During the scant days Marc had free to himself, between two companies and five children, he enjoyed partaking in New York’s thriving art scene. Recently, he had visited the Gagosian Gallery to see Richard Serra’s ongoing exhibit. Diverging from the noise and static of New York’s metropolitan bustle, Marc had found Serra’s artwork to be a refreshing albeit reductive approach to composition. His large-scale installations, currently dotted across multiple buildings in New York’s meat-packing district presented an excellent opportunity to engage his staff in the visual dialogue responsible for the timeless mid-century design of Wobi Chairs. Conceptually, Serra was a process artist much entrenched in the stylistic influences of minimalist sculpture; occupying the space of peers such as Jackson Pollock and John Cage. Visually, however, his work is more akin to the large scale industrial sculptures in the likes of Tony Smith. There was a silent austerity to Serra’s work, one that drew stark contrasts with the raucous and quotidian experience of urban life.
Between the five works on display, Above Below Betwixt Between, Through, Every Which Way, NJ-1 and Silence (for John Cage). Marc was particularly captivated by the piece titled “NJ-1”- a cavernous work composed of massive sheets of raw steel. Its presence afforded a large air conditioned space on the West Side in the heat of summer with high ceilings and hushed security guards. Maneuvering through the 14-foot high installation, Marc noticed the sensuality in the curvaceous walls of textured red metal. A visceral and oddly arousing experience, he mused, contrasting soft lines with harsh metal as he made his way down the industrial womb-like structure. The enveloping walls seemed to contract and expand as he penetrated deeper into its recesses. The exhibit came alive like a breathing organism. The walls at the top drew near at an angle letting in light at varying degrees. And as the skylight of the expansive Chelsea exhibition hall emanated through in a smooth gradient, casting shades of translucent shadow onto the steely bulwark; Marc could not help but be reminded of the caressive form fitting curves on his favorite Wobi chair.
Recollecting the long nights spent in his NoMad offices in situ upon the Robin Lowback, with the textured ribbed leather upholstery, stretched tautly across its glistening frame, grazing his rear; Marc reminisced that, unlike the rugged metal behemoth before him, his Robin had sported a soft leather seat and polished aluminum frame. The vigilant gallery attendants had dissuaded him from stroking his hand across the rusty façade, but even in the muted light, Marc could tell that the Serra piece has a grainy earthen texture to its surface. He had been familiar with the touch of the cool metal armrests on his chair and the Serra piece was obviously not the same. From outside he reckoned, that the strip of metal looked like a colossal brown leather belt folded in on itself. But inside? From inside, the slab of torqued metal formed a stately outline not dissimilar to the gynic contours of his Wobi chair. The creamy undulating form of the NJ-1 suggested a velvety affectation to its touch in spite of the rawness of its medium. An illusion which, subtle but sublime was at the heart of what Marc looked for when curating the line of Wobi office chairs. Inspiration!
(PART 2 IN A SERIES OF 5)
At Wobi Office We are passionate about good design and believe that it makes the world a better place. Architecture, automobiles, touch-screen tablets – good design is beautiful to look at and easy to use. We find inspiration for our line of quality office chairs from a wide variety of sources. We’ve compiled the following series of blog post to muse about our thoughts and inspiration. We hope you enjoy and look forward to your feedback