Not to be outdone by Nendo, Tokujin Yoshioka, the Japanese artist and designer known for creating exquisite objects from unexpected materials, has teamed up with 4 different companies, presenting a range of work that, at times, overlaps with one another. Yoshioka has once again returned to what is perhaps one of his favorite meditative studies: the crystal. In fact, one time he even made a chair from crystals he grew himself!
Some believe they balance yin and yang energy, while others claim they bring good luck. But Yoshioka is more interested in the physical, rather than metaphysical, properties of crystal – in this case, their ability to refract light.
Collaborating with Italian furniture design company Lema, Yoshioka has designed a collage of mirrored plates. The panels, which can be manipulated and freely arranged into various positions and angles seems at once to be consistent with this year’s theme of kinetic, rather than static furniture. “Mirage” functions both as a mirror, but also as an art piece, and performs in precise yet entirely unpredictable ways.
His piece for Glas Italia is also a mirror, albeit a much simpler one. But look closely and you’ll find that it’s embedded with a treasure trove of prior experimentations. Composed of thick, high-transparency glass, the frames are cut to create a shimmering refraction of light.
This bling is not what it appears to be. Created for Kartell, the Italian company that makes plastic contemporary furniture, Yoshioka’s series of stools and side tables look like they belong behind armored glass. But in fact, they’re made from polycarbonate, the clear and nearly unbreakable plastic used to make everything from baby bottles to windows. “Sparkle” is cut in just a way to give it the appearance of crystal glass. And a distinctive twist is given to each piece to further enhance the refraction of light.
Seemingly an outlier, the series of tables for Italian furniture manufacturer Desalto are made from stainless steel and aluminum, a stark visual contrast to the other shiny, delicate-looking pieces. But the genesis of Yoshioka’s collection can actually be found in his experiments growing crystals. Taking his cue from the way naturally occurring crystals are intergrown with adjacent crystals, “Element” is made up of a perpendicular support that attaches itself to a wide base. A table top rests on the structure, forming a precarious balancing act that is, needless to say, molecularly stable.
The one burning question I have (and perhaps the key to understanding Yoshioka’s work) is, who is that mystery woman who appears in almost every single collection!?!