Steel rebar, concrete and glass are familiar currency in contemporary China. When Beijing-based architect Sara Bernardi first started working in the country, she used these materials in constructing buildings. Now, with her independent studio practice MICROmacro, Bernardi has created a furniture collection employing the same elements.
The CON-TRADITION collection draws inspiration from traditional Chinese furniture archetypes. Based on the, "apparent contradiction between the essentiality of CONtemporary style and the preciousness of the TRADITIONal Chinese antique style," Bernardi strips away the decorative and reconstitutes the furniture using rebar to draw out familiar shapes.
Concrete and Rebar stools inspired by the ubiquitous street stools.
The presences of these materials in a landscape herald urbanization and development—Bernardi uses this language in her furniture to create a metaphor for modernity. Exposed bulbs in lantern frames, empty screens that serve as decorative room dividers, altar and tea tables with glass tops and concrete "street" stools lose their functionality in their new forms. As she explains, "CON-TRADITION aims to establish a new relation...and a meaningful dialgue between the cultural heriatge and [the] physical emblem." For Bernardi, it seems that by casting aside the materiality of the past, a modern China also stands to lose the susbstance of heritage. What's left behind can only be understood as a skeleton for possibility.
CON-TRADITION by MICROmacro
Chambers Fine Arts Gallery
Red No.1-D, CCD15
Caochangdi Arts District
Now through October 6th