Ornamentum furniture collection is decorated "to the point of being functionless"

A collection of conceptual aluminium furniture by designers Orson Oxo Van Beek and Quinten Mestdagh straddles "the boundary between aesthetic and function" through its excessive decoration.

Designed by Antwerp-based spatial designer Orson Oxo Van Beek in collaboration with fashion designer Quinten Mestdagh, the collection is currently being exhibited at the Everyday Gallery in Antwerp.

Entitled Ornamentum, the collection comprises a chair, a table and a lamp made from pieces of aluminium with sharp and pointy edges, making them appear dangerous to touch or use.

Ornamentum chair by Orson Oxo Van Beek
The Ornamentum chair is made from sharp, laser-cut aluminium pieces

"We wanted to make the pieces so overly decorated, to a point where the actual furniture becomes functionless; an ornament in itself," Van Beek told Dezeen.

"The danger adds to the aesthetic and, most importantly, to the non-function of the object," he added.

Looking to the ornamental styles of rococo, baroque and renaissance furniture, the structure of each piece is made up of the decorative emblems and graphic symbols found on furniture from these periods.

Ornamentum table by Orson Oxo Van Beek
The Ornamentum collection was inspired by the decorative styles of rococo, baroque and renaissance furniture

Van Beek and Mestdagh designed the structures of the pieces around these emblems and symbols in order to create conceptual pieces that sit somewhere between form and function.

"This collection aimed to create a collection of unfamiliar decorative furniture that touches the boundary between aesthetics and functionality," Van Beek said.

"We were fascinated with ornamental and decorative furniture and questioned why there is an absence of decoration within contemporary design."

Ornamentum lamp by Orson Oxo Van Beek
The designers aimed to make the Ornamentum collection excessively decorated to the point of being "functionless"

"Ornamentum is a study and a reflection on how ornamental furniture has evolved over time, how it can be reinvented and how it can find a place again in contemporary furniture design."

The collection is made from six millimetre-thin aluminium pieces that were laser cut and later welded together to create the structure of each piece.

The aluminium was sanded down in order to give the surface of the metal a rough, contrasting look and texture.

Ornamentum by Orson Oxo Van Beek
The surface of the aluminium furniture was sanded down to give it a contrasting look and texture

Van Beek is a Design Academy Eindhoven alum, based in Antwerp.

He has previously designed conceptual furniture projects including a reinterpretation of Le Corbusier's LC2 chair which imagined the chair as an inflatable object. The project was exhibited at the Dutch design fair Object Rotterdam earlier this year.

Mestdagh is a Paris-based fashion designer working for Balenciaga Haute Couture. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 2019.

Many young designers are looking to aluminium to create experimental furniture design, due to its price and abundance.

London-based Studio Furthermore recently created a collection of aluminium furniture designed to resemble a rock-like material mined in outer space.

South Korean designer Yeon Jinyeoung  released a collection of chairs that have been formed by hitting, folding, welding and crumbling aluminium pipes, earlier this year.

The Ornamentum collection is on view at the Everyday Gallery until 4 October 2020.

Images are courtesy of Seppe Elewaut.