What happens when we turn a two-dimensional object into a three-dimensional one?
With Grau1, Stefanie Grau has developed a piece of furniture that holds a secret. Surfaces intersect in different dimensions and, by the means of folding, form a new object moving from area into space. Colors interact with materials and perspectively complete to new possible units.
Comprising a table and four chairs, the folding formation Grau1 forms a unit, which then functions as a forum for social interaction and a place for the different dimensions to meet. Functionality therein subordinates to the recipients’ felt perception.
Behind Grau1’s black appearance lies the secret inner. Becoming only visible when folded, colors and structures are hidden at first sight. In a play of areas and blank spaces, colors and structures inner and outer side emerge eventually. Light and shade bring about aspects that went unnoticed before. By areal deconstruction a new object, which formerly stood to the wall, is brought to light. Here lightness is not simply defined by low weight but hints at one’s own joy about having constructed a new item of furniture, away from the wall into space. Even though saving space might by welcome, it remains a side effect.
So, lifting the secret means to open the object. Ornamental and black areas are revealed like in a peacock’s luring to show its feathers and, as a new unit they merge with the respective surfaces. Sitting and standing positions offer unknown perspectives while faces, colors and structures overlay once again, thus creating variations that orientate from and towards each other.
With a maximum weight of 8 kg the folding table is linked to the four chairs, maximally weighing 3 kg each. The elements arrange in a common language revolving around color, shape and perspective. By the means of two objects of the same color, the identical suspension device for both pieces of furniture casts a common two-dimensional picture onto the wall.
A textile shell coats the single boards and, by this, retains the object’s inner and outer entirety. The textile leaves plenty of room for flexibility: while it ensures static safety in all joints without supplementary mechanics the material is extremely thin and tearproof. Each component is able to cope with heavy loads up to 150 kg. For the very first time, this decidedly special textile is used in furniture processing provided by the Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden.
Above this, the use of alternative material with comparably reliable durability is thinkable. While for the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair the draft will be made from shaped heartwood, which seems well suitable because it grows again, with her overall concept Stefanie Grau calls for the use of recycled materials to raise our consciousness for and draw attention to the finitude of earthly resources. It almost goes without saying that Stefanie Grau favors the reuse of plastics, e.g. PET bottles, and the application of highly durable resources and fast-growing raw material like bamboo.
The draft of Grau1 was realized in cooperation with the Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden and Corpus Linea, an ambitious carpentry business from Berlin that furthers innovative design solutions. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and the Goethe-Institut Mailand sponsor Grau 1.
Grau1’s artistic influences date back to Russian constructivism and its reduction to basic geometric patterns, as did the likes of Kazimir Malewich and Vladimir Tatlin. A graduated interior designer, Stefanie Grau also holds a Master’s degree in stage design. During her studies as a scholarship holder of the Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds she could win two competitions launched by the Landestheater Brandenburg. An early supporter of her artistic aspirations, stage designer Johannes Schütz has been a major influence and vital inspiration to Stefanie Grau’s work ever since. As she considers a theatre’s stage set to constitute its subtext, furniture to her unfolds its poetry in spatial design.
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