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Material & Craft

A new exhibition Luminaire Lab explores the boundaries of design with Lars Zech and 1+11.
A new exhibition Luminaire Lab explores the boundaries of design with Lars Zech and 1+11.

Material and craft collide together to explore a dynamic juxtaposition between two seemingly disparate voices in design. Recently unveiled at Luminaire Lab, “Material and Craft” explores the work of Lars Zech and One Plus Eleven. These two artists transcend the traditional boundaries of design by employing passionate attention to their craft and material choices. For Lars Zech, a connection to the raw material combined with his unique sculptural perspective results in ethereal figurative works hand carved from solid wood. For 1+11, a technical approach towards abstraction creates pieces that appear as assemblages of forms that hide their true functions.

The German sculptor Lars Zech approaches his material with the utmost care and respect for its natural qualities. Born in 1971, his work is rooted in the natural world that inspires him: his atelier – a year-round campsite devoid of house and heating but equipped with power and water – sits at the edge of Germany’s Black Forest. This is where he scavenges to discover tree trunks that have fallen naturally, or are on the brink of, and repurposes them into sculptures. To him, each piece of wood has a story, and he carefully listens to the wood to understand what piece it would work to evolve into. In doing so he believes he is giving this fallen trunk a new life.

His figurative sculptures, which are shown in the exhibition, are created by carefully cutting his raw material into thin sheets of wood while leaving the base intact. These slices of wood then dry, revealing natural curves and intricacies that give each object a sense of motion and excitement.

The sinuous and meditative work of Zech is juxtaposed by the decidedly angular and abstract work of 1+11. Wim Yanov and Milena Bellich, the designers behind the Berlin based studio, create limited edition furniture pieces focusing on the intersection of design and raw art. The studio’s works show the search for the essential, carefully reducing and assembling elements into cohesive forms that hide their true function.

Their creations don’t aim to follow a specific trend but to be the reflection of a genuine essence. The conflation of art and design in an object should give every beholder the opportunity to draw his own inspiration from it. Each piece represents a visual metaphor where forms interact and play together to compose a whole.

Angular and sometimes brutal, these works of design showcase a deep understanding of material and craft, uniting it with the contrasting work by Zech. Together, these distinctive objects create a fresh dialogue that challenges one’s perception of how far a material can be transformed into something unexpected.

October 2020