From 16th September, visitors to Gallery FUMI’s newly extended Mayfair space will find an array of exceptional works such as: a 6 foot high carved wooden sculpture, painted with abstractions of the human body and functioning as a lamp; a wunderkammer in woven Japanese paper and Finnish wood; a silver table centre coated in a biomimetic version of bone; a console covered in 70-year-old roof shingles.
This is what happens when creatives collide, even if the collision occurs across thousands of miles and by digital means.
Earlier this year, Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo, FUMI’s co-founders, invited the gallery’s designers and artists to form collaborative pairs. Over WhatsApp and Zoom, these freshly formed units started to meld their ideas. “The need for exchange and being in touch with people in other places, via a shared project, is such a wonderful prospect,” says Tina Roeder, who creates her explorations into archetypes and façades in her Berlin studio, and has teamed up with Francesco Perini, in Tuscany. Indeed, never has the idea of collaboration and communication seemed more essential or valuable.
When questioned about their immediate response, some designers admitted to a concern that their unique imprimatur would be eroded by the process, others were simply anxious about the potential loss of autonomy. But more frequently, words like “exciting”, “stimulating” and “energising” tumbled out. “It is clever and timely, and it shows how the gallery functions like a family,” says Emma Witter, who is working with Shinta Nakajima on the silver and bone tablecentre.
Out of these unique fusions of talent, incredible ideas have emerged, in total defiance of the physical separation of the makers. It is proof, if any were needed, of the power of the design mind to turn any obstacle into an opportunity.