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Degenerate Chair

©François Lauginie

Degenerate Chair, 2012-2013

Daniel Widrig
  • Architect (1980)

Daniel Widrig founded his studio in London in 2009 after several years spent working at Zaha Hadid Architects. His participation in a wide range of projects, including some large- scale ones such as the Istanbul Master Plan in 2006 and the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre in 2007 gave him the capacity to work on different scales and across various disciplines, combining architecture (Duhamel, Saarlouis, 2011), furniture, sculpture and fashion (thanks to his many collaborations with Iris van Herpen). Widrig was recognised early on for his mastery and prospective use of digital tools, earning him to the title of Maya Master (2009). For him, the use of computer simulation procedures is not tied to any desire for precise - formalisation of the living but takes place in the context of an exploration of a visual nature, where experimentation rests on a dialogue between digital and analogue means. Instead of biomimetism, Widrig prefers the tectonic and material complexity made possible by the process of form research, used for instance for the wooden chair Brazil No. 2 (2009), whose structural divisions characterise a highly fluid ensemble. These controlled procedures give shape to the hylemorphic genealogies that integrate a degree of imprecision. Contrary to the optimisation inherent in them, the resulting recursive structures seem to degenerate (De-optimised Chair, 2012); matter combines, swells up or grows thinner to produce mutant artefacts like Grid (2012); it curves and fluctuates to generate the necklaces found in the Kinesis ensemble (2012) – similar to the models created with Iris van Herpen for the Escapism collection (2011), or the sculpture The Art and Science of Supernatural Motion (2013). The Tower Studies examine this same material behaviour on an architectural scale, further blurring the distinction found on a small scale between structure and ornament. Next to his research, Widrig teaches at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL). He is also the recipient of numerous awards (Swiss Arts Award, Feidad Merit Award and Prix de Rome), and his work has been exhibited widely, including at Art Basel, the Gropius Bau Berlin, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Salone del Mobile (Milan, 2013).

Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou