2023 has been a particularly auspicious year for British polymath Dr Samuel Ross. Among a raft of blockbuster brand collaborations, experimental fashion campaigns, and groundbreaking design exhibits, the multifaceted talent developed a paradigm-shifting faucet for American bathroom giant Kohler and debuted the culturally responsive ‘Coarse’ furniture collection with New York gallery Friedman Benda.
Regardless of what he’s working on, Ross always imbues his projects with an equal measure of decipherability and conceptual reasoning. The ‘Expression.Service.Essence’ project – developed for the Miami Design District (MDD) and revealed for Miami Design Week 2023 – is no different.
Samuel Ross’ Miami Design District benches: ‘Expression.Service.Essence’
Permanently placed in different locations throughout the burgeoning 6.5-hectare mix-used neighbourhood, 12 emphatically ‘Ross’ benches bring his human-centric sensibility and sculptural aesthetic into the public sphere. For Ross, this commission is a study into the importance of such spaces.
'It is a forum of experimentation that takes shape as an optimistic, expressive, accessible form,' he says. 'Channelling and contorting the behaviours of what it is to fundamentally operate as a British sculptor or artist through seating, the public forum and explicit gestures of optimism are at the core of all 12 functional sculptures.'
Conceived under the moniker of his industrial design studio and creative agency SR_A, the iterative designs reflect the same visual language and formal vocabulary as some of his other concepts: the deft juxtapositioning of organic and rectilinear lines; smooth and rough textures. Ross realised the designs by drawing with charcoal, Indian ink and pencil. The chalk shapes were brought to life by CNC-milling and powder-coating highly durable steel.
'The ambiguity of sculpture and furniture across this particular time, the dual properties presented, is a grey area filled with elasticity,' says Ross. 'At its core, we are discussing servitude, elation, and access, whilst counterbalancing the lightness required to ensure each form invites the viewer to become an end user.' It’s rare that such esoteric ideation can reach such a broad group of people.
The project adds to the district’s already robust offering of interactive furnishings and striking artworks – large, playfully coloured stones and kinetic swings amongst them, alongside the bulbous forms of Lara Bohinc’s ‘Utopia’, recently unveiled for a year-long stint.
'Samuel Ross is one of the most important creatives, artists and critical thinkers working today,' says Craig Robins, president & CEO of Dacra and the force behind much of MDD’s evolution over the years. 'I have followed his work for many years, and personally collect his pieces. I truly admire his ability to meld raw creativity with profound cultural insight to design pieces that inspire viewers to question. His upcoming installation in the heart of the [neighbourhood] promises to be a testament to his visionary prowess and will serve as an immersive, interactive introduction to a new audience.'
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Adrian Madlener is a Brussels-born, New York-based writer, curator, consultant, and artist. Over the past ten years, he’s held editorial positions at The Architect’s Newspaper, TLmag, and Frame magazine, while also contributing to publications such as Architectural Digest, Artnet News, Cultured, Domus, Dwell, Hypebeast, Galerie, and Metropolis. In 2023, He helped write the Vincenzo De Cotiis: Interiors monograph. With degrees from the Design Academy Eindhoven and Parsons School of Design, Adrian is particularly focused on topics that exemplify the best in craft-led experimentation and sustainability.
BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA brings Esther Mahlangu’s art to life at Frieze LA
BMW’s Art Car Project has rarely impacted on the company’s everyday business of building cars. With the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, could all that be about to change?
By Jonathan Bell Published
This Walter S White house in Indio is given a new lease of life
This Walter S White house in Indio, California, has been redesigned for the 21st century by Sean Gaston
By Hadani Ditmars Published
The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2024 celebrate UK’s rising creatives
Here are The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2024 winners, spanning theatre writing, jazz composition and regenerative design
By Tianna Williams Published
Smart toilet by Samuel Ross for Kohler flushes out the inefficiencies of conventional designs
The Formation 02 smart toilet by Samuel Ross for Kohler is the second step in the multi-year collaboration between the British designer and the bathroom brand
By Adrian Madlener Published
2024 horoscope: design for every star sign
For the Wallpaper* 2024 horoscope, we asked Italian astrologist Lumpa what the year has in store, and what design objects each star sign will love
By Lumpa Published
Kohler and Samuel Ross made a bold splash at Design Miami 2023
Kohler and Samuel Ross’ studio SR_A debuted the ‘Formation 01’ faucet at a hotly hued and interactive Design Miami installation
By Simon Mills Published
Alcova's Miami debut embodies the city's mix of chill and speed
Inside the Miami debut of Milanese design show Alcova, set within the iconic 1950s Selena Gold Dust Motel
By Maria Sobrino Published
More design in Miami: things to see in town this weekend
From Design District installations to the new disruptive design fair, highlights for design around the city
By Rosa Bertoli Published
Birdhouses and bulbous furniture: inside Lara Bohinc’s Miami Design District ‘Utopia’
Lara Bohinc rounds up all things natural and organic to create ‘Utopia’, a new design installation for the Miami Design District
By Rosa Bertoli Published
First look at Samuel Ross’ revolutionary faucet for Kohler
The Formation 01 design by Samuel Ross for Kohler is set to change how we engage with bathroom fixtures
By Adrian Madlener Published
Alcova Miami will take place in two historic Biscayne Boulevard locations
Alcova Miami has announced the locations for its inaugural edition in the city, which will take place between 6-10 December 2023 at the Selina Gold Dust Motel and the former Emancipator Boatyard
By Rosa Bertoli Last updated