Here are photos of Grandmateria, the inaugural exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers in London.
Photos are by Luke Hayes. Above and below: By Royal Appointment by Moritz Waldemeyer
Above and below: Octave series by Peter Marigold
Above and below: Erosion series by Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann
19 September 2007 - 14 October 2007
Temporary exhibition space: 1-5 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2HE
Gallery Libby Sellers presents Grandmateria, an exhibition of new design commissions from emerging designers, all of whom are exploring materials and forms that challenge and excite our expectations of design.
Works include limited edition lighting designs from Stuart Haygarth, concept furniture from Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann, poetic storage solutions from Peter Marigold and a series of interactive chairs from Moritz Waldemeyer.
Grandmateria, a title borrowed from the 2005 album by Swiss band Morgan Lafay, acknowledges the album's thematic exploration into the mythologies of the Philosopher's stone: a stone said to have alchemist powers to transmute lead into gold. By working with often humble materials, or materials out of their usual context, each of the designers represented in Grandmateria elevates the ordinary to spectacular effect.
Launching during London’s Design Festival and continuing through to the Frieze Art Fair in October, Grandmateria also celebrates the concept launch of Gallery Libby Sellers.
After five years as curator at the Design Museum in London, Sellers left in 2007 to establish her own independent gallery. Having overseen the successful curation and implementation of numerous contemporary design exhibitions including the annual Designer of the Year exhibitions, Design Mart and the Design Museum Tank program, Sellers brings a wealth of knowledge and access to some of the finest talents in the industry today.
The temporary location, supported by the Brompton Design Project, is the first of many future guerrilla projects for Gallery Libby Sellers.
The London Design Festival 2007 takes place 15-25 September. The Festival programme includes content from across the design spectrum, staged by organisations throughout the capital. Visit www.londondesignfestival.com for more information.
Frieze Art Fair 2007 takes place 11-14 October in Regent's Park, London. It features over 150 of the most exciting contemporary art galleries in the world, specially commissioned artists' projects, talks programme and an artist-led education schedule. For more information visit www.friezeartfair.com
Tail Light, 2007
Even as a commercial photographer, crafting book covers and photo-montages for clients including Esquire, Daimler-Chrysler and Penguin, Haygarth would arrange objects and materials into spectacular collages before photographing the tableaux for print.
Born in Whalley, Lancashire in 1966, Haygarth studied graphic design at Exeter College of Art and Design before starting his career in photography. His first lighting designs in 2005 were a series of exquisite chandeliers constructed from the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life – ranging from a collection of discarded objects washed up on the Kent coastline to a collection of millennial Party Poppers.
For Tail Light, Haygarth has collated and arranged hundreds of plastic truck and lorry taillights into towers of light. Haygarth’s sculptural chandeliers are a reappraisal of an object that is seen everyday on roads across the globe, but rarely appreciated for the geometric patterns or the ambient light created. As Haygarth says, “my work revolves around everyday objects, collected in large quantities, categorized and presented so that they are given new meaning. It is about giving banal and overlooked objects new significance.”
Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann
Erosion series, 2007
German-born, London based Julia Lohmann studied Graphic Design at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design. After winning the D&AD student award for product development she completed a Master’s degree in Design Products at the Royal College of Art in 2004. Through her award-winning work, Lohmann finds new applications for otherwise undervalued materials. She believes that acknowledging the origins of a product is the first step towards making more informed and ethical choices about what we consume.
Lohmann met Gero Grundmann while he was also studying Graphic Design at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design before he too enrolled at the Royal College of Art to study for a Communication Art and Design Master’s degree. In 2003, as a Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, he designed eye health campaigns for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Lohmann and Grundmann established Studio Bec in 2004.
Created using natural processes, the Erosion series made from industrial soap is first cast into simple geometric shapes and then naturally eroded into semi-organic objects. By allowing the material to dictate the form, and by embracing the imperfections embodied in the process, the designers have relinquished full control over the final product. By celebrating and embedding flaws into their designs, Lohmann and Grundmann challenge the ideal of the perfect product and in so doing aim to mirror the transience of man-made structures in the landscape and question the impermanence of the mass-manufactured objects we choose to surround ourselves.
Octave series, 2007
Marigold was born in London in 1974 and studied art and sculpture at Central St Martins before enrolling in Design Products at the Royal College of Art in 2004. His fine art training, combined with a series of jobs in scenographic design and production – props, models, costumes and sets for theatre and exhibitions – has led him to a pluralistic and resourceful approach to furniture design.
Building on the success of his Split series, which experimented with the constancy of regular and irregular angles, the Octave series combines divided and inverted tree branches with forms and components derived from stringed instruments to create anthropomorphic shelving units. Marigold’s proposal is that certain three dimensional structures – such as the sound box on a guitar – highlight the nuances between forms that are invented and those that are derived at from less tangible or natural constructs – such as the phenomena of sound vibration.
For Marigold, the Split and Octave series are “are an expression of creativity as a force of discovery as much as ‘creative’ creativity. Through interaction with the physical world, information that was previously hidden from view is revealed and can be responded to. In this sense, creativity becomes something like archaeology of ideas and principles”.
Peter Marigold has also created a site-specific installation for the windows of Paul Smith’s Sloane Avenue store. On display for the duration of the London Design Festival, Tilt Two is a forest of shelving – a development of his earlier Tilt shelves, a highlight at the Salone del Mobile, Milan in 2006.
By Royal Appointment, 2007
Recognised as one of the most innovative and exciting designers of his generation, Waldemeyer, aged 33, was born in East Germany. He moved to London twelve years ago where he trained as an engineer at Kings College and completed his Masters degree in 2001. Since then, he has collaborated with many of the world’s top architects and fashion designers including Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid and Hussein Chalayan. His work is a fusion of technology, art, fashion and design.
The inspiration for By Royal Appointment came from his work with fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, for whom he constructed dresses of shimmering LED light displays. This new series of chairs responds to the sitter’s clothing, changing the atmosphere and space around it. A sensor in the back of the chair reads the colour of the clothing and projects it on to the surface behind using LED lighting. This gives the individual sitting on it their own halo of light, or personal aura, evoking images of religious icons and kings.
The shape of the chairs evoke the design of medieval thrones. The holes in the back of the chair gradually increase in size, making the chair at once solid yet insubstantial, as though it might be dissolving into the air. Strange and surreal, witty yet also spiritual, this is one of Waldemeyer’s most arresting projects yet.
Gallery Libby Sellers
Former Design Museum curator, Libby Sellers established the concept gallery in 2007 to further her interest in nurturing and promoting design talent. The launch exhibition, Grandmateria, will be presented in a temporary venue in Exhibition Road, SW7 for the month between London Design Festival and Frieze art fair, 2007.
Sellers says of the gallery’s launch, “it’s a wonderful opportunity to be involved in an enterprise that exposes more British-based designers to both the local and international design collectors and press. London gets labelled as one of the world's ‘creative capitals’ so frequently that it's a category close to bankruptcy in meaning. Yet, despite the sometimes over-confident swagger, and the increasing costs of work and living, London does manage to cultivate and incubate a wealth of talent.”
Following the October closing date, Sellers hopes to take the concept to Art Basel Miami Beach/Design Miami in December. Plans for a permanent London venue are still being discussed, however the concept of a guerrilla gallery that utilizes temporary or pop-up venues is an appealing one for a young gallery trying to maintain low overheads while commissioning new works from designers.
All the designs represented by Gallery Libby Sellers will be primary market pieces and new commissions.