Dezeen Magazine

Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons furniture to be exhibited in Paris

Chairs, tables and stools designed by Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo for the brand's stores are going on show at Galerie A1043 in Paris.

The gallery, located on Rue de Montmorency, is showcasing 15 pieces of furniture designed by Kawakubo as an "extension of the fixtures" inside Comme des Garçons shops.

The collection spans a 10-year period, and ranges from a double-layered table to a curving wooden partition.

"For [Kawakubo] everything is connected, the district in which the shop is located, the clothes, the layout and the furniture of course," said the gallery. "Her furniture should, therefore, be considered part of the complete work."

"The first pieces of furniture were initially designed as an extension of the shop fixtures."

Known primarily for her abstract and conceptual approach to fashion design, Kawakubo's work with furniture has remained relatively unknown. But, according to the gallery, she designed over 40 pieces between 1983 and 1993.

Each the pieces on show at Galerie A1043 follow Kawakubo's form-over-function principle, as with her fashion designs.

However, Kawakubo often opted for conventional materials, such as wood and metal. This is visible in the designs for the Steel Angle Chair n°1 and Table n°3, both created in 1993.

"Just as she would say that she was not interested in fashion, Rei Kawakubo is not interested in design," said the gallery. "For her, the main research priorities of other designers – such as increasing the comfort, the method of production or the implementation of the materials – are not discussed."

"The furniture is not necessarily used, and its the main function is to bring a design and a type of material to an environment."

Other pieces on show inside the gallery include a leather-topped stool that is backed by a long pole and a chair that swaps a conventional backrest for two metal chains.

"The materials used may be conventional, mainly wood and metal, but their treatment is not insignificant," said the gallery. "Wood may be natural but it is sanded and free of varnish, metal is blasted then galvanized and aluminium is mounted on wood."

Kawakubo founded Comme des Garçons in 1973. She set up the first of the brand's Dover Street Market stores in 2004 on its eponymous street in London. The second branch opened in Ginza, Tokyo, in 2006, then the outpost in New York opened in 2013.

Last year, the London store moved from its original location in Mayfair to a Grade II-listed building on nearby Haymarket, and this year opened its fourth branch in an old Singaporean army barrack.

Described by Dezeen columnist Aaron Betsky as an "architect of clothes", Kawakubo was the subject of this year's spring exhibition organised by the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.