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New Brajkovic pieces

London’s Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents new pieces from Sebastian Brajkovic’s Lathe series which rotate between the antique and the new.

By Katie Dominy / 11-02-2009

Sebastian Brajkovic’s Lathe series mixes the old and new by combining highly contemporary computer technology with specialised craftsmanship and traditional techniques. The new Lathe pieces are exclusive editions produced for the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, on show in central London from February 5 til March 14 2009.

The Lathe pieces come from Brajkovic’s interest in antique furniture, especially 17th century chairs. Using the component elements of these historic pieces, Brajkovic uses computer techniques to distort and stretch the parts in new ways. Once redesigned on the computer, the pieces are then carefully crafted using techniques of woodcarving, bronze casting and hand embroidering.

Brajkovic says, “they are called ‘Lathe’ because of the apparent rotating effect of the design. In fact the word Lathe comes from the Latin word used to convey the idea of milk being stirred. My very first thought with making this design was actually a practical one. I wanted to create more space on a singular chair by ‘extruding’ the seat’s surface area. This extruding idea came from a Photoshop function where you can pick a row of pixels and extend them as long as you want. This modern computer method aided me to devise new ways of sketching as a contradictory partner in my design process. In this paradoxical sense, using antique forms was the next logical step.”

Lathe I, for example, appears to have been turned on a giant lathe; the seat and back extend around offering up a new, more spacious seating arrangement. Lathe VIII reworks the traditional concept of a loveseat, with two seats and an extended back. The Lathe series of chairs are produced in bronze with hand embroidery that has the appearance of computer-generated steaks of paint.

Brajkovic adds, “My decor is the dreamworld, or actually the world where things happen that won't occur in normal life. In a way I want to say that industrial design is at its end. Nowadays everything that the mind can think up is producible and within reach of the public; so products that tell a typical industrial/economic story of usability and sustainability are to me out of fashion. The user will (in my opinion) ask more of a product than just the beauty of usability or appearance. He/She wants also explanations for things that happen inside our head.” Brajkovic sees the ultimate expression of post industrial design is for people to start making their own furniture again, creating totally individual pieces.

Brajkovic explains that his work is not necessarily concerned with functionality. He nearly didn’t pass his degree at Design Academy Eindhoven, as his tutors felt his wood prototype of these Lathe chairs did not appear sufficiently stable and someone might topple off  - and could he add an extra leg as extra support? Brajkovic stood his ground, and luckily for us, so did the chair, now reworked in sturdy bronze.

For the exhibition, Brajkovic has also created the Lathe Table. Produced in aluminum, the table is quite literally created by being turned on a real lathe, but with the chisel carving aluminum instead of wood. The lathe also polishes as it carves, giving the table a high-shine finish. Brajkovic comments that whereas the chairs can be modified during the production process, the Lathe Table is a direct one step application of the Lathe technique.

Brajkovic graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2006, studying under Gijs Bakker, Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey. Brajkovic lives and works in Amsterdam. In 2008, one of his Lathe pieces was purchased by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for their permanent collection.  

Sebastian Brajkovic, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, February 5 - March 14 2009.

Images courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London

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