Blobs and Tubes
(Palindrome 6, by Rich Brilliant Willing // Mollo Armchair by Philippe Malouin for Established & Sons)
In this latest issue of the Journal, we are talking about all things “Ugly”. Why ugly?- you ask – because ugly is exciting, ugly is interesting, ugly is mysterious. Ugly stands at the complete opposite of beautiful, and raises questions about the inherent dichotomies in aesthetics and taste. Ugly is shunned and unexplored, talked down to and under hyped.
Having said that, I think we need to talk about blob:
Over the past year, we have noticed the humble rise of ugly art, ugly architecture, ugly furniture, and even ugly light fixtures. They come in the form of amorphous, organic shapes and unexpected materials creating a new genre of aesthetics. We couldn’t be more excited to share some of our favorite new products with you.
(Dyodon by Archigram, 1967 // Sanaa Architects, Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, 2010)
This blobs & tubes trend exists at the tail end of a short history of experimentation. Architects and Interior Designers have been working with blobs since the 1960’s. Post Modernism was defined in opposition to Modernism’s rigidity (straight edges, metal, and glass). Amorphous objects, inflatable buildings, and asymmetry emerged from Archigram’s cannon, transforming our understanding of what it means to build and how spaces can be inhabited.
(‘Exquisite Reality’ by ZEITGUISED) // (TREASURES 1, 3D Illustration by Anny Wang)
Today, computer based software is enabling artists to continue experimenting with amorphous shapes in a different way. Free from material constrains or gravity, artist are producing visual compositions that are stimulating and bizarre. The two compositions illustrated above are whimsical and imperfect, challenging the concept that virtually produced objects need to replicate real-world constraints. This results in unconventional and provocative images that influence how we think about furniture and product design.
(Sammlung Boros Collection at the Reichsbahn-Bunker, Berlin) // Macrame knotting by textile designer Josefina Pellegrini)
At two very different scales, the work of Sammlung Boros and Josefina Pellegrini, showcase the use of blobs and tubes in art. These unconvential artforms bank on unrecognizable forms and non-standard art materials to create a very specific effect that is sumultanously ugly and beatiful. They have succeeded at challenging predictability by inviting us to rethink art as a solely beautiful product. These art pieces are asvisceral as they are surreal.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934) illustrations of brain cells)
At its core, these new shapes remind us of organic structures. Maybe this is why we think of bloby furniture, art, and architecture as beautiful. Maybe because they are more like us and less like the products we produce that they are that much more fascinating. It is in its imperfection that this new trend seems oh, so fascinating!
Blobs and tubes are in and taking the design world by storm; clearly we love it.