The floor’s the limit: Paul Cocksedge digs deep for a new modular furniture collection

’Excavation: Evicted’ is a new collaboration between Paul Cocksedge and Friedman Benda gallery for Salone del Mobile
’Excavation: Evicted’ is a new collaboration between Paul Cocksedge and Friedman Benda gallery for Salone del Mobile
(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

The latest collection from designer Paul Cocksedge might be the most personal body of work he has created yet. To be presented at Salone del Mobile by New York gallery Friedman Benda, the project originated when Cocksedge was evicted from his London studio. 'Excavation: Evicted' is an emotional and creative reaction to the experience, turned into a collection of furniture.

‘My team and I have been [here] for over ten years,’ explains Cocksedge, ‘so I wanted to commemorate this space in some way.’ While looking around the studio, he had the intuition to explore what was literally below it. He started by digitally scanning the floor, discovering a pathway belonging to a Victorian stable. ‘What we found under the floor is an example of London’s multi-layered history,’ says Cocksedge.

Working with his studio team, Cocksedge drilled into the floor to extract cylinders that were then used as modular elements for the furniture. ‘By drilling, we discovered this material that is a mix of concrete and rubble,’ says the designer. This accidental material (looking like an intriguing terrazzo or granite) became the core of the collection, which features tables and shelves. The project, the designer explains, was developed to 'celebrate and release the tension and creative energy that’s shaped the space for me. I wanted to commemorate my time there.' The collection is also a way to comment on the changing faces of creative neighborhoods globally, and the challenges young creatives face when looking for affordable space to work. ‘By creating pieces from the very fabric of a disappearing creative space, I want to commemorate the places inhabited by the creative workers.’

concrete cylinders cut from the studio floor

Cocksedge worked with studio team to extract the cylinders – resembling a kind of terrazzo – from his studio floor

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

The concept for the collection was created in collaboration with Beatrice Trussardi, part of the Trussardi fashion family and a supporter of creative projects. With the help of Trussardi, the body of work will be displayed in Milan’s Palazzo Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro, a 17th century building which, like Cocksedge’s studio, is undergoing a serious overhaul. From next year, it will become the city’s Etruscan museum.

‘The brief for this project has basically come from the landlord himself,’ the designer half-jokes, noting how he looks forward to taking some of his old studio with him to the next space: ‘My Hackney studio will also accompany me to my new workspace.’

Paul Cocksedge standing over the pile of concrete cylinders

The project was initiated by Cocksedge being evicted from the London studio he’d operated from for the past decade

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

To commemorate the space, he drilled out cylinders of material from the studio floor, using these to create new, modular furniture pieces

To commemorate the space, he drilled out cylinders of material from the studio floor, using these to create new, modular furniture pieces

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

Cylinders being extracted from the studio floor

Cylinders being extracted from the studio floor

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

Views of concrete cylinders and holes

This project, the designer explains, was developed to ’celebrate and release the tension and creative energy that’s shaped the space for me’

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

A table made, in-part, from the extracted stone

A table made, in-part, from the extracted stone

(Image credit: Friedman Benda, Mark Cocksedge)

INFORMATION

’Excavation: Evicted’ is on view from 4–9 April. For more information, visit the Friedman Benda website (opens in new tab)

Photography courtesy of Friedman Benda and Mark Cocksedge

ADDRESS

Fondazione Luigi Rovati
Corso Venezia 52
Milan

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.