What is good design? It’s a question that comes up regularly, either implicitly or overtly, when assessing an object. By and large, we look for examples of function and beauty. (If we considered criteria like sustainability and long life, the iPhone wouldn’t make the cut, would it?) But regardless of how well designed they are, few objects are so groundbreaking that they upend the way we organize our lives. In a recent exhibition, the Paris-based designer Robert Stadler challenges the very notions of how we perceive and arrange the furniture in our homes.
Titled Wild at Home, the show featured objects that questioned fundamental rules of interior design, including why the light in the dining room must always hang above the table. By contrast, Stadler’s Anywhere consists of a long carbon tube with a light at one end and a rope at the other that can be used to swing the fixture into virtually any position in the room. Similarly, his Bouts de canapé side tables are liberated from their traditional static posts at the ends of a sofa.
“Important design or art do more than being good,” the Austrian designer writes in his artist’s statement. “The difference between good and important is the same as between recognize and find; it is the gap which separates and experience and its reiteration. It is not sufficient to put one thing in the place of another, it is still necessary to change the place itself.” And rather than merely upgrading a sofa or buying another lamp, Stadler invites viewers to re-imagine their domestic interiors as wild spaces, free from restrictive conventions.
[Photos by André Morin, courtesy of Galerie Triple V, Paris, Robert Stadler]