For the London Design Festival 2017, leading Asian design brand Stellar Works, presents Indigo: A Cultural Iconography, an installation at the Design Museum exploring materiality in manufacturing and the associations between old and new and east and west - in attitude, form and application.
Imagined by Neri&Hu, the multi award-winning designers and creative directors of Stellar Works, the showcase seeks to show how traditional craft techniques can be combined with modern industrial processes to create a refined Asian aesthetic.
The installation, which occupies the mezzanine level at the Design Museum in Kensington, takes a fresh look at craft and making, tracking its historical origins to its contemporary application through the vehicle of Ming, Stellar Works’ iconic sculptural chair designed by Neri&Hu.
When designing the Ming chair, Shanghai-based design duo, Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri looked to their Asian heritage, mixing ornamental motifs with modern western functionality. Drawing on the past to inspire the present, the Ming chair revisits the historic decorative arts of China to create a crisp and contemporary furniture style fit for modern living.
A disassembled Ming chair provides the starting point for the installation, which then presents the Ming chair in seven further iterations, beginning with raw untreated wood, before presenting a kaleidoscope of textures and saturations. The Stellar Works installation takes viewers on a journey of materials and processes, combining traditional craft with modern industrial techniques.
A central focus of the LDF installation is the use of indigo, an ancient dyeing process that was once widespread in Japan and China. Stellar Works has been exploring the use of indigo for some time and has collaborated with The Fabrick Lab, a pioneer in textile technology, to perfect the application of indigo to furniture, as traditionally it is only applied to fabric.
The first iteration of this experimentation with indigo was with Brooklyn-based CRÈME / Jun Aizaki, that saw an installation of indigo Exchange chairs showcased at the CRÈME studio during ICFF. The Stellar Works technique merges modern manufacturing systems with age-old materials, and craft artistry to create a piece that while modern in form, is steeped in tradition.
Rossana Hu of Neri&Hu says: “The various translations of the Ming chair as showcased through the Stellar Works installation enable a documentation and exploration of techniques and materials from past to present-day. Each piece on display at the Design Museum acts as a canvas in time, recording and sharing a chronology of Asian craftsmanship for both visual and creative pleasure.”