If you are not yet acquainted with the designs of upcoming French artist Martin Laforêt, his first-ever solo show is currently being staged at Carpenters Workshop Gallery until 27 March. The Mayfair gallery spotted his work in 2015, the year he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, and has been working with him on this collection for two years. The results are both beautiful and conceptually rigorous.
Laforêt constructs his pieces from wood, concrete, bronze and – in the case of his orange Rubber lamp – rubber, marrying in each instance the mould used to create the work with the cast. In his angular chairs and staggered stacked lights, for example, a wood mould fuses with a concrete cast; and in his elegant console tables, side tables and lights a concrete mould is married with bronze.
The work is immaculately made. For his large MVC2 chair he laboured to create a subtly uneven surface of oak planks (used to construct the seat and backrest) that lend energy to the otherwise minimalist form. The rhythm of slightly raised and lowered wood is then repeated in negative in the concrete that forms the chair’s base. Two nylon straps succinctly bind the halves together.
The concept is made clear in the sculpture Les Amants 1, a piece of two parts, where an anthropomorphic wooden mould, pinned together with wooden dowels, stands facing its concrete cast. The text above the work suggests the intimacy of the relationship between the materials used: “Mould and cast were one, and gathered again, each is the trace of the other.” The wood even bears the stains from the concrete-casting process.
Prices for the pieces range from €9,000 to €16,000, and while those based in mainland Europe and beyond may be unable to view the London exhibition, there will be an opportunity to see – and purchase – some of the work when it goes on show at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery booth at the art and design fair PAD Paris, which takes place from 1 to 5 April at the city’s Tuileries Garden.