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With optical illusions and smart uses of materials, designers are playing with the notion of ephemerality to add dynamism and wit to living spaces
A chair caught in mid-melt: It’s hard to tell whether Viennese designer Philipp Aduatz’s chrome Melting Chair is in the process of forming together (like the demonic villain, T-1000, from Terminator 2) or about to pool on the ground like a blob of mercury. The seat is made from a special mirrored coating that is also scratch-resistant (so you can sit on it safely without worrying about scuff marks). philippaduatz.com.
Time told in shadows: Clocks, by their very nature, are in a perpetual state of change. Porro’s Sundial timepiece not only expresses inconstancy with its ever-moving arms; the numbers on its face shift constantly too. The digits are actually cast shadows, so grow and shrink depending on the amount of ambient light. porro.com.
The swirl of a dancer’s skirt: Hive Design’s billowing pendant light is called the Fandango, so named because it captures the energy and flow of a Spanish dancer’s skirt. The gossamer cotton petals, stretched over a supple wire frame, can be twisted and shaped into any desired curve, so the lamp’s appearance is anything but static. designbyhive.com.
From thrift store to art: The Bipolar Pendants by Montreal designer Tat Chao are a playful twist on the idea of ephemerality in design. Not only do his LED lights look a bit like an icicle mid-thaw, they are also made from something highly disposable. Broken, thrift-store wine glasses are sandblasted and attached with a metal band, elevating them from something trash-bound to the level of art. tatchao.com.
Soap sculpture made glass: When famed Swiss architect Peter Zumthor made the first prototypes of his Cruet and Castor set for Alessi, he used glycerin soap. The final five forms – used for salt, pepper, oils and dressings – are cast in a smoky crystal glass, a material that retains the same translucent look of the original transient models. alessi.com.