There were two very strong contenders for this award, about both of which we have posted in the past. Galerie Gosserez had a very interesting display that included the blue version of Nymphéa -- see the post here. And Carpenters Workshop Gallery was showing Matheiu Lehanneur's S.M.O.K.E. -- see the post here.
But Carpenters Workshop Gallery were showing various examples of Studio Drift's Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta's Fragile Future, one of the most powerful works of art, or designs of a light, that we have ever seen. So this series wins the award.
Why? Two reasons.
First, they set up a series of dichotomies. The main structure is in bronze. It supports tiny LEDs to which dandelion seed heads have been attached:
So we have:
the hardness of the metal against the softness of the seed head;
the permanence of the metal against the evanescence of the seed head (one expects the seeds to blow way any minute);
the urban landscape of the metal against the bucolic seed head;
the simple right angles of the metal against the complex rounded forms of the seed head.
This makes it sound as if Fragile Future is pulling itself apart -- and hard work to take in. But the power of the piece comes from the fact that the metal and the seed heads, in spite of all the dichotomies, are in perfect harmony with each other. Since our future is fragile, the only way we can survive is if science and nature, town and country, work together.
Secondly, they are very beautiful.
In reality, the dandelion seed heads are much less obvious than they are in these pictures. You don't even see them at first. When you do, the effect is like the early morning sun shining through the mist.
So, beautiful, but also evoking the kind of place we'd all most like to be (according to a recent poll, what people say makes them happiest is a walk in the country).
If the rôle of the artist is to make living a little easier to bear, then being able to call up our deepest feelings of contentment, as Gordijn and Nauta are doing, well, they've cracked it!
It is better to show you how beautiful they are than to write about it, so here are some more examples of the Fragile Nature series. Site-specific versions can be made.
There are also table versions...
...and wall versions:
But the best are suspensions, IMHO:
For more information, contact the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, in Paris at 54, rue de la Verrerie in the Marais, or in London at 3 Albemarle Street in Mayfair. They have a Fragile Future 3 (the table version above) in their London office.
Oh, and they are obviously very good editors! They recently had an exhibition of work by Johanna Grawunder, and they are currently putting on shows of work by rAndom International in Paris and the Curve in the Barbican (the amazing Rain Room) . rAndom International have been thrilling fine lighting fans (and others!) since their 2007 show with Ingo Maurer during the Milan fair in the Spazio Krizia .