Valentin Loellmann‘s newest collection, ‘m.&mme’, sees wooden and polyester cabinets morph into anemic-looking creatures of some unspoiled netherworld. The German designer sat down with Wonderland to explain how the pieces are analgesic of childhood, family life and innocence.
How did growing up in countryside influence your work?
For me, growing up was more about an atmosphere of creativity, or better: shared creativity. Since my childhood, I have been evolving in a family in which
the arts are practiced daily. This naturally triggered in me the awareness of artistic development. When I was a kid, curiosity, the desire to discover, and a special sensibility regarding my surroundings laid the foundations to my creative spirit and ambition. These qualities kept influencing my work in different contexts and along different states of mind: an experience, a mood or a feeling in relation to my direct surroundings can be the impetus to create.
What, or who, inspired the peculiar concepts behind m.&mme?
Well, for me the question is more like: What could be more living than an emotion? My emotions arise when I find myself confronted with new contexts and individuals, when my environment uncovers deep insights and new perspectives. I have always had an intimate attention for the objects and materials that surround me. This attention is the premise to my inspirations and the creative act that follows. New encounters or the discovery of abandoned places feed my imagination. In the act of artistic creation, I like to think of my pieces as ‘being born’.
What ideas are you playing around with for the next collection?
I have always incorporated the creative understanding of furniture design in my work. However, the site of that incorporation is undergoing evolutions. At the present stage of my creative development, I see the realm of art opening its doors to me. My urge for exploration is enhancing the playful and adventurous touches of my creations. The future collection is not furniture looking like objects, but instead, these pieces will be authentic objects with a reminiscence of furniture.
Why do you like working with Bankirai wood?
The traces of oil and salt water in the Bankirai wood that is used in the ‘m.&mme’ pieces present a nostalgia towards their previous lives as ship planks. In general, I treat materials like living organisms in my work. For example, a piece of wood is not mere material substance. In my creative vision and practice, it represents the opportunity to merge with other elements. Using polyester, I alienate its appearance and surface, as if it has been sculptured. The fusion of the various components stamps the final work piece with its unique character.
Words: Jack Mills