Under the umbrella of the VDF x Sight Unseen collaboration, designer Simon Johns is unveiling a collection of furniture and homeware from his studio in the Appalachian mountains, which mirrors the unique materiality of his surroundings.
The four-piece Outcrop collection features two tables, a mirror and a bar, each of which embodies the contradictory qualities of rock as being organic yet structural, solid yet fragile.
“Sedimentary stone has its own imperfect structural system, outside the norms of rigid construction,” says Johns. “To me, it inspires a sweet spot between organic forms and geometry.”
The Ledge dry bar, for example, is modelled after the crumbling facades of cliff formations.
Made from blackened ash, the monolithic cabinet clings to the wall, with an artificial crack down the centre suggesting where its doors can be opened.
Angular chunks of bleached ash are arranged to frame the sand-cast aluminium base of the Dolomite coffee table. This jagged assemblage is designed to mimic outcrops of sedimentary stone jutting out from the ground.
The Hex diamond table is more pared-back take on the same theme, featuring simple white oak slabs that are asymmetric and yet neatly organised around its aluminium base.
As the only homeware piece in the collection, the Fracture mirror features shards of glass interspersed with cement protrusions.
The facetted surface of these gypsum strips is a reference to the structured way that stones break under impact.
“I try to illustrate a conversation between the fabricated and the elemental,” explained Johns.
He describes his process as based largely on trial-and-error, closer to hands-on sculpting rather than rigidly pre-planned design.
Originally trained in fine art, Johns works from his secluded studio in the woods in southern Quebec, Canada.
From here, he creates one-off, limited edition pieces that focus largely on capturing the geology that makes this area unique.
His Outcrop collection is currently on show as part of the Offsite Online showcase by New York design magazine Sight Unseen, which has this year moved to a digital platform due to the pandemic.
VDF x Sight Unseen
Exhibitor: Simon Johns
Project title: Outcrop
Renderings are by Charlotte Taylor and Victor Roussel.
Until 30 June 2020, Dezeen is playing host to Virtual Design Festival – the world’s first online design festival.
Sight Unseen covers design and visual arts as well as curating exhibitions such as the annual Sight Unseen Offsite showcase.
The VDF x Sight Unseen collaboration presents projects by 51 international designers as an extension of this year’s digital version of the showcase, called Offsite Online.