Bakelite is back with young Belgian producer Tamawa showing at the Maison & Objet fair with two new pieces: ‘Lock’ coat stand designed by Sylvain Willenz and ‘Nevroz’, a project by French artist Yann Lestrat – an unidentifiable squared circle object typically Surrealist in a Belgian manner. Both pieces expand the use of Bakelite into the home, around the ongoing success of Tamawa’s accessories and jewellery collection – on display at Maison & Objet Now ! Hall 7 Stand J2 from 22nd to 26th January 2010

‘Lock’ coat stand by Sylvain Willenz (2010)

In a similar way Sylvain Willenz used rubber to hold bamboo lengths together for “Dr B”, a seat collection in from 2002, “Lock” cleverly used a Bakelite sphere as a structural tie to pull together three rods of ash, casting them into space to compose a one-minute permanent and functional sculpture.

‘Nevroz’ spirit level by Yann Lestrat (2010)

As cryptic as ‘Lock’ is functional, the ‘Nevroz’ spirit level is the work of a man who has rolled through the flat lands of historic nonsense. Yann Lestrat is a French artist whose work is articulated around reflections on notions of psychic, individual and collective balance. Nothing had predestined this piece – created in 2003 – to become part of a range of household objects. Nobody except Hubert Verstraeten, art director for Tamawa, whose appetite for the impossible feeds on the dialectic between the decorative and the functional object and the artwork. From the viewpoint of design, the ‘Nevroz’ spirit level is a mobile sculpture set in precarious balance that will not enable one to find the strict line you’re looking for…

‘Nevroz’ is still at the prototype stage. It will be commercialized in 2010.

Tamawa à Maison & Objet
Now! Design à Vivre
Hall7  Stand J2

Tamawa. Tamawa is a radical style exercise that uses bakelite spheres as a mono material. It is a design story that takes up there where the seminal ‘Hang it all’ by Charles & Ray Eames lifted off in the 50s: coloured balls (the official snooker colour line-up) varying from 112mm to 16 cm in diameter. This is the framed vocabulary that designer Hubert Verstraeten has used to create a range of objects in unlimited conception. After bead jewellery and bodywear, the collection has moved on to accessories and homeware starting with a table lamp by Big Game. ‘Tamawa’ is Japanese for ‘bead on steel ring’, and the young Belgian producer has used the play on words in context to propose an elegant and playful range. Leaving aside the ‘snooker ball’ folklore, bakelite is clearly a pure and profound industrial material whose plastic qualities are not confined to billiard tables. The idea of a game is still there, but the play is formal. Composing infinite combinations – from the semi-precious accessory to furniture – using a small sphere seems so basic.