Thursday, 1 October 2015

mischer'traxler: Curiosity Cloud

There have been so many projects in London over the last couple of weeks or so, organised as part of the London Design Festival. Much of the quality of the projects was variable.

One project which I thought was particularly imaginative however, was the wonderful Curiosity Cloud installation in the Norfolk House Music Room at the V&A, by Austrian design duo mischer'traxler.

The installation consisted of 250 mouth-blown glass jars made by famed Viennese glass makers Lobmeyr, suspended from a ceiling panel containing a handmade insect such as a butterfly or dragonfly. There are 25 different insect species represented in the jars which fall into categories such as extinct, common and recently discovered. Inspiration for the project was also found in the Art Nouveau movement who's designers were also greatly inspired by and depicted insect forms in media such as glass, jewellery and ceramics. Fittingly the installation was sponsored by champagne company Perrier-Jouet, whose bottle design was also created during the Art Nouveau heyday by no lesser talent than Emile Galle.

Each insect lay dormant but as the viewer approached a jar, a sensor was activated which set the insects whirring around madly in the jar creating a lovely pinging noise as their wings beat against the glass. As the viewer withdrew the insect calmed down and and its movements ground to a halt.

It was a really inspiring installation, and was perfectly suited to its ballroom setting.

Also on display on the ground floor of the V&A was Barnaby Barford's Tower of Babel which I posted about previously here. I visited the Rowley Gallery to deliver a new artwork recently, and Chris, (one of the directors), confirmed that they did manage to buy Barford's little ceramic Rowley Gallery shop, which formed part of the installation, for the gallery. I look forward to seeing it displayed centre stage in their window when Tower of Babel is dismantled.

There was also this massive installation at the main entrance to the V&A entitled Zotem - the work of  designer Kim Thome. It is an 18 metre tall, black monolith studded with huge Swarovski crystals forming colourful geometric patterns which reflect the light and coloured stripes in its core.