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Mindcraft 17: Eske Rex & Maria Mengel

For this year’s Mindcraft exhibition – Milan Design Week: 4 to 9 April – celebrated Danish duo, Eske Rex and Maria Mengel, debuts Day Bed; an exploration of the transition from sleep to activity, time spent traveling, and how both contemporary conditions can be expressed in the formal reference of the rising sun.

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Everyone knows that time is tricky but how does it actually affect our daily routines, working processes and ever-changing surroundings? For this year’s edition of Mindcraft – mounted by the Danish Arts Foundation during Milan Design Week: 4-9 April – guest curator and scenographer Henrik Vibskov opted to explore a site-specific condition: how different times-of-day cast different atmospheres at the San Simpliciano Cloister; how the droves of visitors that take the Italian city by storm during this hectic week might find pause in this ephemeral haven. The architecture of the locale allows an inner courtyard to cut off from the bustle of street life; providing an ample setting to showcase commissioned projects by 18 Danish craft-led talents: Tobias Møhl, Yuki Ferdinandsen, Eske Rex & Maria Mengel, Birk Marcus Hansen, Emil Krøyer & Mads Sætter-Lassen, Anne Dorthe Vester & Maria Bruun, Kasper Kjeldgaard, Lærke Valum, Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen, Isabel Berglund, Hanne G, Anders Ruhwald, Christina Schou Christensen, Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen and Carl Emil Jacobsen. 

Though specialised in various mediums: graphics, ceramics, glass, textiles, silverware, wood and marble etc., all were prompted to work with the concept of time. Celebrated polyglot Vibskov allocated each creative with a specific period in the day to consider while developing their new works. Some explored the theme by looking at how material is sourced, how age-old techniques weight up to contemporary demands, and how function can be readdressed. TLmag had the opportunity to visit many of the exhibitors’ studios in Copenhagen earlier this month. Here’s the second in a series of profiles, ahead of Milan Design Week.

Renowned designers-cum-craftspeople Eske Rex and Maria Mengel were given the timeframe of 03:57:00 to 05:00:00. Both set their alarm clocks accordingly to develop initial sketches. Considering that this segment of the day (in many parts of Northern Europe during the Spring and Summer) marks the shift from night to day, the duo were reminded of having to get up early to catch a flight. Equating the displacement of travel to the transition from sleeping to waking hours, they conceived Day Bed. Playing on the symbolic connations of the sun as it rises, Mengel and Rex employed the spherical qualities of this celestial body to form concave recesses in the Swedish Pinewood planks that mass this work. These contrastingly curvaceous cavities cast their own shadows and in all cases, are divided by a sharp cut; emulating the horizon. A Judd-esque sculpture yet furniture piece, Day Bed establishes a user-centric tension between horizontal rest and vertical activity. Combining the cabinetmaking mastery of Rex with the Mengel’s architectural sensibility, this latest collaborative work is the largest in scale yet.

Sun Bed_Eske_Rex_ And_Maria_Mengel

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