The work of London-based designers Fredrikson Stallard sits in equilibrium between many opposing worlds; analogue and digital, design and sculpture, creation and destruction, control and chaos. So it seems fitting that their new show at David Gill Gallery is titled ‘Gravity’.
As well as important early pieces like the 'Glass Unit' tables, which went on to inform much of the studio’s subsequent work, the show introduces new furniture such as the ambitious new clear resin 'Gravity' tables. Made using a new digital technique whereby thin fragments of ice are scanned in high resolution and then used to shape solid acrylic, the tables serve as a permanent recreation of the studio’s temporary ‘Polaris’ table that was carved from melting ice for the duo’s tenth anniversary show, ‘Momentum’, during London Design Festival last year.
Also making a return following the September showcase are a set of sculptural, velvet flock-covered foam armchairs. Appearing like rocks quarried from the surface of Mars, the ‘Species’ are hand carved from synthetic foam before being covered in Rothko-inspired red velvet. At yesterday’s preview, it was announced that the ‘Species II’ armchair has been acquired for the permanent collection of the San Francisco MoMA, which is set to open its doors in May.
As well as the monumental works for which the studio is best known, the show also introduces a collection of smaller, more ‘accessible’ design objects including a new series of bronze ‘Consequence’ candlestick holders that were cast from pieces of leftover crushed metal found in the studio scrap pile, as well as a set of cast bronze ‘Manhattan’ firedogs made by digitally scanning and then mirroring pieces of crushed metal. ‘That feeling of effortlessness is really important in our work,’ says Ian Stallard. ‘We like finding a beauty in these brutalist forms.’