If we asked you about Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese designer behind the clothing brand Comme des Garçons, your mind probably wouldn’t jump straight to furniture. However, with yesterday’s opening of The furniture of Rei Kawakubo, at Gallerie A1043 in Paris, that may be about to change. The exhibition consists of fifteen pieces of furniture produced by the designer which, due to their limited production, have remained largely unknown until now.
The pieces on show were designed as fixtures and fittings for the Comme des Garçon shops as a way for Rei to control the presentation of her clothes and everything surrounding them. “For her everything is connected, the district in which the shop is located, the clothes, the layout and the furniture of course,” stated the gallery, meaning that “her furniture should therefore be considered part of the complete work.”
The collection of furniture ranges from steel angle chairs to double layered tables with Rei designing a total of forty or so pieces. However, just as the designer has stated in the past that she “was not interested in fashion, Rei Kawakubo is not interested in design,” the conventional design concepts of function, form, material and production are not of importance to the designer. Instead she explains her furniture is “a kind of secondary furniture; furniture used in places of transit and that generate an image, an ambiance.”
This collection is largely at odds with the aesthetics that were predominant during the time of its creation between 1983 and 1993, featuring an urban and almost brutal style of galvanised metal and unvarnished wood. The exhibition presenting an “original approach [to furniture design], beyond all convention and without emotion straightforward,” is open until 22 December 2017.
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Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.