Designer Marian Bantjes was recently commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine to design the graphics for a Laser Sailboat for their upcoming exhibition at the Salon del Mobile in Milan later this year.
The result of the collaboration was a striking geometric all-over print, which Bantje's describes as:
I avoided the obvious of working with organic forms to go with the wind, water, etc., and instead work deliberately against those forms. I wanted to make something that was incredibly distinctive in the water, and which would disguise its speed and versatility.
Her inspiration for this approach is attributed to the cubist patterns of WWI & WWII "dazzle" US Naval camouflage, a program few had heard of until this year. This past spring I had the opportunity to see many of the original plans for these vessels at Dazzle Camouflage Collection at the RISD Fleet Library. The collection includes over 50 plans, all with their own unique patterning specially devised for their individual environments. Created by Maurice L. Freedmen (described in all seriousness as the "district camofleur for the 4th district of the U.S. Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation"), the work is an amazing example of pragmatic, functional design. The ships were painted solely as a method of disguise from German U-Boats but are now appreciated as surprising works of art and design.
I love how Bantjes has translated this approach into disguising the Laser's "speed and versatility" through the use of the rigid blocky print, a really beautiful statement of design especially when compared to typical airbrushed boat graphics.
If you happen the be in the market for a laser, one of the world's most popular racing dinghies (there are over 200,000 worldwide), Wallpaper* is producing a limited edition of 12, each for only £10,000!
All images from www.bantjes.com and www.risd.edu.
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The RISD site is also really well done.