Last chance to see: Philippe Malouin’s multifunctional steel furniture is made from found objects
Athens’ The Breeder gallery presents a series of steel furniture works by Philippe Malouin. Titled ‘Steel Works’, the exhibition marks the Canadian, London-based designer’s solo debut in Athens, and merges an industrial design language with a bright palette of saturated hues. The collection was previewed at the gallery’s booths at Frieze London 2021 and Fiac, before being shown in its entirety in Athens.
Featuring sculptural steel furniture and lighting design, the collection merges Malouin’s focus on craft and industrial design. The pieces’ forms are achieved through compositions of basic components, objects found by the designer in scrapyards in Greece and the UK.
Steel furniture by Philippe Malouin
Manufactured between Brighton and Athens, the process is inspired by the Dadaist découpé tradition, which involves cutting up and rearranging parts (usually text). ‘Sourcing steel objects instinctively and rearranging them ad hoc, Malouin’s intention is to create new meaning and value,’ reads a text introducing the works. The results are multifunctional ‘hybrid objects’ that create an interplay between two- and three-dimensional forms and challenge our perception.
The collection includes a chair made from a bench bracket from an Athens park and a 20kg bodybuilding plate, a lamp made with an I-beam, and a mobile workstation based on a lawn bowling roller and seat. These found objects are combined with standard construction elements such as pipes, plates, brackets, and rebars. The collection’s vivid colours represent the manufacturing location, with red and green for the UK, and blue and light blue for Greece.
An ongoing fascination of Malouin’s is finding everyday materials and repurposing them as the base of his desirable designs – case in point his ‘Press’ mirror for Umbra Shift, an intuitive design object made by simply pressing and polishing a steel tube, or the more intricate design of the series of ‘Turntables’ he created for the Museum of Santa Barbara, whose design is based on a standard circular groove, which had intrigued the studio’s team.
‘They are ultimately artistic manifestations where their functionality is not always delineated,’ states The Breeder gallery introduction to Malouin’s new works. ‘By probing its boundaries to and beyond the limits, Malouin creates here a rather surprising language of form.’ §