Variations by Stephen Burks
for Calligaris

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New York designer Stephen Burks filled the Milan showroom of Italian brand Calligaris with colourful ropes and columns of plastic chairs lashed together last month (+ movie).

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Called Variations, the project was curated by PS design consultants and involved Burks travelling to Calligaris' production centre in Manzano, where he conducted experiments in composition using the company's range of chairs.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Burks altered the brand's existing products by wrapping and weaving cords around and through their structures.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

He also created installations from the chairs by piling them high and binding them in striped ropes.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

"The experiments that we're doing now are, in one way or another, helping explore the future of plastic chairs," says Burks. "What happens when we have so many plastic chairs that are all so similar - are there ways that we can use craft to find a unique positioning?"

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Thirteen kilometres of multicoloured ropes were strung from floor to ceiling in the showroom during Milan design week to create vitrines for the resulting pieces.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

The experiments may form the basis of a new seating collection by Burks' studio Readymade Projects and the installation will be taken to the Paris showroom as part of Paris Designer Days from 4 to 9 June.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Burks often works with communities of artisans and past collaborations include lamps, tables and storage units made with basket weavers in a village outside of Dakar, and wire tables for Artecnica made by craftspeople in Cape Town.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Watch the designer talking about his design collaborations in developing countries in a movie from Design Indaba 2009.

Variations by Stephen Burks for Calligaris

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