Here's a juicy bit of copy that might sound familiar to perennial 3rings readers, especially come December: "one of very few destinations in London that showcases pioneering design-art, the Carpenters Workshop Gallery extends the boundaries of design by uniting and transcending the contested categories of conceptual/functional and design/art in thought-provoking exhibitions." Swap out the "city on the Thames" for the city (as Lenny Bruce once said) "where neon goes to die," and you have a pitch perfect characterization of Art Basel/Design Miami.
Wrecking Ball Light. Designed by Studio Job.
Small wonder, then, that the same studio that livened things up late last year with their enticing if apocalyptic Industry Table is storming the former venue with their Wrecking Ball Lamp. Very like the piece featured in Miami, the Wrecking Ball Lamp mounts a spirited tribute to everybody's favorite savior/bugaboo from the Bauhaus on down: Industry!
Yes, few other abstract concepts rouse the passions like the age of iron and steel, glass and concrete, and the accompanying sins/virtues (depending on whom you ask) of electricity for the masses, indoor plumbing for all, and high-density populations in vertically-oriented cities--not to mention pollution, greenhouse gases, declining air and water quality, etc. and so forth. Whew! No wonder the Netherlander duo of Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel have produced multiple pieces apropos of the theme. Small wonder, too, that one journalist recently characterized their work as "not only erring on the side of dysfunction, but also distinguished by a distinct dark streak." As regards the Industry Table, the observation is dead on, but the piece on display at the Carpenters Workshop from March 18 - May 8 begs for an exception. SJ is actually showing a pair of lamps at this particular venue--the Wrecking Ball and the Crane--both of which feature nicely detailed solid bronze models of the construction implement in question, hung from whose business end is a modest source of illumination.
Though apparently sprung from the same inspirational spring, the pieces contrast markedly with the Industry Series, whose gloom and doom iconography paints a rather bleak picture of the Industrial Age and its aftermath. Wrecking Ball and Crane, to the contrary, are constituted of one part pure homage (witness the resemblance between the lattice booms of both crane and wrecker to that paragon of Industrial Modernism, the Eiffel Tower); one part whimsy (the way the bulb substitutes for the wrecker ball is a roguish if good natured inversion); and one part nostalgia, since both lamps resemble a rather pedestrian, if exquisitely wrought, child's toy. My guess, however, is that Mom and Dad won't be buying either of these for little Timmy anytime soon. Time will tell if either one will eventually find its way into more rarefied environs--the Guggenheim, perhaps?