Divisible by Hand
Sarah Maud Powell -- Interior Design, 6/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Once upon a time—the year 2002, to be precise—French design partners and frères Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec began a relationship with contract stalwart Vitra. Chairman Rolf Fehlbaum signed them to create a line of office furniture, Joyn.
Cut to April 2005 at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Vitra shows a warmer, softer side to the European market, the Vitra Home collection. The site of the exhibit was, by design, unexpected: a turn-of-the-century gymnasium, La Pelota, far from the fair halls and in the middle of the perennially chic Brera district.
The display was similarly unorthodox. It was dominated by the Bouroullecs' Twig, a cascading wall of inter-joined plastic pieces that's now in the prototype phase at Vitra. "We'd already done projects involving enclosing and partitioning," says Erwan, referencing Cabane, a 2001 exhibit at the Galerie Kreo in Paris. "Plastic-injection molding not only creates lightweight shapes but is also cheap to work with. La Pelota was the perfect place to introduce a structure of them."
Twig spanned the length of the gym, some 150 feet, and was composed of thousands of plastic pieces, each 8 by 3 inches and ranging in color from royal blue to gold and snow white. The best part of the Twig fable? It's mutability. Concludes Erwan, "It can be put together and readapted by hand."