dedece showroom installation - melbourne 2012



String Theory was a temporary installation in the dedece furniture showroom on Flinders Lane in Melbourne's Central Business District. The project explored the potentials of string and line as mediums that can be used in the geometric manifestation of illusionistic spatial experiences.

Initially, precedents of ruled surface constructions were examined. These ranged from the mathematical models of the nineteenth century to Gaudi's explorations of the hyperbole of revolution and Naum Gabo's early modernist sculptural expressions through to the contemporary installation work of artists such as Anne Lindberg and Gabriel Dawe. The understanding of these scientific and artistic reference points triggered a series of investigations that involved the construction of three dimensional models and virtual renderings.

In moving between the real and the virtual forms of modelling and the testing of ideas and principles in scales ranging from 1:20 to full sized prototypes, a system for the manipulation of geometric string constructions was developed. Ultimately the works were realised in transluscent coloured lengths of monofilament fishing line that were tensioned using a system of clear elastic ties connected to hooks mounted in base and top plates.

The final works responded to the aesthetics of a number of furniture and lighting pieces in the dedece range. The window facades on each raised platform of the showroom featured the design of two distinctly different brands, Knoll and Tom Dixon. The string constructions sought to reflect the nature of the furniture pieces displayed and in doing so create an environment for them to inhabit within the showroom.

The Knoll range, featured works of classic modernism from mid-century designers such as Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner and Eero Saarinen. These works are defined by a clarity of concept and lightness of construction, employing ordered geometric form with elegant sweeping curves. The string installation proposals for the Knoll pieces emulated the symmetrical calmness of the furniture in a subtle and quite manner. The resultant effects of the compositions acting as complimentary partners to the furniture, framing and wrapping the pieces within delicate webs of gossamer lines.

The Tom Dixon pieces express an eclectic contemporary energy within their use of material and form. The Void light, Jack stool/light and Peg stand’s morphology lies between functional object and sculptural form. They act as exuberant exclamations within a space, challenging the nature of furniture and it’s role in interior environments. The string installation proposals for the Tom Dixon pieces matched the dynamic eccentricities of the furniture. The line works were composed as independent elements that establish a formal relationship with the furniture pieces. Through their definitive forms and plays with perceived density, the string constructions took on their own sculptural identity.

Ultimately, two of the six proposed constructions were realised; for Tom Dixon's Void lights and Knoll's Diamond Chair. The finished works proved to be stunning sculptural environments that the products inhabited. They served to both compliment and elevate the appreciation of the products on display. The monofilament constructions achieved a synthesis of form and spatial concerns and succeeded in invoking an otherworldly ephemerality within the showroom, as the play of light upon the filament constructions continually altered their apparent physicality.



Tom Dixon Void Lights installation
Tom Dixon String Theory development
Knoll String Theory development
Knoll Harry Bertoia Diamond Chair installation


DESIGN TEAM: Ross McLeod + Valaya Smith + Freya Robinson + Yasmin Dall + Brerencie Mazounie + Steven Sundjaja + Jessica Franto Fong