|>soma (usa) 12.03
Shadi Sharokhi, Ronan and Erwan Bouroliec, and Tobias Wong
New York-based Tobias Wong describes himself as a conceptual artist rather than a traditional furniture designer. His artwork explores the irony of consumerism: selling bags of air labeled “dreams” on the street corner for $1, creating Warhol gift wrap that sold for $7,500 to $25,000 per wrap, and creating knock-off Burberry-patterned pins which were later “knocked off” the following year by Burberry and used in their ad campaigns. Staying true to the roots of the avant-garde mentality, Wong’s take on furniture, or forms questions their accepted function to the point of denial.
What inspires or motivates your designs?
Everyday life, of course, just like everyone else.
How do you maintain your creative edge?
This implies some sort of economic competition. I just make works based on what I think is relevant and interesting in culture today.
What should come first - form or function?
Very little of my work to date relies on either. I believe that neither form nor function should be a priority in today’s design process. For me, for now, it’s all about context.
What are some of the challenges facing modern contemporary furniture designers today?
Your past question is a good example of the challenges we must over come. Form or Function? We should move on from that initial method of thinking. They have been explored and milked. We are too tied down to those notions, amongst others, and hence the creative process cannot break into other realms of design possibilities.
How do your creations break the rules of traditional furniture design?
I’m trying to set new rules, or no rules, and eliminate boundaries that are holding us back. And yes, in order to do so, I must break traditional ones. Though this is not to say that we should not continue to use them. It is important that we do or adapt or understand them if we are to expect design to evolve. And unlike most designers, my work is not intended to dictate what I believe design should be, rather demonstrate other possibilities of what design can be. I want my projects to encourage a new way of thinking/approaching design. It’s that simple.
What types of materials do you like to work with?
If I had a choice, it would be diamonds. All diamonds.
What has been your favorite project?
Oeuvre, the activity, the process, one work doesn’t best represent my ideas, they are a set of conjunctions, the dealer/distributor are the adjectives, the space it inhabits is the nouns, and the collector/consumer are the verbs. It makes up a statement, and this is what I am interested in.
How would you describe your style?
The “last avant-garde”? Just kidding. Unfortunately, I really don’t know how to describe my style. I don’t know many people working in this fashion. Hence, there really isn’t a style category I can apply it to. But if you point a gun to my head and force me to say, I will, “conceptual” but ever so quietly.
text by Hilary Latos