Published on : Monday, July 24, 2017
From September 21 to 24, London Design Fair will present its inaugural Material of the Year installation at Old Truman Brewery – a new initiative intended to explore and celebrate the materials having the biggest impact on the contemporary design world.
For the first edition, the fair has selected a material whose near-limitless versatility has seen an explosion in its use among designers. Jesmonite – the lightweight acrylic-modified gypsum composite first developed in 1984 – has a unique capacity to create an almost endless array of appearances and surface textures – down to the finest level of detail. It can be used in isolation or mixed with other materials to introduce distinct visual effects. This material has formed – or been incorporated into – many of the most vividly colourful and finely detailed products of the last 12 months.
One maker who has been taking advantage of the material’s flexibility is product designer Ariane Prin, founder of PRIN London, who has been working with Jesmonite for the last four years. Her RUST collection of vessels, launched during London Design Festival in 2015, makes use of a combination of Jesmonite and metal dust from key-cutting waste. As the metal oxidises, it lends a unique texture, colour and surface pattern to the vessel, ensuring no two RUST pieces are ever the same.
For the Material of the Year exhibition, London Design Fair has invited PRIN London to push the limits of this technique still further, by creating a site-specific installation that responds to the architecture of the Old Truman Brewery.
Jimmy MacDonald, Founder & Director, London Design Fair, said: “Over the last twelve months, we have most often been surprised to find that Jesmonite has been the medium for some of the most vivid colour displays and fine detail in the products we have been most intrigued by.”
For the installation – its largest to date – PRIN London is developing Rustiles; a series of tiles made from Jesmonite adulterated with metal dust, designed to reflect the dimensions of the classic London brick. Supported by Jesmonite, the studio will spend three months engaged in the design and production of the tiles, working in partnership with Jesmonite-casting specialists Feathercast to make the moulds. Thanks to the effects of oxidisation, each tile will be one of a kind. Together, Rustiles will create an astonishing and unpredictable architectural mosaic of textures and colours that showcases the sheer adaptability of Jesmonite as a surface material – as well as the creative ingenuity of Ariane and her studio.
Alongside PRIN London’s Rustiles installation, various other designers and studios will be showcasing Jesmonite-based products at London Design Fair, including surface designer Katie Gillies and Maison & Objet 2017 Rising Talent Zuza Mengham.