What does it take to see a familiar space with a fresh perspective? Royal College of Art graduate James Thompson reinvented furniture and fixtures in the campus cafe with a selection of casts for Parallel Architectures, recently on display at Show RCA 2012. “It was important to look for the potential of each object that could be used to build new interior pieces, with new functions, in their negative form,” Thompson tells Co.Design.
After experimenting with Jesmonite for over a year and becoming familiar with its capabilities, Thompson applied the gypsum-based material to objects in the students’ common area. “It’s non-toxic, which meant that I was able to work directly on site without health and safety issues associated with conventional polyester resins,” he explains. The result is a series of inverted structures that alternate rough and smooth, punctuated with detailed impressions and the essence of each item’s former incarnation. “The aesthetic describes time and the process of construction, with each brushstroke recorded in the Jesmonite,” he says. And as for what to call the hybrid collection? “Singularly they’re furniture pieces, but ideally I see the work as architecture, an approach to space as a whole, a spatial landscape recreated using this methodology.”
Though the style might draw some comparisons to Rachel Whiteread, Thompson was primarily influenced by the oeuvre of another iconic English artist. “Theoretically, my work draws inspiration for David Hockney’s writings on cubism and his description of the representation of reality described through conventional photography,” he says. Perhaps that means a poolside scene is next on the agenda.