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See Virgil Abloh’s vision for homes in the year 2035

The designer reimagines three pieces from furniture’s past for the not-too-distant future.

As if he wasn’t just opening a new Nike store and museum exhibit, prolific designer Virgil Abloh has released a new line of limited-edition furniture with the Swiss furniture company Vitra that’s meant to offer a glimpse of life in the year 2035. The new, very orange line consists of three pieces, and hacks some of the most famous interior design objects in history.

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This is Abloh’s specialty. He has put his personal stamp on Nike’s 10 most iconic shoes and created a line of self-aware furniture for Ikea, including a rug meant to look like a giant Ikea receipt.

[Photo: Marc Eggimann/courtesy Vitra]

For Vitra, Abloh presents a trio of objects. First up is a remixed Antony Chair, originally released by the celebrated French designer Jean Prouvé in 1954. Abloh swapped out the molded oak seat with a clear plexiglass one, which creates transparency to highlight the metal frame, now slathered in orange lacquer. Next is Abloh’s take on the Petite Potence wall lamp, also by Jean Prouvé, released in 1942. He covered the hyper-minimalist fixture, consisting of little more than a bulb and its swinging wall-mounted arm, in orange lacquer to better highlight its form. Abloh also swapped out the incandescent bulb with a modern LED, which he wrapped in a cage.

[Photo: Marc Eggimann/courtesy Vitra]

Abloh has said in the past that he’s interested in finding the most minimal adjustments he can make to an object to transform it into a new object. That’s the case here: The changes in form and materials (though admittedly not color!), are relatively subtle. The third piece of the collection, the Ceramic Block mini modular storage units, takes this idea to the extreme. While not based upon any classic Vitra design, the design appears to be nothing more than typical cinder blocks, rendered in a bright orange finish and stamped with a serial number. With this simple makeover, an omnipresent building material is transformed into something akin to high art, as fans of Abloh’s work might see it.

[Photo: Marc Eggimann/courtesy Vitra]

As for what all this has to do with the year 2035: The objects are meant to be seen through the lens of a contemporary teenager who grew up surrounded by beautiful design, then remade the classics as his own decades from today. They are meant to invoke a certain déjà vu—they are familiar because we’ve all seen them—but they have been remixed by a future society that sees fewer boundaries between creative mediums. In this sense, the entire Vitra project mirrors Abloh’s own career path and creative sensibilities,.

The pieces are currently on display in two rooms at the Fire Station at the Vitra Campus in Germany. They’re also on sale now at Vitra’s website.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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