Sunday, June 10, 2012

Highlights from Sofia Design Week 2012: Numen/For Use

Would you call it architecture, design, art, or installation? No matter how you classify the work of Numen/For Use, you would most likely say that it's completely awesome. At least that's what I would say. I'm sure if some critic read what I just wrote, they would frown at the word "awesome" and demand a more sophisticate way of saying the same thing, but for us regular bloggers "awesome" would have to do.

Numen/For Use are, or were, mostly known for their furniture design, but I was very impressed by their installations and theater set design. I'll start with the installations, since they have the most "fun factor" and they completely astound with the simple fact that they are done with nothing more than....wait for it....TAPE! Yes, you heard that right - tape!

The Croatian-Austrian design collective makes amazing architecture-like structures from tape, and these structures go on to become fun-filled playgrounds for the young and old alike. I never would have thought to do anything with tape, but here these people are, making architectonic forms out of the material. The fact that tape is elastic and just gradually stretches or bends if it has to carry heavier loads instead of breaking makes it perfect for people roaming the structure, like you can see on the photos below (the photos are all from the Numen/For Use website - no copyright infringement is intended). The photos are from installations done in Melbourne and Frankfurt. I would have loved to play around in installations like these. How great would it have been to have something like this in Sofia?!

Apart from the tape installations, I definitely found Numen/For Use's theater set design very intriguing. You can look at their website for all of their projects, including a set made all of glass and mirrors, but here I'm just going to show you one of their projects, which made a particularly strong impression on me. Again, I think what I was most impressed about was the fact that very simple tools were used to create a very original effect. For a theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Zagreb, Numen/For Use created a set made pretty much entirely out of curtains. They played around with the idea that the curtain is what separates the real world in the theater from the imaginary, fantasy world. Here they cut the red curtain into strips, so that they could achieve a smooth and very magical transition between the real world and the story, as well as between the city and the woods, where all the magic and confusion in the play happens. The curtains turn into magically lit trees, with people and fairy creatures moving in, out, around and above, appearing and disappearing like they are truly a part of a dream. Watch the video below and you'll see what I mean.

Head over to the website to enjoy more projects like these.
All photos in these post feature projects by Numen/For Use and belong to them.

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