Archive for the Design Category

Choupatte, Claude Lalanne

Posted in Art, Design, London with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2013 by mysearchformagic

I wandered into Ben Brown Fine Art in Mayfair this week, and discovered an exhibition of the work of art/design duo Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne.

I was already aware of their fun animal sculptures, such as their woolly sheep, which also double up as furniture. Works like these are highly collectable, and have sold for huge amounts at auction, also gracing the homes of collectors including Yves Saint-Laurent and Tom Ford.

But on this occasion I was particularly enchanted by Claude Lalanne’s Choupatte sculptures. Made from bronze, the Choupattes come in two sizes – a cute little life size version to sit on a table top, or a huge rather scary version which stands on the floor.

Choupatte (très grand) 2008-2012, Claude Lalanne (Image courtest Ben Brown Fine Art)

Choupatte (très grand) 2008-2012, Claude Lalanne
(Image courtest Ben Brown Fine Art)

The Choupatte sculptures encapsulate Claude Lalanne’s love of the surreal, tinged with a subtle dose of humour. They made me smile. And they are definitely rather magical, don’t you think?

Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne at Ben Brown Fine Art until 21st September


Made By Bees, Studio Libertiny

Posted in Art, Bees, Design with tags , , , on November 6, 2012 by mysearchformagic
There’s definitely something magical about bees. Maybe it’s the way that such apparently simple creatures have developed their own sophisticated hierarchies, and seem able to communicate with each other in complex, non-verbal ways. Bees have long been the subject of myth and legend, and often appear in art and literature as symbols of organisation and industry. Quite how they do it still remains an intriguing mystery, but the products of their hard work, in particular wax and honey, have proved vital to the development of human civilisation over the millennia. I’ve been thinking for a while about how to feature bees in my search for magic. When I discovered the work of Slovakian born designer Tomas Libertiny I instantly realised that my search was over.

Made By Bees, Studio Libertiny
Photo by Raoul Kramer

These Made by Bees vases are just what their name suggests, with a vase-shaped hive constructed by Libertiny being colonised by bees, who then produce this strange, delicate honeycomb vessel. It takes approximately 40,000 bees one week to make each vase, so it perhaps not surprising that only a small number were ever made. It’s an idea so simple, yet so magical, that it’s amazing no one has ever thought of it before.

The red version of Made By Bees, Studio Libertiny
Photo by Raoul Kramer

As Studio Libertiny point out, the beeswax is produced from flowers, and the Made By Bees vase is designed to hold flowers as they reach the end of their existence, so there is a satisfying circularity to this creation. Like many magical objects, there is an element of chaos in the vase’s production, with Studio Libertiny allowing the bees to make the final decisions on the form of the vase itself, and the environment in which they live and feed also influencing the unique tone of each final piece. The results are fascinatingly beautiful; random yet organised, fragile yet temptingly tactile. I am not sure what the bees make of it all, but for me the Made By Bees vases are things of wonder that would not look out of place in an antiquarian Wunderkammer, sitting next to a wizened taxidermy ‘mermaid’ or an obsidian scrying mirror.

Another variation of Made By Bees, Studio Libertiny
Photo by Raoul Kramer

Many of Libertiny’s creations utilize wax and honeycomb, with designer and nature working together to produce something archly modern yet utterly timeless, but in my opinion these vases are his most beautiful creation. They are are ephemeral, poetic and marvelous.

And of course, undeniably magical.