Fresh from unveiling its Phillip K Smith III-designed installation ‘Open Sky’ at Salone del Mobile 2018, COS has partnered with Dia:Beacon in New York to support the long-term installation of octogenarian artist Dorothea Rockburne’s mathematically-focused artworks. The installation – set to be expanded towards the end of the year – has also inspired a men’s and women’s capsule collection, which draws on Rockburne’s affinity for graphic shapes and her experimentation with folded and torn paper.

© Dorothea Rockburne/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. © Chamberlain/2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn © Palermo/2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York © Anne Truitt/ Bridgeman, New York

‘I first saw Dorothea Rockburne’s work in New York in 2014 when visiting MoMA, and was immediately drawn to the subtle power of her aesthetic,’ says COS creative director Karin Gustafsson of the Canada-born artist. ‘She has a beautiful way of playing with line, function, and form, and adopts fascinating methods to using and applying materials in unexpected ways.’ The resulting collection includes shirts with origami-like folds at the hem, and tote bags resembling crinkled paper. ‘We drew much inspiration from the crisp folded lines of Rockburne’s “Locus” series,’ Gustafsson adds, of the series of six etchings made between 1972 and 1975, created from heavy paper creased with folds, and printed with white ink.

The long-term installation at Dia:Beacon features Rockburne’s works from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and celebrates the mathematical approach which the artist took to her designs of this period. Fascinated by the concept of set theory, she also has a doctorate in mathematics. It includes ‘Tropical Tan’ (1967-68), an artwork made from four sheets of pig iron, creased along the diagonal axis and partially coated with wrinkle-finish paint, and a new version of ’Domain of the Variable’ (1971–72), a graphic set-based work in crude oil, chipboard and paper, which will be installed directly onto the exhibition space.

‘Explain it, I can’t,’ Rockburne told COS of her aesthetic approach. ‘That’s why I do it, it’s not explainable in language.’ The fold-focused and draped silhouettes of the COS capsule collection also denotes another sublime design alphabet.