Wendell Castle and Rem Koolhaas – Functional Sculpture

Functional Sculpture.

Last fall we blogged about Wendell Castle’s unique wall table #16, 1969, which was on view in Wandering Forms and Works from 1959-1979 at the Aldwich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut.

This table grabbed our imaginations as it evokes the idea of being outside with it’s tree-inspired form and epitomizes civility at the same time as a side table. The idea of living with functional forms that cross the boundaries of traditional furniture and sculpture is enlightening.

We were reminded of this piece upon seeing Rem Koolhaas purched on one of his  “Tools for Life,” which his firm, OMA, designed for Knoll and presented in Milan a couple of weeks ago. The Tools for Life range is based on the idea that furniture should be understood as a high-performance instrument rather than a design statement. This piece is adjustable according to needs of contemporary lifestyles. It’s a screen, a chair, a shelf … I’m not convinced of it’s true efficiency but the idea of objects adapting to the various needs of the user, all-the-while making an artistic statement, is intriguing.

Although these two pieces were conceived to achieve different goals and very different ideals during two very different periods in time, they both open up our minds to conceiving of functional interiors that eschew the heavy  boundaries imposed by traditional furniture.  How exciting!!

Are you inspired by this concept?

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