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."



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