Far from being an exposé of Australian design in China, Elana Castle talks to creative director Lou Weis about the premise behind Broached Commissions’ first exhibition in Beijing.
Broached Commissions is well known for its authentic commitment to producing design objects informed by extensive historical research and finely edited curatorial direction. With a particular leaning towards narrative themes such as globalisation and the resulting question – ‘what happens to design when it migrates?’ – it’s of little surprise that the Melbourne-based design collective was invited to exhibit their collection of applied art and design objects on foreign soil.
The studio are currently hosting an exhibition of their work – Broached Retreat – at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, marking the first design show and the first showing of Australian work at the UCCA. The exhibition includes a mini-retrospective of the group’s first two highly successful collections, “Broached Colonial” and “Broached East,” alongside new works made for the UCCA showing.
Broached Retreat, situates these collections within a new context – a private, gendered pavilion of objects that melds histories of globalisation, colonialism, and material culture with the ‘normal dialogues between a fictional couple’.
“The premise for this exhibition, was to create a ‘room of one’s own’ a space for him and her to escape to,” explains Broached Commissions’s creative director Lou Weis. As a result, the pavilion, designed by Sydney-based designer Chen Lu – consists of a masculine study and a feminine boudoir – two antiquated gendered spaces. “I selected Chen Lu to design the pavilion because we love his design and from a practical perspective Chen does all the windows for Hermès in Australia,” continues Weis. “A skill that is perfect for a gallery show because it requires creating great beauty for the temporary placement of objects.”
The rooms, conceived of a as meditative refuge, feature works that address the notion of our personal experience of private space. A day bed, fashioned by Chen from Max Lamb’s Marmoreal engineered marble for Dzek, sit alongside a weaving by Susan Dimasi of MaterialByProduct and a dressing table by Chen Lu made especially for Broached Retreat.
Additional works include designs by founding Broached Commissions designers Charles Wilson and Trent Jansen as well as Adam Goodrum, Keiji Ashizawa, Azuma Makoto, U-P and Naihan Li.
The exhibition is on from now till 29 August 2014.