The Belgian designer combines the ancient gemstones with the modern material aluminum
A new example of Functional Sculptures are the furniture pieces of the Belgian designer Pierre De Valck, in which special gemstone varieties are combined with plates of modern metal: on the one hand they fulfill their purpose as everyday objects and therefore belong to product design, but on the other hand they also reach far into the world of sculpture, i.e., they are art.
Pierre de Valck’s works have a special feature: unlike the usual functional sculpture, they do not play with the form of the objects, but with their material. Lapis lazuli, jasper and petrified wood are combined with aluminum plates, which make up the cabinets, and the lamp in the “Pieces with Stone” collection.
Readers already guessed: the gemstones serve only as accents.
So, we had to ask why the designer didn’t use wooden panels instead of the solid ones and cover them only with aluminum. To which we got back an answer from the PR agency: “Furniture objects with a stone of millions of years old deserve a hand crafted cabinet made out of quality durable materials. We believe in cultural sustainability.“
Let’s take a closer look at the objects.
What is original is how the designer at first misleads the user at least that’s how we felt when we looked at the photos: we thought that the stones would serve as handles.
However, the stones are not integrated in the doors at all, but are merely inserted into the aluminum panels of the case behind them. This also explains why the designer can claim that the stones “remain untouched“.
But it’s not only about respect for their age, but also about the role these varieties played in the culture of past centuries. For example: lapis lazuli was often used for altars, and its strong blue color was usually used to represent the sky.
Jasper was used to make pimentos, such as the red for the brightly colored cloth worn on the head of the person in Jan Van Eyck’s painting “Portrait of a Man“.
Pierre De Valck (born 1991), was fascinated by archaeology and collecting historical artifacts since he was a child: “His furniture attempts to harness the power of ancient geological processes in a contemporary bodice. Modern antiquities that allow the rediscovery of an ancestral past.“
Magnets serve to open and close the cabinets. What is surprising about some pieces of furniture is the direction in which the doors open.
In addition to the cabinets in various sizes and shapes, the current collection also includes a floor lamp with quartz crystal. The stones come from all over the world.
The aluminum plates are finished by hand. They are available natural waxed and patinated black: “Due to the manual labor, each piece has a unique cloud-like surface which is subject to color varieties and heterogeneous aging.“
Photos: Cedric Verhelst
(07.06.2021, USA: 06.07.2021)