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  • Literature

    Tom Dixon, et al, eds, &Fork, London, 2007, p. 28, fig. 6 for a similar example
     

  • Catalogue Essay

    Where there’s ‘Smoke’, there was combusted acetylene. Among the hottest burning gasses, it achieves temperatures of 3000° centigrade—a purifying flame. Dutch designer Maarten Baas first played with fire at Design Academy Eindhoven, from which he graduated in 2003. Since then he’s put to his acetylene torch one famous stick of furniture after another: Rietveld chairs, Eames screens, and Noguchi tables, among others. As Prometheus challenged Zeus, Baas challenges the gods of design: he steals their fire, connecting the 20th century’s most individual works through common crucible and charred patinas. Convention withers in the heat, property values too. Rather than let emblematic embers burn, he coats those works with epoxy resin and polyurethane lacquer. Tables are stabilized; chairs re-upholstered; new value accrues (even Prometheus, chained to his rock, suffered fame). The appropriation of iconic works continues in collaboration with Moss, a New York design gallery. Thankfully, fire sustains a chain reaction; Baas burns other less famous furnishings: nameless chests, armchairs, and tables, as with the present lot. The attention shifts from provocation to process and patina, where it belongs. Scorched surfaces, rife with fissures, offer rich landscapes of texture. Beyond superficial considerations, Baas’ outlandish act—burning wealthy wood—reminds us of a fundamental truth: ashes to ashes.

 

80

‘Smoke VNU’ dining table

2007
Charred pre-existing designed table, clear epoxy resin, painted metal.
76 x 245.5 x 98.8 cm (29 7/8 x 96 5/8 x 38 7/8 in)
Produced by the Baas & de Herder studio, The Netherlands. Number one from the edition of five. One edge of table with inset metal lettering ‘BAAS’ and underside signed in marker with ‘Smoke VNU table 1 / 5 Maarten august 07’.

Estimate
£15,000 - 20,000 

Design

28 September 2010
London