~ Nendo// Mimicry at the V&A // London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is in it's 10th year & an exciting one. One of the must-see exhibitions is from one of my favourite and very prolific design studio's Nendo, exhibiting at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Exploring the V&A to find the chairs is a mission in itself, I'm not sure I managed to find all 10 of them, but they are definately worth seeing.
Ben Evans, director of the Festival, has chosen the Japanese studio Nendo, headed by Oki Sato and Akihiro Ito, to create an installation that will react to the galleries, corridors, and stairways that make up the V&A’s permanent collections. 
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
The project's philosophy is generated through reinterpreting and multiplying a single white chair in ten different ways, where the series will then appear in ten varying locations throughout the V&A victoria & albert museum during 2012 london design festival - the experience beginning in the main entrance of the museum. The journey then carries on throughout the space, positioning the chairs in galleries, staircases and corridors. Each design has been carefully created to reflect and 'mimic' the location in which it is placed - poetically communicating the relationship an object shares with its environment.
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Each transparent chair is made of the same pressed and punched metal, finished in white; each one is intentionally 'ghost-like' so they do not overpower the space, but enhance it. The chairs literally 'mimic' the different areas and objects they are placed in relation to: a group of chairs echo a salon-like cluster of paintings in one gallery; chairs that expand into great rectangles imitate hanging tapestries in another; chairs with cut-outs copy panes of glass in a hallway.
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
The delicate transparency of the chairs is intended to make them unobtrusive, but their presence certainly affects the viewer’s 'spatial sensibilities,' creating a new experience within familiar walls. Allowing them to see the simple, foundational forms of the museum and its artworks; the shape, the spacing, the outlines, perhaps for the first time.

Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Together since 2002, Nendo’s body of work is filled with projects that challenge the notion of the object as something solely utilitarian. 
'There are so many small “!” moments hidden in our everyday. But we don’t recognize them and even when we do recognize them, we tend to unconsciously reset our minds and forget what we’ve seen. But we believe these small “!” moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich. That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.' Nendo

Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Object Dependencies (2012 for Pierre Alain Chalier) outlines their responsive design philosophy. It challenges the design mantra of 'form follows function' by making what Nendo calls weak-furniture, objects that cannot stand independently and are only made structurally sound through the addition of another object, which can, in turn, change the angles of light and overall space the object inhabits. There is a similar conceptual intention with Mimicry Chairs – the meaning of the chairs is supported/dependent on the ‘place’ in which it stands/mimics therefore the experience of the gallery is dictated by the presence of Mimicry Chairs.
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
With a developing theme of responsive works, it is no coincidence that Mimicry Chairs is a key project at this year’s London Design Festival. A chair becomes art as it responds to its site, but it maintains its utility as a place to sit and respond to art. Most importantly for Nendo, it creates the “!” by reshaping the traditions of this museum. It is simple complexity like this that reaffirms Nendo really are the 'new design stars.'
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal

Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal

Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Photo © London Design Journal
Mimicry Chairs (14 September-23 September) at the V&A
Nendo
London Design Festival