For quite some time Virgil Abloh has been fascinated by acqua alta, and specifically the perilous flooding of Venice. This became the point of departure for his new furniture collection.
In this year’s June issue of Wallpaper magazine, Virgil Abloh explained that the flooding served as inspiration for furniture he created specifically for his forthcoming ‘Dysfunctional’ show at the Venice Biennale.
‘Whenever I’m presented with a design project, the first thing I relate to is the context,’ Virgil says. ‘What makes Venice alluring is, obviously, the landscape, which is almost surreal in nature, and faces the reality of periodic flooding. What we see in the exhibition are objects above the surface of the water, but it’s the layer below I find most interesting because it has been reclaimed by the sea, and we can’t get it back.’
The chairs, benches and floor lamp in the Acqua Alta collection stand at topsy-turvy angles as if they may be submerged by rising flood water at any moment.
‘That’s the message of the work,’ Virgil explains. ‘This land is not our land. We’re part of an ecosystem. With growing concerns about climate change, design is a powerful vehicle to explain that message to a broader public. Anyone can understand a chair.’
This is not the first interior collection of the designer. Virgil has a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2016 the designer presented his own furniture collection at the Art Basel Miami Fair. This year his decorative collection for IKEA will be available for purchase.
The exhibition will take place at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in partnership with Lombard Odier in Ca’ d’Oro during this summer’s Venice Biennale. You can also see the exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago from the 10th of June till the 22nd of September.
What are your thoughts on Virgil Abloh’s debut furniture collection? Would you be attending the Venice Biennale?
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Text: Irina Gorskaia