The year was 2017. The site, a somewhat bland park in Järfälla, at the edges of Stockholm. The challenge, laid down by curator Felix Burrichter, was to provide seating that would elevate the surroundings into something remarkable. He invited ten design studios to participate, with predictably diverse results; but one stuck out as particularly uncompromising, a decisive punctuation mark for the project as a whole. This was Phillippe Malouin’s Core Stool, a brutalist cylinder of aggregate that seemed (as its title implied) to have been sectioned right out of the urban fabric.
Malouin went on to develop the design for Salon 94, adding a concrete seat to the top, but leaving its essentialist quality intact. The object is a good demonstration of just how far a form can be stripped down without losing its eloquence — a fact also evident in the works seen here by Konstantin Grcic and Faye Toogood. If Malouin’s design speaks of the streetscape, then Grcic’s, with its beautifully executed leather upholstery and subtle, carved-out negative space, evokes a far more luxurious setting. Toogood’s trompe l’oeil seat, meanwhile — made of cast bronze, but painted to masquerade as cardboard and tape — precisely preserves its origin as a tabletop maquette. In their very reductiveness, these objects get right to the heart of their respective makers’ practices. There is nothing extraneous; creative vision is stripped bare.