New Gallery Fumi show celebrates the power of collaboration

New Gallery Fumi show celebrates the power of collaboration

Gallery Fumi unveils a new, extended exhibition space as it presents ‘Together’ (until 12 November 2021), an exhibition featuring 20 designers and makers working in pairs

Gallery Fumi presents ‘Together – The power of collaboration’ (until 12 November 2021), a new exhibition presented during London Design Festival in the gallery’s new extended space, featuring ten collaborations between designers and makers. In early 2020, Gallery Fumi founders Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo took to Zoom and WhatsApp, inviting their designers to form pairs and work collaboratively. 

Pratt and Capo looked through their collaborators to devise the pairings, inspired by the designers’ style, crafts and approach to design. The results of these collaborations bring each creative’s approach into a new light, with new aesthetic frontiers developed and now displayed. Designers worked across continents as the pieces were developed between virtual and physical approaches. 

Ten new collaborations between designers, artists and makers

Photography: Thomas Joseph Wright

Emma Witter and Shinta Nakajima took their respective expertise – sculptural bone and silverware pieces –  to their collaboration, developed between London and Tokyo and with the help of Michelle Oyen from the University of North Carolina, a bioengineer who ideveloped a biomimetic material that simulates bone. Despite the physical distance between them, the trio were able to combine their respective works into a harmonious centrepiece: ‘Considerate human contact is what artists and makers need right now, and is what art and design is all about,’ says Witter.

Berlin designer Tina Roeder and Tuscan craftsman Francesco Perini created a wooden piece based on traditional marquetry techniques. ‘The beauty of this exchange is that it allows you to look at your own work differently,’ says Roeder. ‘Every collaboration is a vivid learning experience.’

Photography: Thomas Joseph Wright

The ‘Console’ by Lukas Wegwerth, and Steven Petrides and Andreas Voukenas of Voukenas Petrides was created between Athens and Berlin, with the Greek duo creating an architectural structure that Wegwerth covered in shingles from his own barn, once he received it. ‘We are making the bones and Lukas will add the muscle and skin,’ said Petrides during the process. ‘Collaboration has caused us to consider his needs.’

The collaboration between duos Glithero and Jamesplumb started way before this project: ‘We all met at one of Fumi’s infamous Christmas parties,’ says Glithero’s Sarah Van Gameren. The two couples combined their individual practices through a meeting of pieces that feature Glithero’s hand-impressed vases proceeding into a display cabinet and sideboard by Jamesplumb. ‘Having fresh eyes on our work brought out themes that we’d only been intuitively aware of,’ say James Russell and Hannah Plumb. ‘Like our tendency to make containers, and that resonated with the idea of “holding” that pervades the vases.’

‘Console’ by Lukas Wegwerth and Voukenas Petrides

Max Lamb and Study O Portable contributed three brick designs – a voluminous room divider, a rolled bench, and a stool – while ​​Jie Wu’s colour sensibility was contrasted with Tuomas Markunpoika’s delicate metalwork, the two combined into a multilayered piece.

A sculpture by Casey McCafferty and Saelia Aparicio was developed long-distance between California and London, and combines functional elements (a light, a table) with playful illustrations on natural wood. Meanwhile, Rowan Mersh and Sam Orlando Miller combined their respective signature techniques and materialities into a sculptural mirror.

Finally, Kustaa Saksi’s woven artworks met Finnish company Nikari’s wood expertise, as the Helsinki-based designer worked closely with creative director Jenni Roininen and a team of master cabinetmakers to create a piece made of Japanese paper and wood, which Saksi defines as ‘a sort of Wunderkammer’. She concludes: ‘All collaborations test and expand our knowledge.’ Something that Gallery Fumi’s approach exemplifies through these latest pieces. §

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