Grand gestures: Fredrikson Stallard’s latest work makes a bold statement
Kings of avant-garde design, Fredrikson Stallard return to their home-from-home at David Gill Gallery this month, just in time for the London Design Festival. From today, visitors will find the studio’s latest works pulled together under the title ‘Intuitive Gestures’ – a name that references the studio’s instinctive design approach. Since founding their studio in 1995, the Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard have become renowned for their unique ability to transform materials into otherworldly forms through a combination of digital and craft processes.
‘Fredrikson Stallard’s take is to allow the material’s natural qualities to come through but in a strictly controlled way,’ explains Fredrikson. ‘We exert our dominance on nature while allowing its true qualities to exist.’ The spellbinding results, which see the London-based designers testing the limits of what it is possible to achieve with acrylic, steel and bronze and alabaster, appear deceptively effortless.
‘We often work with translucent materials such as glass and acrylic because of our intense relationship with refraction and reflection,’ explains Stallard. He is referencing a new dining table and coffee table made entirely of glacial blocks of clear acrylic that appear to have peacefully floated into the gallery from Antarctica. ‘We create not only an inner life within the works themselves but also in the way we use reflection within an environment as a way of painting with light.’
‘Antarctica I’ guéridon, 2017, by Fredrikson Stallard
Also on show, a set of new blackened steel and bronze shelves – entitled ‘Scriptus’ – forms an imposing modular unit that measures 5m high. Intuitively applied rather than deliberately precise, the wavering shelves that stretch across its width are like gentle strokes of hand-drawn calligraphy. ‘Our work with metals have their soul in the intense masculine depths of the raw material such as mass, surface and patinations,’ Stallard explains of their darkly mysterious surface. ‘The combination of these two families sit in contrast to each other and act as light and dark, heaven and hell, and give each other strength.’
With the ‘Torch’ lamp, the studio explores the incredible translucency of alabaster, stretching it so finely that its rock-like properties are forgotten and instead it becomes translucent enough to let light shine through. Other pieces in the exhibition include evolutions of previous bodies of work, such as the ‘Crushtable’, which was produced with David Gill Gallery in 2012 but has now been reimagined as a desk.
The exhibition marks 11 years of collaboration between David Gill and Fredrikson Stallard, over which time a deep bond has formed between gallery and artist. ‘David Gill is visionary,’ says Fredrikson emphatically, who considers the gallery akin to family. ‘They have supported our dreams and ambition from the first day we started to work together – not by tying our hands as slaves to commercialism, but by opening our eyes to the immense possibilities and other dimensions achievable in the progression of our work.’