Neri&Hu Scenographies: Experiencing Space and Time
Since 2015, Neri&Hu have gathered the signature collections within unique scenographies that enlighten the quality and specificity of each designers’ profile and singularity. These visual and philosophical installations create an added dimension through which the work can be experienced and understood.
The cultural context in which Stellar Works navigates is enriched by the contributions and expressions of talented interior architects and designers who are already highly recognized in their field of product design and interiors. Each of them has been putting their stamp on unconventional scenographies, as well as on prestigious hospitality projects, including restaurants, hotels, retail environments and private homes all over the world.
Milan, April 2015: ‘The Cabinet of Curiosity’ à Rossana Orlandi
‘secrets &…’ by Neri&Hu is the first edition of Cabinet of Curiosity, a project developed in 2015 before they took on the role of Creative Directors of Stellar Works, and a project they hope to continue in coming years with other guest designers. The tall, wooden cabinet has glass doors and black caged sides, and it rests on a metal trolley, and idea inspired by ceramic studios and how they wheel the ob-jects into the kiln for firing. Each of the beautifully crafted objects placed on the shelves, from an old wooden abacus to a brass hand mirror or a brass knife, represents one of the 7 deadly sins. The Cabinet is evocative of what we hold inside. What are our secrets? What do we choose to reveal or not reveal? What will be our downfall or saving grace? The connection to the fiery furnace (here connecting to ceramics, a new material being explored by Stellar Works), represents that turbulence we all go through—the highs and lows, pleasures and pain. The cabinet itself, as an independent object, could be from a late 19th-century apothecary or per-haps even an Art Déco era apartment – its appeal timeless and mysterious; It combines an industrial aesthetic with handcrafted details, making it a functional art object and a rather subversive piece of furniture.
Paris, January 2016: ‘The Cage’ inspired by Louise Bourgeois for Maison & Objet: Scenes d’Interieur
The caged structure installed at Maison & Objet in January of 2016, was partially a tribute to artist Louise Bourgeois, but it was also a symbolic way of engaging with the viewer and to bring them into the Stellar Works universe, one that is multicultural, layered, global and local. The powerful presentation managed to feel industrial and intimate at the same time. Lyndon Neri states,“we have started caging you in an environment that wraps you into the world we are in today. This world is not about different countries, but about design, which can come from different parts of the world, as well as manufacturing and craftsmanship…By encapsulating you in our cross-cultural vision, we want to stress the meaning of the world, ‘glocal’…you want to be local and global at the same time which is part of our paradox and complexity as human beings.” The installation featured new collections by Neri&Hu, Crème, and Space Copenhagen, while added elements such as blown glass apothecary jars and handcrafted lighting by Lukas Peet for Roll & Hill, added another layer of ambience and a touch of understated glamour.
Milan, April 2017: ‘A House Within A House’, Oficina 31, Zona Tortona for the Milan Furniture Fair
The reflective nostalgia explored by the Creative Directors, Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu in this installation is another way to look at the house as a holistic concept. “It does not follow a single plot but explores ways of inhabiting many places at once and imagining differ-ent time zones. It loves details, not symbols”, explains Neri.“When we examine cities, people and buildings through these lenses, we begin to reveal certain recurring obsessions that, in return, manifest in each of our projects.” The grid-like house opens to convey the idea that the home is a place of refuge as well as a cage for pos-sessions and rituals. Entering into the Oficina in Milan opens up the door to a ‘full home’ or a semi-public space seen as a ‘room for living’: from furniture to handicrafts. This offered a path to discover the new Stellar Works collections and to be immersed into a particular mood.
New York, May 2017: ICFF
The Stellar Works presentation for ICFF 2017 aimed to immerse viewers into a dreamy, tranquil space with green filtered images of a forest and sea. These natural and quiet backgrounds complimented the dark wood and timeless style of the new collections by Jun Aizaki/Crème and Space Copenhagen. The ambience mixed elements of mid-century modern style with Nordic and Asian touches. The private spaces and mise-en-scenes reflect a versatile collection of furniture that could be fit for professional spaces or personal dwellings. The Exchange Collection by Jun Aizaki/Crème won the Editors award for best collection at ICFF 2017.
London, September 2017: ‘Ming Chair in Indigo: A Cultural Iconography’, at the Design Museum for London Design Festival
For the 2017 edition of London Design Week, Neri&Hu placed 7 Ming Chairs in various stages of finishing, in a unique installation at the Design Museum, which included photographs of some of the craftspeople involved in the project. The installation set out to reveal how the ancient dying technique of indigo is transformed into a contemporary manufacturing process with underlying cultural significance. This investigation is reflective of the designers’ own interest in drawing on the past to inspire the present and how to incorporate the hand-made and tradition in a 21st-century furniture brand. As Hu stated for the online magazine, designboom, “each piece on display at the Design Museum acts as a canvas in time, recording and sharing a chronology of Asian craftsmanship for both visual and creative pleasure”. The indigo dying project is made in collaboration with the Hong Kong-based Fabrick Lab, led by Elaine Yan Ling Ng. The exploration of indigo dying is an ongoing interest for Stellar Works, having started earlier in 2017 with the launch of an indigo-dyed version of Jun Aizaki/Crème’s Exchange chair.
This article is part of TLmag Special Edition Stellar Works: Asian Sensibility, Timeless Craft