London-based duo Glithero design to a brief without restricted vision for the outcome. Following through with their inspired vision for the installation at Design Miami this week, drawing on art-nouveau and spanish art nouveau architect Gaudi for a beautiful & inspired installation using weighted silver beads, only wish I could be there(not only for the sunshine). Gllithero was commissioned by perrier-jouët to envision a work that reflected the champagne house's art nouveau heritage. It was during their visit to the company's maison belle epoque in epernay, france - home to more than 200 original pieces of art by some of art nouveau's masters - that the duo found references in which to create their work, particularly the sudden change in atmosphere within the cellars expressing the ultimate stillness, disorientation and timelessness, all feelings which they have translated into their installation 'lost time'.
(...) there was absolutely no brief on how it had to look like what it had to look like. this is very much their (glithero's) vision and we are very proud and happy with it.
Glithero's project is about paying tribute to gaudi's research of the perfect curve for the sgrada familia. Then we took them to our house in epernay where we host the biggest art nouveau collection of emile gallé, and they visited the cellars where they were highly inspired by the atmosphere of the cellars. It's very much about reflection and those drops of water and the feeling of losing your sense of space when you are in that environment. When you walk from the house, into the cellar, it's that moment that their work tries to describe, in a different way here at designmiami.'
- axelle de buffévent, style director of martell mumm perrier-jouet
'the idea of reinterpreting art nouveau was the loose starting point, but, it is true that beyond that they (glithero) could have decided to work on the reinterpretation of nature, they could have decided to work on curvilinear shapes, organic shapes...there were many different routes that they could have explored and they went with this one (the perfect curve).'
The point was to deliver an experience which we felt could enrich the art nouveau heritage of the brand. We just wanted to be sure that it was true to art nouveau which from the beginning they were very good at with the idea of the perfect curve with gaudí. Also, even if it was not part of the brief in the beginning and which we are very proud about, is that when they visited our cellars something really happened and it transformed the initial idea of the perfect curve into something that was somehow a full experience based on what they themselves experienced in the cellars. So, it's a deep link we think and it really belongs to us and no one else because of this combination of art nouveau and the cellars. that was exactly what we were after, so we are very happy about that.'
- stéphanie durroux, international brand director of martell mumm perrier-jouet
Presented at designmiami/ the experiential environment explores the flowing forms found in antoni guadí's sagrada familia church in barcelona in which the spanish art nouveau architect's goal was to find nature's purest, most perfect curve. in order to do so, he created upside-down architectural models composed of numerous weighted strings that draped from the ceiling. it is this which glithero alludes to with 'lost time' through the use of curved lines composed of weighted silver beads, draped and suspended in a cascading cluster over a dimly lit pond - the beads considered to mirror the dewdrops, cobwebs and puddles which cover the dark damp cellars of perrier-jouët, drawing on the double meaning of reflection and the optical effect of light and contrast encountered within. the calmness created through the combination of these elements challenges the viewer's perception and offers an environment of transformation. Of the cellars, the designers say:
'They are really long and curved, and there is a really unique humid and timeless atmosphere, which we somehow wanted to bottle and bring up. Puddles [in the cellars], which made beautiful reflections, and dewdrops caught in spider webs, also really contributed to the sense of timelessness we wanted to capture.'
'[He] made a series of strings with little bags of sand distributed alongside. It created a fantastic, organic curve, almost like an analog way to create curves,' van Gameren enthuses.
This reference was kept firmly in mind through the creative process. Adds the designer:
'Tim and I first saw the model during our study period and because of the Art Nouveau connection, we decided that this could be done again today in a bigger, more sculptural way, like a landscape.'
The idea is clearly successful. Installed in a dimly lit booth within Design Miami, 'Lost Time' is a minimalist, architectural rendition of the Art Nouveau language, which makes Perrier-Jouët's design debut a resounding triumph. The foray into design coincides with the French house becoming the exclusive supplier of all the Champagne that will be imbibed at Art Basel and Design Miami for the next two years to come.
As for the future of the installation, Perrier-Jouët's style director Axelle de Buffévent has a clear idea herself.
'The piece will become part of our collection at Maison Belle Epoque. We have Gallé, Majorelle, Guimard, all the biggest names. It will be displayed in the cellars, as per Sarah and Tim's request. We are currently looking for the right cellar to display it. It's a little tricky; the cellar needs to be big, and they don't have flat ceilngs, but we want to be sure to respect [Studio Glithero's] vision.'
Photography by james harris courtesy of designmiami/