Working in the derivative can be a tricky thing. Where does mere inspiration end and appropriation begin? In theory and in practice, I find it best to avoid calling on the works of another, but I suppose we are all drawing creative sustenance from the same well.
Considering the visual repetition across the multitude of screens perched throughout our lives, such processes can take root our mind and become unavoidable.
When I work in print, for instance, I automatically conjure up the mental images of my favourite reference journals like Cahiers d'Art or the mood of mid-century American advertising; manipulating objects in my practice always bring to mind the work of Louise Bourgeois.
And so, if this process of derivation is an inevitable one, how then to enact it in an honest, ingenious, and functional way without having the resulting work be a blatant and distasteful copy?
For that, I'd like to present the Afteroom Lounge chair by MENU.
I've been working with the piece in a visual essay on masks & form for the forthcoming print release of Au Courant Vol. 03, using it as both centerpiece and catalyst. As I shot the chair over time in studio, I began to see how and where Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei subtly incorporated design elements from their own inspirations into the resulting chair.
To that end, their Afteroom Lounge tastefully combines the seductive curvature of Michael Thonet’s classic Bentwood Armchair with the stout feel and massive, hugging frame of a Børge Mogensen Spanish Chair. Yet, the final design is it's own thing - utterly modernist, reductive, and extremely distinctive.
Crafted from supple leather - in this instance, a honey-toned cognac - and with a robust steel frame that is more substantial than it looks, the lounge been around since 2014, and I daresay, has since become a veritable modernist design icon.
See more on the form of the Afteroom Lounge Chair, below.
"Yet, the final design is it's own thing - utterly modernist, reductive, and extremely distinctive."
On the Afteroom Lounge Chair, by Menu
Words & Images | Lisa-Marie Harris
In partnership with MENU
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