friedman benda exhibits diverse material experimentation with 'under present conditions'

friedman benda exhibits diverse material experimentation with 'under present conditions'

twelve artists show at friedman benda

 

Friedman Benda‘s new exhibition, Under Present Conditions, explores contemporary design’s response to pressing environmental and social issues. The show departs from the typical focus on mass production and instead centers on the exploration of materials and their potential. Twelve artists from across the globe are highlighted, lending a diverse range with each work representing a story of its origins. Rather than sustainability, the theme of ‘responsible consumption’ unites the pieces on display. Designers reimagine the life cycle of materials drawn from their immediate surroundings, so that functional pieces and design objects are crafted from both locally-sourced waste and natural materials.

friedman benda present conditionsinstallation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

 

 

inside ‘under present conditions’

 

With its show, Under Present Conditions, Friedman Benda celebrates artists which address political or systemic issues through their works. For instance, Hamed Ouattara from Burkina Faso challenges disposability by giving new life to discarded objects, especially oil drums. This work sheds light on the unequal global consumption patterns, as the country has been overloaded with this wasted material.

 

Meanwhile, the renowned Brazilian Estúdio Campana similarly reuses waste products, especially cotton rope, to demonstrate the power of simple solutions and craftsmanship in transforming this material. British designer Max Lamb showcases the potential of recycled cardboard, pushing its structural limits and elevating a commonly disregarded material.

 

Studio Raw Material, based in India, connects with the regional landscape along with its local community’s material culture, which centers around the stone industry. The team’s work features puzzled compositions of stacked marble offcuts discarded by nearby quarries. Of course, Mexican designer Fernando Laposse challenges the socio-economic impact of the avocado industry by finding new uses for avocado waste (see designboom’s interview with Laposse during his solo show here).

friedman benda present conditions
installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

 

 

Friedman Benda’s exhibition Under Present Conditions also explores how designers are embracing technology to unlock hidden properties within materials. British designer Paul Cocksedge challenges traditional production methods and our dependence on fossil fuels. His work ’20 Trees’ (2023) shows an assemblage of glittering Anthracite, a type of coal. The title refers to the estimated number of trees it would take to offset the carbon emissions produced if the anthracite in the sculpture were burned

 

Dutch designer Joris Laarman blends the boundaries between design and science, using computational techniques to create nature-inspired forms. With the newly completed Ply Loop Chair, Laarman demonstrates the first bio-degradable plywood, which is made with a plant-based resin called Plantics.

 

Meanwhile, Chilean studio gt2P (Great Things to People) blends parametric methodology with a deep appreciation for local materials and landscapes — its ‘Remolten’ pieces are created with volcanic lava drippings, which seem to ooze down a stoneware substructure.

friedman benda present conditions
installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

 

 

Under Present Conditions spotlights designers who actively engage with natural processes in their work. UK-based studio Full Grown defies traditional manufacturing by employing photosynthesis to create furniture objects, literally growing them rather than building them.

 

Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana harnesses Dead Sea salt to create a unique sculpture that combines natural and industrial elements. A loofah is transformed through a process of salt crystallization, potentially hardening and texturing it. This altered loofah is then displayed within a custom frame made from wood and aluminum — the artwork plays with the contrast between organic and geometric shapes, and the transformation of a common object through a scientific process.

friedman benda present conditions
installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

 

 

Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma highlights the life cycle of flax, challenging its commodification and creating pieces that reflect the agricultural landscapes where the material originates. Marlène Huissoud, a French designer, makes use of natural and often overlooked materials like silkworm cocoons and bee resin to create sculptural pieces that raise ethical questions about humanity’s impact on the environment.

 

By showcasing these diverse practices, Under Present Conditions offers a comprehensive look at how designers are addressing the challenges of our time. The exhibition demonstrates the power of materials to tell their own stories, reflecting the environments from which they come and the human actions that shape them.

friedman benda present conditions
installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

friedman-benda-under-present-conditions-designboom-06a

installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

friedman benda present conditions
installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

friedman-benda-under-present-conditions-designboom-08a

installation view, Under Present Conditions, image © Izzy Leung, courtesy Friedman Benda

 

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Paul Cocksedge, 20 Trees, 2023, Anthracite
Paul Cocksedge, 20 Trees, 2023, Anthracite
Joris Laarman, Ply Loop Chair, 2024, oak, walnut veneer, thermoset bio-resin
Joris Laarman, Ply Loop Chair, 2024, oak, walnut veneer, thermoset bio-resin
Erez Nevi Pana, Bleached (BB.2021.Sep.2), 2021, salt crystallized loofah, wood and aluminum structure
Erez Nevi Pana, Bleached (BB.2021.Sep.2), 2021, salt crystallized loofah, wood and aluminum structure
Estudio Campana, Verde, 1993, stainless-steel, cotton rope
Estudio Campana, Verde, 1993, stainless-steel, cotton rope
Joris Laarman, Symbio Bench, 2024, recycled cast concrete
Joris Laarman, Symbio Bench, 2024, recycled cast concrete
Full Grown, The Goodall Chair, 2021, Salix viminalis (willow)
Full Grown, The Goodall Chair, 2021, Salix viminalis (willow)
Marlene Huissoud, Cocoon Cabinet #2, 2017, silkworm's cocoons, honeybee bio resin, wood
Marlene Huissoud, Cocoon Cabinet #2, 2017, silkworm's cocoons, honeybee bio resin, wood
gt2P (Great Things to People), Remolten N1: Shelf/Screen 10, 2 Components, Mahuanco, Llaima Volcano, January 19th, 2020, stoneware structure, volcanic lava
gt2P (Great Things to People), Remolten N1: Shelf/Screen 10, 2 Components, Mahuanco, Llaima Volcano, January 19th, 2020, stoneware structure, volcanic lava
Fernando Laposse, Avocado Skin Cabinet, 2024, avocado skin marquetry, solid walnut, brass and steel hardware
Fernando Laposse, Avocado Skin Cabinet, 2024, avocado skin marquetry, solid walnut, brass and steel hardware
Hamed Ouattara, Tombouctou II (Timbuktu 2), 2022, engine oil drums, sheet metal
Hamed Ouattara, Tombouctou II (Timbuktu 2), 2022, engine oil drums, sheet metal
Max Lamb, (4) Box Chair, 2023, carboard, wheat paste
Max Lamb, (4) Box Chair, 2023, carboard, wheat paste
Christien Meindertsma, Flax Field, 2019, robot tufted linen yarn
Christien Meindertsma, Flax Field, 2019, robot tufted linen yarn
Studio Raw Material, Khokhar Seat, 2023, dune yellow marble
Studio Raw Material, Khokhar Seat, 2023, dune yellow marble

project info:

 

exhibition title: Under Present Conditions

gallery: Friedman Benda | @friedman_benda

location: 515 W 26th St. New York, NY

on view: May 2nd — June 15th, 2024

photography: © Izzy Leung (installation images)

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