Rebecca Horn and Studio Glithero, An Unlikely Design Pairing with Shared Sensibilities

Tiffany Lambert
Jun 18, 2014 8:33PM

An unlikely pair of works making their debut at Design Miami/ Basel this week share a few unexpected commonalities. London-based Elisabetta Cipriani presents 12 jewelry pieces by the German artist Rebecca Horn, and Gallery FUMI, also of London, is showing the latest furniture by British-Dutch design duo Studio Glithero. Working in distinct fields and coming from different generations—Horn recently turned 70, the designers behind Studio Glithero are in their early 30s—both bring energy and a performative sensibility to their approach, and push the potential of their respective mediums by capturing simultaneous qualities of fragility, durability, and permanence.

A notable polymath, Horn is well-known for her forays into a variety of creative disciplines, including installation, performance, sculpture, photography, and film. (Some of the artist’s work, including her mechanized sculptures, is currently on view at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York through June 21). For her first collaboration with Elisabetta Cipriani, Horn hooked up with the celebrated Spanish goldsmith Luisa del Valle to source rare stones and shells to create earrings, rings, and necklaces. Using an ancient Etruscan technique, del Valle handcrafted limited editions of these wearable sculptures for Horn’s collection.

Studio Glithero was formed by Sarah van Gameren and Tim Simpson in 2008 after they graduated from the Royal College of Art. Their presentation with Gallery FUMI at Design Miami/ Basel, introduces Laissez–Faire, a console that extends the designers’ “Les French” collection. The series began in 2009 and pays homage to the loose, mockup quality of the prototype by rendering unstable, twig-like forms into solid bronze legs.

Horn and Studio Glithero also seem to share an enthusiasm for mixing metals with materials found in nature. Glithero’s bronze-casting process burns off its original bamboo and string structure to form its base. Horn combined precious metals such as 22-karat yellow gold with extinct mollusk shells called ammonites.

Horn’s exploration of human vulnerability in such a precious medium has conceptual connections to the tensions between a rough sketch and the permanence of bronze seen in Glithero’s new console. These two like-minded pieces certainly hold their own, but with the intriguing dialogues they create, they seem at home, and particularly resonant, in each other’s company.

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Tiffany Lambert