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“Lightsaber” is a piece from the Renaissance Collection, which is dedicated to the innovative and original upcycling of vintage furniture design. The main idea behind works from this collection is to combine the past and the present in flexible new forms and structures that are given new life. “Lightsaber,” which features wall lamps from the 1970s that have been repurposed here as shades, is marked by a bespoke, 1900s feeling while it is shaped by a millennial sense of flexibility — it can be used as table, wall or ceiling lamp.
Fatih Başgöze is a designer and partner of Istanbul-based design studio Laboratuvar Studio, which he founded in 2010 with his wife, Ceren Başgöze . The studio, located in the historic Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, specializes in various fields of design, from interior and architectural projects to furniture and design objects. Laboratuvar Studio’s approach is based on a critical questioning of materials, symbols, forms, and colors, especially in relation to the cultural framework of Istanbul. The hallmark works of this young studio are their one-off editions of “upcycled” traditional furniture for their Renaissance Collection, which present an “analytic archaeology\" of furniture in Istanbul by exploring vintage designs through a modern lens.
The body of work in this collection consists of pieces by Greek designers of the mainland and the diaspora, or international professionals who live and work in Greece. As a common theme we tackle the elusive notion of “Greekness” and how this transpires through the work of seemingly diverse and distinct individuals. In our attempt to define “Greekness”, we aim to raise questions about how this plays out in the work presented.
How do Greek designers view their identity? Is it through their effort to decipher their heavy heritage? Is form important in order to achieve a predisposed classic elegance, or is a philosophical disposition towards shape more poignant? Could it be simply a resourcefulness and DIY ethic to make up for the absence of design infrastructure?
How do Greek designers based abroad deal with their background? Could it be that they simply ignore it in order to finally free themselves? Is there a certain amount of innovation necessary in order to channel it into the new environment?
Finally, how do foreign designers see their work influenced by their Greek surroundings? Is it the reference through the use of noble materials such as marble or the abundance of natural light that makes their work unquestionably Greek? Or could it be something else they were seeking when they decided to move here, something abstract like humour or drama? Could their arrival finally mean a departure from Greek heritage’s self-reference?
The pieces that we present might seem ill-matched, but they share an important core element. They are confident in their narrative of a personal story of identity, that is either at peace or against the Greek archetype. Through this communication, they all describe a culturally mature and vibrant scene that is finally extroverted and coming of age.
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