Fri 17 Nov 2023 to Fri 22 Dec 2023
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-6pm
Artist: Sebastian Brajkovic
Private view: Thursday 16 November, 6pm-8pm. RSVP
David Gill presents a new series of furniture by the Dutch-born designer Sebastian Brajkovic. Using an inspirational combination of hand modelling, 3D scanning and his own bespoke design programme (created by a technologically gifted friend), Brajkovic’s new pieces conform to his fascination with the history of decorative arts, while introducing seductive contemporary innovation.
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“What I love about Sebastian’s work is the way that he takes the roots of traditional and historical pieces and the possibilities of the computer, and creates something new but comfortably recognisable at the same time,” says David Gill, who first showed Brajkovic’s work in 2019. “You can relate to its historical essence. He plays beautifully with archetypes.”
The new work is no exception. The starting point of the Dancing Queen candelabra is derived from the free movements of a person dancing that he momentarily froze into a two- or five-pronged lamp and cast in stainless steel. A commanding table lamp is in the same series, but appears to be dripping with aluminium ribbons. To create it, Brajkovic traced around an existing classic lamp with a metal thread, took away the core, then heaped it with strips of clay which, when dry, resulted in the subtly curled and collapsed forms.
“I make models in anything I can find: clay, paper, styrofoam, bits of old furniture,” explains Brajkovic. “Then I 3D scan it into the computer. It has given me an enormous amount of freedom.” Once corrected and complete, the files can be sent to foundries to be cast in aluminium, steel or bronze. “I also work a lot with Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset. My friend designed a virtual room for me, in which I can place my furniture. I can walk around it, and look underneath it. There are no more surprises when the real object arrives. I used to say I liked my drawings better than the pieces that appeared for real. Now that is no longer the case.”
In the case of the Garnier chair, however, he has taken a real object – the fauteuils found in the famous Parisian opera house where the wooden seat back continues around just one side of the chair – and treated it to his own surrealist vision, melting and extending the side downwards to form a soft curving leg. It is now made in patinated bronze.
The Apeiron console, a single sheet of bronze that curls seductively beneath itself, is named after the Greek word for infinity. The Grove coffee table is another exercise in clarity, where three cast aluminium legs look like the grooved swirls of butter that used to be a standard of smart hotel breakfast tables.
“I aim for a sense of mobility and movement in my work,” says Brajkovic. “I like to think I am capturing energy. It’s no surprise that I am also influenced by Chinese calligraphy, which also contains movement and flow, like a moment in time. Life doesn’t stand still. I want to encapsulate that feeling.”
Brajkovic also makes significant works to commission, including pieces for the Dior stores designed by Peter Marino and interiors created by David Gill’s gallery partner, Francis Sultana.
Sebastian Brajkovic was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch-Indonesian mother and Croatian-Italian father in 1975. He studied cabinet making at Amsterdam’s Meubelvakschool before moving to the more experimental Design Academy in Eindhoven. His work represents the ambition to create design infused with a conceptually strong narrative that marked out the college at the time.
Originally interested in distorting and extending the archetypes of French furniture, Brajkovic’s practice now interrogate other forms, including Chinese calligraphy.
He blends the artisanal with the digital to deliver work that is both conceptually and aesthetically unique. “I do not like to be influenced by other designers,” he says. “I see myself as a stone, not a sponge.”
Brajkovic lives and works in a village outside of Zurich, Switzerland. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; and the Samsung Foundation, Seoul.