magic takes the form of a special installation - commissioned by Champagne makers Perrier-Jouët - currently on show at Design Miami this week.
'Lost Time' is a poetic articulation of Perrier-Jouët's DNA in trademark Glithero fashion. Formed by strands of metal beads, elegantly suspended in interweaving ellipses over a shallow pool of water, the installation cleverly transports the sense of wandering within the cellars of Maison Belle Epoque, Perrier-Jouët's Art Nouveau haven in Epernay, France, right to the centre of Miami Beach.
'We were struck by the strange atmosphere in the cellars, where the Champagnes are laid down to mature,' explains Sarah van Gameren, who runs the studio with Tim Simpson. 'They are really long and curved, and there is a really unique humid and timeless atmosphere, which we somehow wanted to bottle and bring up. Puddles [in the cellars], which made beautiful reflections, and dewdrops caught in spider webs also really contributed to the sense of timelessness we wanted to capture.'
There is another unexpected source of influence over the piece - a model Gaudi created for the Sagrada Familia. '[He] made a series of strings with little bags of sand distributed alongside. It created a fantastic, organic curve, almost like an analog way to create curves,' van Gameren enthuses.
This reference was kept firmly in mind through the creative process. Adds the designer: 'Tim and I first saw the model during our study period and because of the Art Nouveau connection, we decided that this could be done again today in a bigger, more sculptural way, like a landscape.'
The idea is clearly successful. Installed in a dimly lit booth within Design Miami, 'Lost Time' is a minimalist, architectural rendition of the Art Nouveau language, which makes Perrier-Jouët's design debut a resounding triumph. The foray into design coincides with the French house becoming the exclusive supplier of all the Champagne that will be imbibed at Art Basel and Design Miami for the next two years to come.
As for the future of the installation, Perrier-Jouët's style director Axelle de Buffévent has a clear idea herself. 'The piece will become part of our collection at Maison Belle Epoque. We have Gallé, Majorelle, Guimard, all the biggest names. It will be displayed in the cellars, as per Sarah and Tim's request. We are currently looking for the right cellar to display it. It's a little tricky; the cellar needs to be big, and they don't have flat ceilngs, but we want to be sure to respect [Studio Glithero's] vision.'
We'll drink to that.