Rolf Sachs: Cabinet of Curiosities

The German Designer Sifts Through His Collection as He Prepares to Move Studio

Photographer Leon Chew ventures into the treasure trove that is German designer Rolf Sachs' London headquarters to shoot the visionary’s favorite collectibles. Sachs has received industry accolades for his furniture and set design, architecture, and interiors projects such as the Ski Club, St Moritz extension. His London studio, Fun c'tion, which is moving just down the road, is filled with his output of chairs, bell jars, and pieces created from resin, stone and wax. Son of renowned playboy Gunter Sachs—famed for wooing Brigitte Bardot by dropping hundreds of roses into her garden from a helicopter—Rolf started out as an investment banker before making the move to design. Celebrating everyday objects by reinterpreting them as humoristic, surreal artifacts, Sachs’ work has been exhibited at Salone del Mobile, Design Miami Basel and the London Design Festival. Here he illuminates some standouts.

"Untitled" wax cast of newspaper stack
This piece is the result of continued experiments in wax casting objects and furniture in a specially formulated wax we developed. Wax is a material I consider to have soul, and its tactility and sculptural quality encourages you to go up-close and investigate the intricate detailing.

"Insepar-able" wooden sledge
The “Insepar-able” is close to my heart as it summarizes and represents my conceptual thinking, childhood memories and humorous approach when I take objects out of the everyday context and challenge people to view them from a new perspective. 

"Meeting Box"
Fortunately all my favorite pieces from the old studio went on the journey with us to our new home… apart from one. Our “Meeting Box” had to stay behind due to its vast size, and all the studio inhabitants, including myself, will miss it dearly. It was the box of many creations, decisions and laughter over the many years at the studio.

"Curiosities" dome lights (unnamed)
This is one of my favorite lights in the Curiosities collection, as the intricate and delicate structure of the guillemot skeleton, combined with the various light sources, creates fascinating and contorted reflections in the mirrored dome. Every time you look you’ll discover new, unexpected shapes.

"Sisyphus" garden spade
I’ve always loved the simple, functional shape of the spade and have an entire collection of garden tools that I don’t use but instead appreciate visually. Through the “addition” of the hole, this spade takes on a new and original aesthetic but is ironically rendered futile as a tool. It was intended as a playful re-interpretation of the “Sisyphean task” in the literal form of an object.

"A B C" Koln chair
My eternal love affair with the Horgenglarus chair, which I coined the “Koln” chair, dates back to my boarding school days. It has always inspired me to play with the simple shape and give it stature by subtlety changing its texture or by adding a twist.

Rolf Sachs' forthcoming exhibition, Herzschuss, opens at Villa Flor, S-chanf, Switzerland, on 2nd August 2012

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