Incollect Magazine - Issue 2 Preview

Issue 2 16 wanted to present an array of possibilities offered by not only the Flora material but also other techniques we use at the studio. The effect feels much more sophisticated — and this is the direction we want to pursue in the future. How much do ideas of permanence and impermanence play into your thinking? Marcin Rusak: These ideas form the axis of my studio’s philosophy. We are truly fascinated by these transformations. Scrutinizing the passage of time, we learn to appreciate the changes occurring in the materials we create. While thinking of the perishability and durability of the materials and objects, I like to shed light on the value we bestow unique man-made objects with — and, as mentioned, I treat the owners of my pieces as custodians, who take control over my pieces and look after them, maintaining their form or observing their slow deterioration. Recently you have developed a new production process titled Protoplasting Nature. Can you explain this process and what it entails? Marcin Rusak: Protoplasting Nature is a process that started while I researched the possibilities of building objects and surfaces entirely out of leaves. This is rooted in the vernacular traditions of various tropical cultures, for example in Africa. Initially, we sealed fresh foliage only with resin, for protection. This, implemented in Protoplasting Nature 05 (Wardrobe) and 05 (Chair), revealed a beautiful passage of shades and colors that reflected the natural phenomenons that come with the changes of seasons. The second step was to cover the leaves with resin and then metallize them using a different process of preservation, including a more industrial, hi-tech technique. For the Protoplasting Nature Cabinet 114, presented at the Twenty First Gallery, we built a hand-weld steel structure that was later covered with Thaumatococcus daniellii leaves, extensively used in Africa as a roof-covering but also in cooking. The structure was then covered in bronze. The end result appears as a precious treasure chest. The experience with Protoplasting Nature has led us to the Tephra technique, which we are now developing at the studio, merging artisanal, simple materials such as jute with discarded flowers and precious metals. Where did the idea of using flowers in your work originally come from? Marcin Rusak: It’s a long story that became the foundation for my studio… My maternal grandfather was a flower grower, as were his ancestors. He was a great experimenter, keen to develop new varieties of orchids, carnations, roses, etc. When I was a kid in the 1990s, he decided to close the vast greenhouses surrounding my family home in Warsaw. So I grew up in this void, derelict, post-industrial landscape, smelling of rust, dry air, and decay. This memory came back to me while studying in London at the RCA. There, I embraced my family history and started to experiment with flowers as a material. What role does the studio play for you in the design process — I assume you collaborate with many other craftspeople to realize your ideas? Marcin Rusak: At the moment, my studio consists of 14 people, A custom commission for Dallas-based interior designer Joshua Rice, the Flora Curved Credenza contrasts angular form — the doors and planes of the base, with the gentle, sweeping curves of the back and front edges, as well as contrasting light and dark surfaces.