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The 'Future Fossils' collection by Simon Johns conveys designs inspired by geology
(L) The 'Grid' shelving from the Future Fossils collection; (C) Canadian designer Simon Johns; (R) The Future Fossils low table
Image: Simon Johns

The 'Future Fossils' collection by Simon Johns conveys designs inspired by geology

Johns' Future Fossils collection utilises natural materials to manifest furniture and lighting designs that loosely reference the sedimentary striations in million years old stone.

by STIRpad
Published on : Jul 05, 2023

Fossils, diverse rock formations, and peculiar geological processes inspire and form the foundation of Canadian designer Simon Johns's sculptural oeuvre. Residing within the secluded and tranquil woods of East Bolton in southern Quebec, Canada, his work is heavily influenced by the specific geology of this environment. Sedimentary rock layers are one of the notable aspects of the woodlands in East Bolton—because of being covered by ancient oceans millions of years ago, rock formations of sandstone, shale, and limestone were naturally produced in this region. The product designer’s new collection titled Future Fossils mimics the materiality of those stones, loosely referencing their sedimentary striations. Johns's aesthetic is also informed by the atypical patterns, textures, and colours of the stones, where he frequently integrates organic accents and natural materials in his designs.

With the Future Fossils collection, Johns examines the benefits and drawbacks of extrusions and voids, as witnessed in slip-cast stoneware and gypsum cement. Remnants of organic elements are expressed in barnacle-shaped lighting designs, as well as furniture pieces that flow like lava, constructed between aluminium grids and mould-like voids resembling those of a bookcase. The design collection comprises furniture pieces including shelves, a low table design, a chair design and a cabinet, along with a wall light. Johns employs materials such as white stoneware, gypsum cement, and hand-polished aluminium to create these lighting and furniture designs that seem like documents celebrating traces of something lost.

Metals, ceramics, and gypsum cement are expertly combined with intricate carvings within Johns's product designs, creating a distinct and alluring visual lexicon underscored by an inherent geological resonance. By manipulating these materials, Johns and his design team attempt a subtle dance of imitation, referencing and mirroring one another, as though reenacting the millennia-long processes that sculpt the layers of sedimentary stone. This technique results in a collection made of skillfully constructed objects that are both practical and poetic in nature.

The Future Fossils collection is a fine illustration of Johns' knack for fusing organic accents and natural materials to create furniture and lighting that evokes a fascination for the past. By merging elements of geological movements, textures, and imperceptible transitions into his works of art and contemporary designs, Johns is able to formulate unique and evocative pieces. Each object represents the beauty and geological history of the Canadian region by capturing the essence of the natural world. Encouraging reflection on Earth's geological wonders, as well as acknowledging the innate beauty that exists within our natural environment through his artistic creations, the furniture designer reminds us of the transforming power of nature as well as its patience, apart from design's capacity to encourage kinship with our surroundings.

Text by Ria Jha

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