The design duo Soft Baroque blur the boundaries between acceptable furniture typologies and conceptual representative objects. Trained in furniture and graphic design respectively, they explore objecthood and the perception of materiality in the age of digital image cultures. Their project Soft/Hard, commissioned by Etage Projects for Design Miami Basel Curio 2016, sees the sensory manipulation of interior design objects like benches and shelves, and the automated value inscription embedded in everyday objects. The surfaces of materials, like exotic wood and granite, are scanned and digitally printed onto silk textiles. This creates an illusion, making silk look like granite, thus merging the opposites of soft and hard, while humorously exploring the critical hierarchy between functionalist and aesthetic objects. In this piece the viewer is confronted with the inability to tell if the object is soft or hard, without touching, thus creating an irresistible urge to touch.
Both Royal College of Art graduates, Saša Štucin and Nicholas Gardner work simultaneously in object design and art. Their London based practice focuses on creating work with conflicting functions and imagery, without abandoning beauty or consumer logic. They are keen to blur the boundaries between acceptable furniture typologies and conceptual representative objects.
Design Miami/Basel, Etage Projects, Soft/Hard, Curio, 2016
About Soft Baroque
Working at the intersection of art and design, Soft Baroque is the collaborative practice of Nicholas Gardner and Saša Štucin, both of whom graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2013. The refined, simplified forms of their works reflect principles of midcentury design, but the pieces also veer toward conceptual territory by evoking the malleability of how objects are seen and mediated today. For the visual system titled New Surface Strategies, the London-based duo produces blue textiles and modernist-style furniture, the latter of which is made of simple plywood forms. The blue functions less as a fixed color and more as a skin on which different textures and patterns can be projected, suggesting that the object is both physical and digital.