Batten and Kamp’s ‘Shelter to Ground’ was born from a desire to find calm in the contrasts of Hong Kong – a city defined by a tense coexistence of metropolis and jungle. After nearly two years of experiments the couple have launched a family of sculptural chairs, tables, lights and mirrors that express a simple harmony between natural and human-made materials.
At once raw and elegant, the furniture pieces are created by carefully juxtaposing found boulders and stones with glass panels and simple bent sheet metal components. Both physically and metaphorically the untouched stones ground the pieces, serving as anchors for the metal and glass components which form seats, surfaces and lights.
The process for creating the furniture is deliberately laborious and manual. To create each item, the couple first find a boulder in nature, after which they determine the specific dimensions of the corresponding metal and glass pieces, in order for the fabricated components to be in proportional harmony with the natural component.
This process means that every chair, light or table is different from the last. The designers see this as a sort of collaboration with chance – they set the parameters by deciding the general intention of the piece and let nature dictate the final proportions.
“For design, this is an upside-down process. Rather than predetermining form and forcing nature to bend to our will, we find the natural material first and respond to it as gently as possible. It’s a particular kind of minimalism – minimal interference with the existing, rather than minimal visual complexity. We simply want to highlight the beauty that is already there.”
It’s a very physical process and a very physical outcome, both of which are all about connection. These are pieces of furniture, to be used, but their primary function is as tools for contemplation. Like scholar’s rocks, or a work by Lee Ufan, they are intended to help us think or feel more deeply about relationships – to nature, between different materials, places, landscapes, ideas..”
“We wanted the material relationship to be unapologetic but not harsh. Raw and rough stone meets thin hard lines of steel and glass. It is only proportional harmony that keeps that from being a violent clash.”.
Text provided by Designer