Collaborations often bring out a new facet of design that lies concealed from a creator’s individual lens. The beauty of synergy resides in this process of revelation that paints new horizons of possibilities, evolution, and experimentation. One such partnership that has rendered a new visage to an extant repository is between London-based studio Agglomerati and the Netherlands-based furniture designer, product designer and artist Maria Tyakina. The studio, founded by Australian designer Sam Henley, embarks on a journey of exploration of Tyakina’s open series titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place (BARAAHP) through the lens of a different materiality. Previously materialised in wood, the series now sports the veining surfaces of reclaimed marble.
Tyakina’s artistic practice revolves around exploring physicality and reimagining perspectives that guide views of everyday objects. Sculptural gestures are characteristic of her work that accentuates form, materiality and spatial relationships. Her repertoire of furniture designs and product designs are underpinned by the relationship between humans and objects and strives to understand how objects mediate a connection to the physical world. Through her semantic exploration, Tyakina amalgamates form and narrative with the inherent qualities of materials and construction techniques used. Agglomerati, a practice that has been on a quest of adding a new material dimension to the collaborating artist’s oeuvre, reiterates the sculptural silhouettes by Tyakina with a new perspective on a time-honoured material: stone.
BARAAHP is a collection that embodies Tyakina’s undying pursuit of balance between fluid and solid forms. Each object takes on a bodily quality evocative of human gestures and postures. The pieces aim to express the intricacies and subtleties of the human experience, weaving together function and expression in a sculptural entity. Previously produced only in wood, the original editions comprise a console, shelf, and two side tables—now recreated using reclaimed Rosso Aurora marble. Originally from the quarries of Estremoz, Portugal, the marble, which lay dormant for 40 years, is sourced through a sustainability project by Leleni Studio, who are repurposing over 2000 square metres of marble from a famous retired Catalan stonemason. Leleni Studio, founded by Charlie Paddick and Alessandra Monarcha, is dedicated to facilitating reuse in architecture and design, collaborating to create sustainable design that stands the test of time.
The choice of material, more specifically how it is sourced, brings into the picture an important discourse in sustainability: salvaged material. Reclaimed or salvaged material, owing to its lower environmental impact and endless opportunity for creativity, is gaining momentum as a protagonist for practices. In this case, reclaimed marble offers an eclectic mix of flesh-soft pinks and clean white plains, which enhances the body-like qualities of Tyakina’s series, while adding a new layer to her ongoing investigation. The collaboration between Agglomerati and Tyakina, with the support of Leleni Studio, opens up new perspectives to the values of repurposing materials through the creation of refined collectable designs.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place meshes multiple facets of a design process: the impact of synergy, the timelessness of materials such as stone, and the value of waste in conversations surrounding sustainability. Agglomerati stays true to its name, Italian for ‘to mass together’ or ‘collection of things,’ by working exclusively in stone—a composition or ‘agglomeration’ of minerals under immense pressure over the years. This ethos is complemented by Tyakina’s innovative approach to material expression that balances research and the physical process of creation. What ensues this symbiosis is an ensemble of objects where abstraction and functionality meet and converse.
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