Lathe by Sebastian Brajkovic



An exhibition of new work by designer Sebastian Brajkovic opens at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London today.


Called Lathe, the collection comprises furniture pieces that appear to have been stretched or extruded.


"This extruding idea came from a Photoshop function where you can pick a row of pixels and extend them as long as you want," explains Brajkovic.


Here's some more information from Carpenters Workshop Gallery:


5 February - 14 March 2009


Carpenters Workshop Gallery is pleased to present Sebastian Brajkovic’s highly anticipated new body of work, entitled Lathe. Brajkovic’s work strikes a fascinating balance between the old and the new.


His work is both highly contemporary, using computer technology to form composition, yet ingrained in history with its exquisite craftsmanship and traditional techniques.


His artistic process starts by deconstructing historical pieces of furniture, in particular seventeenth-century chairs, then through a combination of wood carving, bronze casting and hand embroidering, he reconstructs an entirely new vision.


His functional artworks are both a tribute to the past and a prelude to the future. In the Lathe works, Brajkovic plays with his ’sitters’ subconscious comfort of the familiar, by taking traditional forms and techniques and subverting them with contemporary attitude.


‘They are called ‘Lathe’ because of the apparent rotating effect of the design. In fact the word Lathe comes from the Latin word used to convey the idea of milk being stirred. My very first thought with making this design was actually a practical one. I wanted to create more space on a singular chair by “extruding” the seat’s surface area. This extruding idea came from a Photoshop function where you can pick a row of pixels and extend them as long as you want. This modern computer method aided me to devise new ways of sketching as a contradictory partner in my design process. In this paradoxical sense, using antique forms was the next logical step.’


Brajkovic uses form and composition like an artist; the spinning composition he uses is comparable to the similarly computer-distortion inspired Vortex Paintings by contemporary artist David Salle, but the form is more likable to seventeenth-century furniture makers, bronze foundry artisans and traditional embroiderers. Thus is the parody of Brajkovic's work, it tells a story of contemporary society’s need to reference the past, but present it in an idiosyncratically contemporary way. He is drawn to the aesthetics of the past as a way of retaining our memories, but reveres the new, with its unknown and curious future.


Exhibition Highlights

Lathe I, Bronze, embroidered upholstery, Edition of 8.
In Lathe I Brajkovic twists the familiar seventeenth-century dining chair and conjures up a playful alter reality, where objects themselves can be physically stretched and pulled as if in digital programme. The Lathe I has been pierced by a central axis running through the profile of the chair back, and as though being turned on a giant lathe, the seat and back extend around offering up a new, more spacious seating arrangement. With the seat extruded, the arms of the chair look like they might meet in reverse, the whole piece existing in the negative space of a traditional chair.


Lathe VIII, Bronze, embroidered upholstery, Edition of 8.
Lathe VIII reworks the traditional concept of a loveseat. Two antique chairs have been corrupted, fused together with the vision of modern technology, remade in traditional techniques, and now presenting an entirely new perspective on the conventional loveseat.


There is dynamism in this work, the chairs apparently turn around, pirouette, then spin off and trick the eye by giving the impression of a shift of movement or change of direction.


Like a sequence from The Matrix where the camera rotates around a scene that is frozen-in-time, when taking in the form a certain stillness pervades as you mentally navigate the distorted, alter-reality shape.


In 2008 the Lathe VIII won critics pick of the Design Art London Fair, and was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum for their permanent collection with sponsorship from Moet Hennesy. It will also feature in the Telling Tales exhibition curated by Gareth Williams opening in June 2009, which will focus on work by designers who explore the narrative potential of objects, connecting the past with the present.


Lathe Table, Aluminium, Edition of 8.
Made of aluminium, the Lathe Table is quite literally created by being turned on a real lathe. In this incarnation however, the chisel carves aluminum directly instead of the traditional wood.


The evocative sense of movement is conveyed in the spinning lines of the quasi vortex, offering the past impression of a moment of great movement and now stillness. Inspired originally by a child’s spinning top, whizzing around at high speed, it has the same illusion that once at its optimal speed it is no longer moving but standing up straight.


The highly polished surface is a product of the lathe turning technique which polishes as it carves the metal. He explains that whereas the Lathe Chairs are more like painting, in that modifications can be made during the production process, the Lathe Table is a one step process which is an honest and direct application of the Lathe concept.


Lathe V, Bronze, embroidered upholstery, Edition of 8.
In this work, modern techniques collide with classical shapes and an artisan use of materials. The turning of the lathe is evident this time through the central axis of the seat, the rotation highlighted further with the pulled extended lines of the embroidery - almost comically -like movement in a cartoon sketch.


Again in a turn of wit, Brajkovic offers a view of the underside of the seat even though the viewer is standing up straight. He bends perspective like a painter might, but in a three-dimensional way.


Born in 1975, his mother is Dutch-Indonesian and his father Croatian-Italian. He graduated from the esteemed Eindhoeven Design Academy in 2006, where he could work within the fields of art and design simultaneously without categorization. He studied under Gijs Bakker, Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey, carrying out an invaluable apprenticeship at the Juergen Bey Studio. He continues to study philosophy at the University of Utrecht and lives and works in Amsterdam.


Sebastian Brajkovic exhibited at DesignArt London 2008, Design Miami/ Basel 2008 and Rossana Orlandi, Milan in 2007.


Posted on Thursday February 5th 2009 at 9:00 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • modular

    I dig this!

  • step_out_of_a_triangle_and_into_striped_light

    this is kind of over. its not anything to get excited about.

  • David Klemmer

    That’s amazing work. Very high qualitiy and materials. Nicely done!

  • william k. patty

    simply said.. EXTRAVAGANT!!!

  • nv

    I love the pattern distorsion in relation to the formal change introduced to the design, very creative :) it gives dynamism to the form. This has enhanced with the contrasting colour selection the tranformations applied to the design of the chair (which can be easly read :revolving, mirroing, rotating..)
    very nice

  • m

    these works are 2-3 years old aren’t they? They are absolutely amazing of course – though indeed it lost the mindblowing newness it had when he graduated in ‘o6. It is nice to see that after the period I appreciated them mainly as art (proving a new trick … a trick that by now is overused allready) I now appreciate them more for being furniture with a high quality of the design and excecution.

  • Penguin

    This is mind-blowing! Exhibition opens tonight, I can’t wait to see how they look in the flesh

  • antonius

    Picture this. Take an averige american male who visits macdonald like 2 times a week, drinking soda an ordening 2 burgers and a milkshake and then take a french delicate woman and put them in this twin chair. Wonder how long it lasts?

  • beautifull

    i like hybrids like this

  • PeeBee
  • tommi

    more than juz a piece of furniture, or even artwork. simply beautiful! ~ really wanna see how it engages into the real life!

  • fanatic

    i really dig, especially the detail of the textiles.
    How he do it?

  • fanatic

    i feel tat the furniture looks so intriguing is because of the “stretching effect” of graphics on the upholstery.

  • brilliant! its nude descending a staircase 2009.

  • Legless


  • kanye east


  • off the hizzoook!

  • I agree with m. It’s an overused trick now. Even if 3years ago it looked fresh for eyes.

  • SouL


  • great idea! great execution!

  • Cr

    I agree with ieve and m .. I think he graduated the same year as I did. Although maybe the ‘trick’ is kinda old I do want to say that the details and especially the newer uphosteries are truely awesome !

    The ‘trick’ is so old that even Richard Hutten made a rip-off which I dislike a lot.

  • mikael
  • Great works, a twin chair with a different design, I like the first and the second one they’re very modern and those kind of chair that I want.

  • g22

    wow this is awesome. i really thought this was photoshopped furniture at first… outstanding!

  • LOW

    That is just pure awesomness

  • Fredrik Paulsen

    The interesting part of Brajkovics work is that he base the design on an certain tool , opens up the process and letting that tool making the design decisions.
    I am not as pleased with the way he treated the fabric. I think it would be much more consistent if he used original patterns, using the same tool to modify it.

  • Mrwhistle

    Fear & Lathing in Piccadilly

  • F.Yauner

    If I am honest, my first impression of the work when i entered the gallery was, ‘thats an easy illustrator trick’. And it may be this ‘Iknow how that was made, and it’s easy!’ attitude of peers that makes it difficult to comment on each others work.

    As is obvious with my own work it is not the ease of the production or the idea, but the conviction to follow through a process and bring an object into being that allows people to enjoy or dislike it, but hopefully at least debate it.

    Brajkovic appears to be very comfortable with his situation, whilst others around him are doing all they can keep the ‘design/art’ tag away from themselves, he is happy with it, and should be with his work sitting happily on one of londons most galleried streets.

    Perhaps if more young designers were happy to admit that they were making work as ‘Art’, like Brajkovic, then it might de-cloud what is currently a foggy space – and give more scope to those who graduate from design schools who choose to enter a gallery orientated world.

  • From your talk at the RCA last week I was under the impression that your work is of craft and would be appropriately realised ‘in wood’, ‘by hand’ as was the case originally. So I can only assume that the move to cast bronze was gallery contrived. When visiting you exhibition I was pleasantly surprised by the presents that these pieces demanded. Unashamed fetish!

  • Katarina

    I just love it.

  • Cyrus W

    I wanna own one of them! yoyoyo!

  • S.

    thanks, Iain…

  • Art

    WOW unique it kinda makes me dizzy though :P

  • Kingsley

    Now that’s just darling.

  • KB

    This is really exquisite work!! I’m an interior design student and after looking at your work really motivates and inspires me to become a great designer like you! keep up the great work!