NEWS

Featured on Interior Design, Sep 15, 2015

20 BEST IN SHOW AT MAISON&OBJET FALL 2015

20 BEST IN SHOW AT MAISON&OBJET FALL 2015

The biannual Maison&Objet Paris edition has just closed its doors on another successful exhibition. The show had eight halls packed with product and elaborate stands showcasing the new and the best of European and international homewares, furniture, accessories, textiles and lighting.

To be a trendsetter you also have to be a talent scout and once again Maison&Objet offered a platform for new and emerging talent. Two standout designers in this showcase were Gilles Neveu and design duo Laura Lynn Jansen and Thomas Vailly, all inspired by nature but utilizing technology to create optical effects. Other notable highlights included the Floating Flower Garden Space by Japanese techno-artists TeamLab. This was an extraordinary sensory experience of 2300 suspended flowers with their roots anchored overhead creating a botanical fairyland of rising and falling blooms.

While the Maison&Objet Observatoire de la Maison showcased a “Precious” theme, exhibitors seemed to keep to simpler forms and less extravagant details. Metal and wood were still dominant materials used in simplified forms although there is growing use of leather for details such as straps, pulls and hooks. The showcase was also awash with shades of blue, from light to dark, bold green and pinks. After the big bang celebrations of the show’s 20th Anniversary in January, the September showing seemed an altogether quieter affair. The larger high-end furnishing companies were fewer on the ground with many more accessory, tabletop and home décor collections being represented across the halls. 

Still, the Scandinavian design houses were out in full force, showcasing many new to market products. French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have created the Pallissade range of outdoor seating for Danish brand Hay with slatted seats in powdercoated steel; its spare form will be available from early 2016. The Palette table by Jaime Hayon for &tradition was a wonderfully considered collaboration and created quite a buzz with its application of metal, marble and wood in differing sizes and shapes. The design duo Space Cophenhagen designed their first table collection for Gubi, the Moon collection in oak includes both coffee table and generous dining table options. Danish design company by Lassen reissued its Flemming Lassen-designed easy chair, The Tired Man, in new colorways (the chair was originally designed for The Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Competition in 1935).

Of the established accessories brands Danish Ferm Living showed clean modernist lines and subtle textural finishes. Meanwhile, the 175-year-old Kähler Design has collaborated with illustrator and product designer Anders Arhøj to launch a range of beautiful sculptural ceramics with a dense colorful glaze. 

Moving beyond Scandinavia, French manufacturer Harto showed their new Anatole side table and Eugénie coffee table, both made with oak and tubular metal in four color options. Belgian company BuzziSpace introduced its collaboration with textile giant Kvadrat. The popular BuzziNordic sofa has been updated with brightly coloured Kvadrat upholstery. They also debuted their outdoor office concept BuzziShed at the show.

Featured on Protein, Sep 14, 2015

Drawing outside the lines

TeamLAB brings immersive installation to Saatchi

Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom, online platform This is Tomorrow and digital installation group TeamLAB recently got together to curate spaces in the START art fair held at the Saatchi gallery (without a single YBA in sight). 

The fair focussed on bringing niche and independent international galleries to the UK’s attention, and featured Japanese art collective TeamLAB’s UK debut, with interactive digital installation A Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders taking up a room of the gallery – a digital artwork that transformed the space into moving clouds of animated butterflies generated in real-time.

The work was created by a team of technologists, including animators, architects and engineers, and shows flowers and butterflies that move across the walls outside of the confines of the frames.

The art world is leaning towards the use of technology to new and innovative interactions. Take a look at Tate Sensorium, an opportunity to taste some priceless paintings, and Space Explorer, a public art takeover transforming Hackney.

Featured on BLOUIN ART INFO, Sep 13, 2015

START Fair Showcases New and Emerging Art at Saatchi


START is now in its second year and adds to London’s burgeoning art fairs with several unique selling points.

It aims particularly at emerging artists and new art scenes from around the world.

There have been lines of people waiting to get in, both because of the quality of the art and the location at the Saatchi Gallery.

While there must be a question on how many more fairs the British capital can take, all competing for collectors’ attention and casual browsers, this one is attracting the curious at least and is spread across all three floors of the gallery.

START also featured curatorial projects to complement the art fair.

Chim↑Pom, winners of the 2015 Prudential Eye Awards, presented its first solo exhibition in London. The Japanese collective makes work that is socially and politically engaged and has recently shown at P.S.1 in New York. A second Japanese collective, teamLab, which was shortlisted for the Prudential Eye Awards, presented an immersive installation that fused art and new technologies.

The event, presented by Prudential featured galleries from cities as diverse as London, Seoul, Cape Town, Colombo, Hanoi, New York, Hong Kong, Budapest, Paris and Bogota to name a few.

Among the talks and presentations, Erdmann Contemporary of Cape Town launched a new book, “120 Days of Sodom” by Manfred Zylla, available in a limited edition for prices of £50 each.

Featured on The Slatest, Sep 12, 2015

Week in Photos

20 BEST IN SHOW AT MAISON&OBJET FALL 2015

The biannual Maison&Objet Paris edition has just closed its doors on another successful exhibition. The show had eight halls packed with product and elaborate stands showcasing the new and the best of European and international homewares, furniture, accessories, textiles and lighting.

To be a trendsetter you also have to be a talent scout and once again Maison&Objet offered a platform for new and emerging talent. Two standout designers in this showcase were Gilles Neveu and design duo Laura Lynn Jansen and Thomas Vailly, all inspired by nature but utilizing technology to create optical effects. Other notable highlights included the Floating Flower Garden Space by Japanese techno-artists TeamLab. This was an extraordinary sensory experience of 2300 suspended flowers with their roots anchored overhead creating a botanical fairyland of rising and falling blooms.

While the Maison&Objet Observatoire de la Maison showcased a “Precious” theme, exhibitors seemed to keep to simpler forms and less extravagant details. Metal and wood were still dominant materials used in simplified forms although there is growing use of leather for details such as straps, pulls and hooks. The showcase was also awash with shades of blue, from light to dark, bold green and pinks. After the big bang celebrations of the show’s 20th Anniversary in January, the September showing seemed an altogether quieter affair. The larger high-end furnishing companies were fewer on the ground with many more accessory, tabletop and home décor collections being represented across the halls. 

Still, the Scandinavian design houses were out in full force, showcasing many new to market products. French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have created the Pallissade range of outdoor seating for Danish brand Hay with slatted seats in powdercoated steel; its spare form will be available from early 2016. The Palette table by Jaime Hayon for &tradition was a wonderfully considered collaboration and created quite a buzz with its application of metal, marble and wood in differing sizes and shapes. The design duo Space Cophenhagen designed their first table collection for Gubi, the Moon collection in oak includes both coffee table and generous dining table options. Danish design company by Lassen reissued its Flemming Lassen-designed easy chair, The Tired Man, in new colorways (the chair was originally designed for The Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Competition in 1935).

Of the established accessories brands Danish Ferm Living showed clean modernist lines and subtle textural finishes. Meanwhile, the 175-year-old Kähler Design has collaborated with illustrator and product designer Anders Arhøj to launch a range of beautiful sculptural ceramics with a dense colorful glaze. 

Moving beyond Scandinavia, French manufacturer Harto showed their new Anatole side table and Eugénie coffee table, both made with oak and tubular metal in four color options. Belgian company BuzziSpace introduced its collaboration with textile giant Kvadrat. The popular BuzziNordic sofa has been updated with brightly coloured Kvadrat upholstery. They also debuted their outdoor office concept BuzziShed at the show.

Featured on The Sydney Morning Herald, Sep 11, 2015

All a-flutter in the beautiful, blossoming, interactive world of TeamLab


START Art Fair (until 13 September) director Niru Ratnam was literally coming up roses yesterday. He welcomed preview visitors while immersed in the ever-shifting digital blooms created by Tokyo-based collective teamLab, which was one of the most popular—and Instagrammed—projects of the fair. And he had a lot to smile about, with plaudits rolling in for the second edition of this 47-gallery fair that lives up to the much bandied term “boutique” by comfortably occupying three floors of the elegantly neutral retail-ish Saatchi Gallery spaces. But START is rarely bland and genuinely lives up to the well-worn “global” label. There are galleries from Bogotá to Budapest via Colombo aImagine this. You’re in a dark room. Around you, projected onto the walls and floor, is a bright profusion of flowers in motion, constantly budding, blooming, withering and dying. As you approach the wall, your reflection appears among the blossoms, wreathed in petals. Your movements trigger changes, causing the blooms to shrivel or spring up anew. 
Over the course of an hour, the flowers change to reflect the four seasons of a year. Also on the walls are two separate artworks displayed on large digital panels, each with a similar, blooming theme. All around the room, flying through the flowers, are countless butterflies. As you watch, they move in a seamless, fluttering path from the wall into the digital artworks then out the other side, back onto the wall, without a pause or flicker. If you reach out and touch a butterfly, it dies.
This installation, Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, is the latest interactive work from Japanese creative group TeamLab, shown at Saatchi Gallery in London. Closer to home, visitors to the Sydney Contemporary art fair can see Flowers and People – Gold, a smaller-scale TeamLab work shown by Paddington’s Martin Browne Contemporary gallery.

This one appears across four digital monitors hung together as panels, with a sensor on the floor that picks up movement. As the viewer approaches, flowers start to release tiny petals in a swirling snowstorm effect, and gradually bright patches appear on the screen, like a glowing galaxy of stars. The flowers in these patches wither and die before regenerating. Complex programming algorithms responding to the sensors mean the artwork is never the same.
“The more intense your physical relationship is to the work, the more intense the work becomes,” says Baden Pailthorpe​, researcher and digital artist at Martin Browne. “When you’re used to instant gratification, like touch-screen instant outcomes, this is more gentle.” As with all TeamLab’s work, Flowers and People – Gold is connected to traditional Japanese art, with delicate, decorative elements presented on screens with a glowing golden background. Though beautiful and meditative to look at, it is not a passive experience once you realise your effect on the work.

“In the context of humans impacting their environment, you often can’t see the effects straight away because the system is so complex and slow-moving, but still the changes are profound,” says Pailthorpe.
The initial idea for Flowers and People came from the founder of TeamLab, Toshiyuki Inoko​, during a visit to Japan’s Kunisaki​ peninsula last year, when the countryside was full of flowers. It made him think about the relationship between people and flowers, which ones were wild and which were the result of human intervention, how people and nature shape each other.
After studying mathematical engineering, Inoko formed his “artist collaborative” in Tokyo in 2001, gathering a pool of programmers, engineers, animators, mathematicians, architects, graphic designers and editors.

HIs idea was not to form a company but to have a place to hang out with his friends, a creative laboratory where they could work on his fundamental belief: that art and technology can help humankind to evolve in positive ways.
It took 10 years for TeamLab to start producing the large-scale interactive art that in the past few years has gained them an international reputation, from London to Singapore to New York.
Recent highlights include projecting a giant koi carp onto a vast screen of water behind a kabuki dancer in Las Vegas; and a 3-D waterfall called Universe of Water Particles, with hundreds of thousands of water particles individually rendered, pouring over a virtual rock at a resolution five times full high-definition. For Crystal Fireworks of Wishes, visitors choose a fireworks display on their smartphone, make a wish, then set off their own explosive show on a 3-D screen of hanging crystal light strands.
Takashi Kudo​, TeamLab’s communication director, says although technology is a crucial element, it is not the first priority but a tool to express creative thought – the way artists use paint.
“We have something we want to explain. That thing we cannot explain by words, that’s the reason it becomes art,” Kudo says.
Who comes up with a concept is not important; it’s all about using TeamLab’s collective power to bring the concept to life. Like a giant hive mind, the group has 400 brains working for it, with an average age of less than 30. Some are involved in commercial work, such as advertising and data collection, which helps support the main artistic focus.
What sets TeamLab apart, Pailthorpe says, is the marriage of ultra-modern technology with age-old stories and art.
“Most digital practice is concerned with cutting-edge ideas and technology. This is between the two. It looks to the past with a foot in the future, and it is uniquely Japanese in that sense,” he says.
TeamLab’s work is also, as Kudo says, “100 per cent positive”. Where much of contemporary art offers a critique of society, for TeamLab “art is sanctuary”. But what about those butterflies dying when you touch them? Is that positive? 
Yes, says Kudo, because they die very beautifully, and then regenerate. The Saatchi installation is also about releasing art from the restriction of frames, and being mindful of others.
“If you just see it on a monitor, you don’t think about other people because it doesn’t change,” Kudo says. “But if you are part of this artwork it will change, so you have to think a little bit about other people.”
Inoko believes small changes in people’s values can mean big changes in society, but he also simply wants to invent things that make the heart beat faster and, in our digitally saturated world, reboot a sense of wonder.
“I want the future to be exciting,” he says. “A dull future makes life hard. If tomorrow looks duller than today, why live on?”
SO YOU WANT ONE ON YOUR WALL
People and Flowers – Gold sells for $US80,000 ($114,000) at Martin Browne Contemporary, a price that includes a box containing the hard drive, with software to run the work. The buyer must then purchase the required hardware, including monitors and sensors. “It’s not that different to buying a computer and installing a game,” says Pailthorpe. “Once it’s installed, it’s the most simple thing, like turning a light switch on and off.” Of an edition of 10 works, the gallery has sold five since first showing it in July.

Featured on Archi EXPO, Sep 11, 2015

TEAMLAB BRINGS ITS FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN TO MAISON & OBJET

TEAMLAB BRINGS ITS FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN TO MAISON & OBJET
An immersive experience involving more than 2,300 live orchids

Teamlab is a collective of Japanese designers and creative talents based in Tokyo. Their Floating Flower Garden installation, which was originally showcased at Tokyo’s Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, was recently reassembled for Maison & Objet in Paris. Over two thousand orchids, suspended in midair, create a softly undulating canopy that interacts with user movement. Visitors slowly immerse themselves in a slow dance of flowers lifting and falling. When combined with soft music and the delicate floral odor, the installation becomes an enchanting sensory experience that draws visitors in, encouraging them to become one with the garden.

Incredibly, the entire garden is alive and growing. The same orchids were used in both installations and were transported from Japan to France specifically for Maison & Objet.

Featured on Evening Standard, Sep 10, 2015

Digital butterflies flutter in from Japan for Saatchi Gallery art fair

The computer-generated exhibition is constantly changing and includes flowers that spring up, blossom, and wither away in real-time and in response to the movements of visitors to the gallery

Computer-generated flowers and butterflies will cover the walls of a gallery as part of a huge digital art installation by a group of Japanese artists.The 500-strong collective, which includes programmers and scientists alongside artists, work under the name teamLab and are taking part in the START fair at the Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square.Their work, called Flutter Of Butterflies Beyond Borders, is constantly changing and includes flowers that spring up, blossom, and wither away in real-time and in response to the movements of visitors to the gallery.The START project, which is in its second year at the gallery, brings together work from 47 venues in 25 cities including Tehran, Lagos and Seoul.Saatchi Gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst, who is a co-founder of the fair, said: “The Saatchi Gallery’s role is not only to bring contemporary art wherever it is being made to the widest possible audience, but also to help legitimise the making and collecting of art.“START provides a wonderful platform for new galleries and young artists from all over the world so we’re delighted to be hosting this exciting initiative in its second year.”The fair, which runs until Monday September 13, also includes work by another Japanese group, Chim Pom, including footage they shot after breaking in to a restricted area closed down by the government in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Featured on Stylus, Sep 10, 2015

Responsive Digital Art Exhibition


Japanese art collective TeamLab brings its impressive interactive digital artwork to the UK for the first time with an immersive installation at the Saatchi Gallery. 

The exhibition, titled Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, features a digital ecosystem of flowers and butterflies that visitors can explore. A blackened room is brought to life with ephemeral sweeping imagery of butterflies and flowers that slowly transform in response to the viewers’ movements. 

Rendered in real time, the flowers begin to spring, bloom and decay, changing in colour to depict the different seasons of the year. By standing still or by making sudden movements, visitors can affect the cycle, generating unique and continuously changing patterns. Gentle sounds accompany the visuals to further enhance this all-encompassing experience. 

Interactive platforms continue to push the boundaries of digital aesthetics. For more on responsive colour, look to our Colour Spectrum reports Reactive S/S 17 and Reactive S/S 17: Visual Update. 

The exhibition is part of Start art fair at the Saatchi Gallery in London, which runs from September 10-13.