Wood Ring by Chris Kabel
March 21, 2012
There is no shortage of overlap between design and food. Both fields gather materials from the environment and reconfigure them into forms of nourishment, whether for the body, the mind, or perhaps both. And in both areas, our interference with nature can sometimes yield damaging consequences and, in other times, glowing results.
When I came across Chris Kabel’s Wood Ring installation at Paris’s Galerie Kreo, I could not help but draw parallels between Kabel’s elegant wood furniture and the burgeoning artisanal food scene that has upheld farmer’s markets and seasonal ingredients over the imported, the processed, and the mass-produced meal. As Domus explained: “Product quantities and seasonal deadlines are not on the conceptual horizons” for Kabel, who instead concentrates on the “intrinsic qualities” of his chosen materials. More after the break.
To construct this deceptively simple bench requires masterfully removed portions of wood. 100 trapezium-shaped pieces taken from a single monolithic trunk are reassembled and precisely positioned to reproduce the lumber’s natural grain in Kabel’s hollowed, three-meter-diameter circular bench, held together with a metal strap like a wooden barrel. The process is one that inherently “does not consent to the production of a prototype,” as Ivo Bonacorsi pointed out on Domus. Like a perfectly seared fish seasoned with no more than salt and pepper, Wood Ring comes together flawlessly, though its perfect seams discreetly reveal the designer’s profound knowledge and dedicated study of his materials.
Wood Ring was originally designed as a totem of the joining of two major cultural venues. Introduced at an annual event in Kabel’s home town of Rotterdam, the ring-shaped bench not only symbolized the sharing of space between the Witte de With and TENT organizations but also transformed the space into an intimate meeting place for visitors rather than an anonymous seating area. Like a dish that lets its sparse ingredients shine, Kabel’s minimal design unites form and function through a genuine reflection on natural materials.
Wood Ring and other works designed by Kabel will be on view at Galerie Kreo until May 2.
[All images courtesy the designer, via Designboom and Domus]