11.09.2021 – 01.06.2022
Les Ateliers Courbet unveils an exhibition of new designs by London-based designer Bodo Sperlein as part of his Contour collection. The new Contour editions expand upon Sperlein’s ongoing design investigation of sensuous lines and curved silhouettes drawing inspiration from the clean-curved silhouettes of the 20th century Art Nouveau movement. For Sperlein, “The Contour furniture range is a celebration of skills and crafts that push boundaries in creating intricate curves; which only master makers can accomplish, giving the wood and bronze pieces a fluid sculptural appearance, which is reminiscent of the Japanese influences on the Wiener Secession movement.”
Long drawn to Sperlein’s original Contour collection (c. 2009) which included a table, bench, and chair, Courbet encouraged the designer to expand the collection with a new console, chair, and side table which will be unveiled at the exhibition. With this growing body of work, the designer pays homage to the artisanal dexterity of his woodcrafter-collaborators in London. While the wood pieces challenge the material’s ductility, his latest cast bronze iteration emphasizes the consistent visual and tactile sensuality in the designer’s vocabulary as the dual bronze finish highlights the movements and folds of the works.
In developing the bronze editions Sperlein had the opportunity to experiment with a material he had not used previously. Bronze allows for thinner and more refined forms and presents the opportunity to experiment with texture through the process of patination. The skilled artisans in the Prague foundry sand cast the piece to achieve the contrasting polished underside with the exterior’s tactile patina emphasizing the versatility of the material and dexterity of the artisans.
The wood pieces are handcrafted in the UK by British artisans, the pieces are available in wood treated using the traditional Shou Sugi Ban technique. Originated in Japan in the 18th century, Shou Sugi Ban involves charring a wood surface to render it a deep charcoal, with the process imparting the resulting piece, called “yakisugi”, with an undeniable gravitas. The blackening of the wood reveals striking clean, distinct lines and an inherent textural beauty, balanced by the impeccable fluidity of the piece’s mirrored curvature. The pieces are available in a variety of materials including walnut, beechwood treated with the Shou Sugi Ban technique, and select pieces are available in bronze.