Brandon Washington's Martino Hamper may look like a fugitive from Dr. Frankenstein's menagerie of forgotten K-Mart furniture, but it belies a playful human behavioral dynamic. He pitches it as a reward system for laundry procrastinators, and perhaps the sort of person who would tolerate its aesthetic flaws is exactly the constituency who would benefit from having the object in their home, because it's not much of a chair (laundry chair?) unless you've been slacking on your cleaning duties. That's because the "cushion" doesn't appear until its owner has been remiss in their washing for at least a week, but once you've accumulated a week's worth of smelly socks and crusty jeans, what was previously a void where the seat would be becomes a plush accumulation of layered fabric.
Coming out of Allan Chochinov's Products of Design curriculum at SVA, Brandon has positioned his piece as a the second derivative of DIY: df(DIY)/dy if you will. Of course, the gulf between art project and industrial design is a fluid one, and I suppose the Martino hamper is very much a product of its owner. So while the wooden chair and plastic hamper might read as déclassé, perhaps if the hamper itself had been filled with von Furstenberg tops and Prada leather jackets—let alone Fendi furs—it becomes a different animal, so to speak.
That said, if there's room for a Campana Brothers' stuffed animal sofa at $15k, we at Core77 couldn't help but wonder how to productize this conceptual art piece. Does it demand an all plastic construction, so the chair back mirrors the bin? Should it be high gloss metal with the design cues and ovoid holes of a budget plastic basket. Or could he take it a step further and make the chair back a fold-and-go top, so that the sitter compresses his or her laundry into a portable package? We could also turn the procrastination game on its head, and market to children so that Jr. has to throw his (stuffed) toys into the bin when mommy comes into the room to chat. One of the benefits of using such loose construction as a prototype (ok, conceptual art piece) is that it invites these very questions. Perhaps our readership has answers.
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