Irish Pavilion at Biennale Architettura
‘The Followers’ is the first prototype for a seating system that is supportive and elitist.Individually the seats of ‘The Followers’ function as foldaway, occasional furniture. Bound together they form an encampment, a temporarily forced collective.
‘The Followers’ was designed and made in collaboration with Renate Henschke for ‘The Everyday Experience’, a group-show curated by the Irish Architecture Foundation at Irish Museum of Modern Art, November 2013 – January 2014.
Early twentieth century Danish designers looked back to colonial campaign (and later camping) furniture. In this they found a design system that they could assimilate and adapt to the northern European modernist ideal of democratic everyday design.
Yet the original intention of campaign furniture served a very different agenda. It had evolved to solve the particular criteria of colonial expansion. Breaking with the convention of dark, heavily ornate household furniture typical of the era, campaign furniture needed to fold for transport and to be light in weight to transport. Circular section timber offered the strongest structural capacity with the lightest volume of material. Leather and canvas panels were ideal as they were light and foldaway yet became strong under the tension of use. The new demountable furniture aided colonial forces as they extended their mission of pillage and patronage, acquiring and maintaining control over growing land masses.
We are friends and we are followers. We are linked-in. We move in google circles. Standing outside of the circular boundary we are reminded of exclusive secret societies and ungenerous elites. Seated facing inward we perceive security, interdependency and introspective support.
Everyday we encounter inherited systems, professions and institutions that are socially biased and unequal. In life our experiences can be defined by which side of this line we find ourselves on.
In a new initiative Irish Museum of Modern Art invited the Irish Architecture Foundation to occupy the Project Spaces at IMMA during the Eileen Gray exhibition, November 2013 – January 2014. The IAF’s activity will comprise of a group show and a series of talks, screenings, happenings, symposia and workshops.
‘The Everyday Experience’ is a group-show of national and international architects, designers, artists, filmmakers and writers that will reveal how much of our experience of the designed or informal built environment is immersed in the everyday. The exhibition contains work by Dominic Stevens (Architect IRL), John Gerrard (Artist IRL) in collaboration with A2 (Architects IRL), Pablo Bronstein (Artist AR), Celine Condorelli (Artist UK), Culturstruction (Design Studio IRL) & Renate Henschke (Fashion and Costume Designer AU), Cristian Manzutto (Film-maker MEX), Tom dePaor (Architect IRL) & Peter Maybury (Artist IRL), Ciarán ÓGaora (Designer IRL), Urban Agency (Architects IRL/DK) & Gregory Dunn (Artist IRL), Alex Milton (Designer UK, based in Dublin) & Suzanne Martin (Designer UK) and Kevin O’Brien (Architect AU), Lisa Cassidy (Writer & Blogger IRL), SET Collective (Architectural Zine IRL), Paul Clarke (Architect IRL/NI) and Conor McCafferty (Curator IRL/NI).
Irish Architecture Foundation
Collaborator Renate Henschke
With thanks to Gearoid Muldowney for his help in making the seating frames.
With thanks to Nathalie Weadick (exhibition curator) and Luis Pedro both of the Irish Architecture Foundation.