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Exhibitions

Virgil Abloh c/o Vitra: US Edition

Launching during Design/Miami – three limited-edition designs.

By Osman Can Yerebakan / 3rd December 2020
Virgil Abloh COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra / PHOTOGRAPH: David Kasnic

Virgil Abloh
COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra / PHOTOGRAPH: David Kasnic

VITRA HAS ANNOUNCED another collaboration with Virgil Abloh, whose Renaissance man approach across design disciplines continues to mark him as the sector’s sought-after name. Altogether titled Virgil Abloh c/o Vitra: US Edition, the three collectible designs include an armchair, a ceramic block with two mini storage units, and a wall lamp. The baby blue-coloured line expands Vitra’s 2019 collaboration with the architect, stroke DJ, sometimes engineer, university lecturer, artist, entrepreneur and creative director of Louis Vuitton who during Art Basel had displayed the same objects in bright orange in the Fire Station on Vitra’s campus in Weil am Rhein. The backdrop in this iteration is a six-day long installation orchestrated during Design Miami/ by the designer’s London-based studio Alaska Alaska, in Miami’s Design District.

Virgil Abloh ℅ Vitra: US Edition COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra / PHOTOGRAPH: Shelby Cooper Photography

Virgil Abloh ℅ Vitra: US Edition: ‘Petite Potence’, 2020; ‘Antony’, 2020; ‘Ceramic Block’, 2020
COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra / PHOTOGRAPH: Shelby Cooper Photography

Chicago-born Abloh’s commitment to bridging the contemporary with the historic is reflected through the project’s main influence, Jean Prouvé. The French designer’s iconic armchair, ‘Antony’, from the 1950s receives a “next generation” make-over with the original’s shell-like curved plywood seat transformed into cloudy frosted plexiglass. In this edition of 150, Prouvé’s dark-coloured metal legs gain a sky-hued lacquer finish in tandem with the update’s overall aerial effect. Lightness is extended to the millennial version of Prouvé’s protruding wall lamp ‘Petit Potence’ from the 1940s. Abloh chose the variously-sized product’s smaller version and switched the regular light bulb for an elongated LED light inside a cage, emphasising its poetic minimalism with the project’s signature blue lacquer for an edition of 150.

Installation view COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra

Installation view
COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra

Abloh’s design vocabulary in fashion, industrial design, architecture, music and fine art fosters the notion of a future freed from distinctions of race, class and gender. Here, his philosophy is best exemplified in the elegant interpretation of a simple industrial block, ‘Ceramic Block’ which comes in an edition of 999. Each identical block is emblazoned with a unique configuration of numbers and functions both as a decorative object and a mini shelf: individual yet equal.

Virgil Abloh, 'Miami Brick', 2020 COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra

Virgil Abloh, ‘Ceramic Block’, 2020
COURTESY: Virgil Abloh & Vitra

Given this year’s limitations on travel, the products are also available to collectors through online design sale platform, Basic Space.

Virgil Abloh c/o Vitra: US Edition is open at 140 NE 39th Street in Miami between 3rd – 7th December 2020, from 11am to 7 pm EST (at a capacity of five visitors at a time).

Basic Space – A place for unique products and experiences from the individuals shaping tomorrow.

Article By

Osman Can Yerebakan
Osman Can Yerebakan is an art writer and curator based in New York