Color, form and materials are the triad behind one of the most interesting collaborations of the 2018 London Design Festival. Sebastian Wrong—design director of Established & Sons—invited London-based artist Lorenzo Vitturi to make art using pieces from the famed British design house. The result is Remixed Properties a temporary installation of ephemeral pieces.
Vitturi comes from Italy, but has lived in London for over a decade. After working as a set decorator in Cinecittà (the iconic Roman movie studio), he studied graphic design and photography. His studies ended with a year at Fabrica, after which he began his artistic pursuits. His well-known photographic works begin as mysterious and colorful sculptures that are destroyed right after being shot. Color and material play key roles in Vitturi’s images—adding some mystery and a little confusion to the abstract works.
These same attributes imbue the structures of Remixed Properties, displayed within East London’s Established & Sons headquarter. There, we met Vitturi to explore the installation.
“This is an experiment that was born when Sebastian Wrong contacted me to ask if I wanted to think about an intervention in their space during the Design Festival,” he tells us. “I was a little surprised because with my work I rarely touch the design field. Then I looked at their catalog and dug deeper into the history of the brand and I saw that there were some elements in close contact with my work—especially the use of color, the research on materials, the relationship with East London.”
In order to make this project possible, Vitturi had to transform his creative approach—in particular with his relationship with time. “In my work, I like to mix elements that come from different worlds in order to create sculptures that last a few minutes or a few hours. Here, I had to make their life longer and get to five days.” That said, the pieces made for LDF are also “weak,” he says, and “one collapsed several times.”
With this unusual approach to sculpture—traditionally an art-form that aims for longevity—Vitturi explains, “sculptors create long-lasting shapes with bronze, marble and so on. Instead, I’m more fascinated by fragile sculptures that last a moment. I like to join elements that are extremely delicate and soft with others that are more heavy, [to] create impossible connections.”
The sculptures in the gallery combine Established & Sons’ pieces (like chairs, lamps, cabinets, even closets) with Murano glass, plastic pots from Africa, pure powder pigments, leather, alpaca from the Andes and more. Extremely cheap objects and materials are paired with precious ones, creating surprising yet orchestrated contrasts.
“Usually my sculptures are made to be photographed and it’s a real challenge when I have to show them elsewhere. These sculptures too, when photographed… they lose their material dimension. Marble, gold or plastic, when photographed with a specific technique, they’re all on the same level. This magic is what I love in photography and it’s impossible to be replicated in person.”
For this project, Vitturi’s fabrication process was different as well. “I didn’t want to create the installations in my studio, but in the real place of the exhibition. I love to play between chaos and balance, working on random juxtapositions and in-situ I can reach a different chromatic balance. In this case, some things were planned in advance through drawings, but two sculptures saw the light right here.”
This is seen specifically in the installation made using the torch lamp, whose shades are made from PVC dipped polymer. Taking advantage of their flexibility and bright red color, Vitturi made a composition emulating flowers or fruits in a contemporary ikebana. “I am planning to go to Japan and study that art,” Vitturi reveals, “I’m fascinated by how the Japanese arrange objects.”
I’m very interested in such a simple gesture that can give a new meaning to objects
While Vitturi’s art begins with existing design objects, his approach is deeper and more complex than a ready-made operation. For Established & Sons, he explains, “I made a selection of the products I found most interesting and they gave me total freedom. I chose the items not based on their function, but just on shape and color. This is my way to look at objects. I like to completely transform the sense of objects, placing them elsewhere and pairing them to new ones. I’m very interested in such a simple gesture that can give a new meaning to objects.”
This love of color is a theme through Vitturi and Established & Sons’ creations. Both the artist and brand are brave when choosing hues and color combinations. On this, Vitturi says, “In Europe we fear color and too often it’s thought to be vulgar and kitsch. But I’m half Peruvian and I grew up in Venice, a place where the culture of color has deep roots… I think color is fundamental.”
Images by Paolo Ferrarini