Rémy Martin’s mobile sculpture at Design Museum London
Delight comes from on high at London’s Design Museum. Hanging from the brutalist, hyperbolic paraboloid construction’s roof on Kensington High Street is an artwork that glints and shimmers weightlessly in the reflected sunshine. Hundreds of gold origami figures twist and dance in the vast atrium, beckoning visitors toward ‘Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life’, an exhibition of the French designer and architect’s glittering career.
Created by designer Charles Kaisin, the mobile sculpture – Rémy Martin: the Centaur – is made up of 1,724 centaur figures, each one hand-gilded by renowned goldsmith Atelier Thiery to represent the Rémy Martin logo. The number of centaurs is a reference to the year 1724, when the cognac house was founded.
The mobile’s proximity to the Perriand exhibition (showing until 5 September 2021) is no accident. Intended to celebrate French talent and craftsmanship, both classic and contemporary, the kinetic installation helps shine a light on the work of a giant of 20th century design: a free spirit who championed good design for all.
Marking 25 years since the last significant presentation of Perriand’s work in London, the exhibition follows Perriand’s creative process through sketches, photographs, scrapbooks, prototypes and final pieces. It also showcases Perriand’s life as a fiercely independent pioneer, sportswoman and global traveller, who helped define the look of the modern European interior.
Acknowledging Rémy Martin’s longstanding association with craftsmanship, the sculpture project is a collaboration between two major creative talents.
Belgian Kaisin transforms and recycles everyday materials into contemporary design objects, making work that touches on the theme of geometry in movement. A qualified architect and a graduate of Ron Arad’s class at the Royal College of Art in London, Kaisin completed an internship at Jean Nouvel’s studio in Paris before moving to the Kyoto University of Arts, where he studied the art of paper folding. He articulates his work – often whimsical, arresting, uniting, and powerfully celebratory – around three axes: object design, architecture, and scenography. His pieces, he says, are ‘a way of bringing people together through shared wonder’.
Atelier Thiery is a family-run gilding studio based in Paris, responsible for the restoration and beautification of some of the world’s most celebrated venues and works of art. The workshop employs traditional, artisanal techniques, passed down from generation to generation.
To mark the collaborative project’s residency at the Design Museum, a limited-edition bottle of Rémy Martin XO, produced by the house and designed by Atelier Thiery, pays homage to the illustrious dialogue between cognac and gold. Featuring an 18ct gold leaf detail, the bottle is enclosed in a gilded case inspired by the centuries-old French technique of verre églomisé, and honouring the rich blend of up to 400 eaux-de-vie that comprises Rémy Martin XO. §