Saturday, September 20, 2014

Inspiration: Fred Sandback

This week, I took the time to visit the Contemporary Design gallery at the IMA.  This was my first time in the newly expanded gallery and it was great to see the different styles of furniture from the last 60 years.  And while I could take the time in this post to talk about all of the pieces that inspire me, I'm not going to.  I will write about specific pieces in the future, but for now, I want to talk about an artist who has a single piece of sculpture on display at the IMA (there used to be four pieces).  That artist is Fred Sandback.  His sculptures are deceptively simple, being constructed of simple pieces of string that are suspended and stretched throughout a space.

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The beauty of Sandback's art is the ability he has to visually make a three-dimensional object with a minimal number of lines.  These lines are specifically placed to take up a space in a particular way.

Sandback has always been an inspiration to me from an art standpoint.  On this trip to the IMA however, his work spoke to me in terms of furniture design.  A strange corollary? Maybe.  But here's what Sandback's art makes me think: No matter what you are making, and maybe especially if what you're making is furniture, you need to be 100% meaningful in how you use the space.  You need to know how your piece is going to look in a room.  This doesn't mean that you need to design an entire room around your piece of furniture, but you need to be aware of what it might look like by itself or in a group.  You also need to know what your piece is going to look like from every angle.  So, while Sandback's art might not be referential to a specific type of furniture, its use of space is the thing that I am taking away from it.

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