“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple,” George Bernard Shaw once said. “But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” Along those lines, last month, over the course of a one-week workshop, a bunch of young artist-researchers from Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center, designed and built 15 pieces of furniture inspired by the favorite objects selected by the staff of Grand-Hornu Images, in Belgium. The resulting works are notable for the fantastical ways they seem to capture and celebrate the meanings behind the choices.
The coveted objects included everything from an 18th-century silver fork to a wooden aviary and a chandelier. The fork yielded a dining cabinet displaying a collection of 20 ceramic plates pricked with fork marks, representing the many meals in which the fork took part. The aviary, meanwhile, was reincarnated as a hybrid rocking chair-bird swing that invites the user to swing alongside his pet. And the chandelier became four chairs illuminated by a bulb suspended from a wooden arch. The arrangement, the designers say, delivers the comforting presence of light without an elaborate ceiling fixture.