Maarten Baas is something of a bad boy amongst designers, notorious for ripping up the rules to make a point. If he's not taking a blowtorch to classic design pieces for his 'Smoke' series he's likely crafting furniture from clay for 'Sculpt'. And his latest project 'The Shanghai Riddle' is no less imaginative.
Click here to see more of 'The Shanghai Riddle'.

The series is in participation with Pearl Lam's Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai and the result of a scheme set up to introduce European designers to local Chinese practices. Baas took inspiration from time spent observing daily life and culture in Shanghai.

'It's a city full of contradictions', the designer says, 'old/new, high-tec/low-tech, tradition/revolution, fake/real, cheap/expensive, original/copy. Together all these contradictions seem to form an interesting paradox. The exhibition 'The Shanghai Riddle' is also full of paradoxes and experiments. It's inspired by a city in which everything seems possible.'

Baas' interpretation comes in the form of hand-carved elm replicas of plastic mass-produced furniture, highlighting the contrast between treasured Chinese handcraft and contemporary, mass-produced and mass consumed. As with all Baas' work the unlikely aesthetic is humorous but thought-provoking rather than gratuitous.

In addition to these pieces Baas has also added to his 'Sculpt'series with a grand piano and a Chinese instrument called the 'pipal'. And proving the breadth and depth of his talent the designer hopped onto the stool and played a quick jig on the piano at the exhibition's opening."



Lagerfeld, about having stuff

I found this very interesting article where Mr Lagerfeld (le major freak) talks about how the German
Werkbund style fits more with his New York space rather than Paris. In my humble opinion Industrial fits very well with romantisim; it is an interesting contrast...but well, he sells his dogmas like nobody else!

"How do you live with your art?

I had beautiful Old Master paintings; I sold them all. But now I have a collection—it’s not on the wall—that I really love, of German posters from 1905 to 1915. They are the beginning of modern advertising, like huge Pop-art paintings, with unbelievable colors and modernity. They show the strangest products: AEG electrical equipment, coal, chocolate, sometimes fairs, or exhibitions. But they are divine, and they are impossible to find.

Where do you find them?

I get all the catalogues, and I have people who buy for me. The other day, one of them said, “You cannot pay $50,000 for a poster.” I bought it for nearly $80,000, and a week after, at a sale in New York, a poster by the same artist—not as good—went for $120,000.

But you don’t hang them on the wall.

I want to put them in my place in New York. They don’t work in France; it’s not a French style at all. I will do the New York apartment in the style of the [Deutscher] Werkbund, the architectural movement that had designers like Bruno Paul, Hermann Muthesius and Peter Behrens, who taught Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. They did modern things differently, in 1910, before the Bauhaus. I have a collection of furniture bought 20 years ago that is stunning, very colorful, in bright red, yellow, green and gold. Suddenly people are discovering Werkbund. Everyone knows Vienna Secession, but there is not much left. Werkbund is Germany for me, a Germany that I can identify with."



Nuit noire

Oscar, a conservator at the Natural Sciences Museum, passes the days exercising his passion for studying insects; if only there still were days. As long as people can remember, the sun only releases a few pathetic rays for fifteen seconds before noon. The rest of the time, the world is plunged into a night without end, a permanent eclipse. Coming home after work, Oscar finds an African woman in his bed. Suffering from a mysterious and incurable disease, she seems to have come to his place to die. Trapped between desire and repulsion, Oscar gradually abandons his life to terrifying phantoms.


My photo
Compilation of aesthetic manifestations beyond compliance, bring us emancipation.