BOND was an exhibition by SIZED in partnership with Dries Van Noten, shown at The Little House in Los Angeles. SIZED interviewed several artists and designers featured in the exhibition including Diego Villarreal, Sophia Moreno-Bunge, Rich Aybar, and Cristina Moreno.
Video by Steven Klein
DIEGO VILLARREAL / VAGUJHELYI HANDCUFFS
Diego Villarreal Vagujhelyi is a photographer and designer from Madrid, Spain residing in New York City. He was one of the artists featured in BOND. This past year, Diego launched, VAGUJHELYI, a space to produce art and design objects. He named it after his mother's maiden name and as an ode to his family’s Hungarian descent. As part of, VAGUJHELYI, Diego designed two white brass sculptural design objects entitled, Handcuffs. We caught up with him to learn more about his process and the themes he explores with these pieces.
Can you tell us a bit about your design process for Handcuffs?
These cuffs come in two versions, both crafted from white brass. The nickel-plated finish is lighter in weight and features a hollow interior, while the heavier version boasts a rougher finish. Each design offers a slightly different aesthetic appeal; some may prefer the robust feel of the heavier cuffs, while others may opt for the light quality of the more reflective version. To fasten the cuffs, two pieces are screwed together, securely holding them in place. If handcuffing someone with their hands in front of them, the right hand is placed in a crossover position over the left hand, aligning with the ergonomic shape of the handcuffs. The two screws are then tightened to securely fasten the cuffs.
What did you feel you wanted to say with Handcuffs?
Handcuffs come as the second piece I created after the 20lb weights. They act as a complementary object to expand within the realm of what I think are items one must have. After producing an exercise object it was obvious for me that the following would have to tackle the world of creating a shared experience. I wanted the Handcuffs to experiment with the idea of being constricted by someone else. Even the action of putting them on is quite a moment as well.
You have documented these Handcuffs with gorgeous photo and video content. Can you tell us a bit about where and when you shot?
What I appreciate about the cuffs is that they are easier to transport [than the 20lb weights]. Therefore, I've been taking them with me wherever I have gone in the past few weeks. I shot some of the images in different settings in Tokyo and Osaka during the sakura season. Some shots were taken in a Hotel in Los Angeles. For the video, I asked my friends Steven Klein and Matt Vandy if they could help create a tutorial. We were on Steven’s farm and they were doing construction so they had a lot of sand, plus it had stormed the night before, so that sand turned into mud, and I like how you can see that on Steven’s index finger while he is screwing the cuffs together. I thought it was the perfect setting and timing.
SOPHIA MORENO-BUNGE / ISA ISA
"Various stems of curly allium become obscured into one, inspired by the small holes along the side of the vase that hold them." - Sophia Moreno-Brunge
BOND was inspired by the Japanese art of Ikebana, and Sophia Moreno-Bunge was the exhibition's floral designer. She is the founder of ISA ISA, a Los Angeles based floral design studio, which utilizes seasonal, often local and foraged flowers, branches, pods, and fruits to create emotive, weird, and wonderfully inspired environments.
Hi Sophia, can you please introduce yourself?
I am a floral designer and artist based in Los Angeles. ISA ISA, the name of my floral company is named after my two Argentine grandmother’s – both Isabels. My work is inspired by my upbringing in both Los Angeles and Argentina.
When did you begin working with flowers?
I began working with flowers in 2012. I was living in New York City, working for a sculptor, missing nature and wanting to work with it in some way. I found a very special sculptor-turned-florist who calls herself a “butcher of flowers, “ and learned everything I could from her. We worked very seasonally; I really enjoyed learning the language of each season, and loved that I began seeing and understanding the world through these changing and temporal cycles.
What's your typical creative process?
It really depends on the project. I am often working in different spaces and figuring out the story of the space and the plant materials, and how they interact and engage – often through textures, colors, and shapes. I am very inspired by my seasonal surroundings whenever I am working. Often, the materials guide my inspiration, and while they are meant to complement to the space, they often also really stand out – highlighting the materials we use.
How did your approach differ for this exhibition?
The work I created for this exhibition was less about the materials, and is focused more precisely on the meeting of the material and the objects – much more so than usual. The approach and the result felt more subtle.
Were there been any takeaways - lessons or methods learned?
I found that for this project, less was more; I brought in graphic materials we see everyday in LA - palms, dry palm husks, dry cucumber vine pods; the dry materials became another texture, relating in color and feel to some of the other pieces in the exhibition. My favorite moments are the ones that really play with the objects and our perception.
I was amused by the way a giant palm, resting horizontally across a large bowl, is able to hold itself up precariously with its frond petals. The overall visual gesture feels sharp and casual, but the mechanics beyond that are quite delicate – it could fall flat at any moment; I like this juxtaposition. I like that the graphic nature of the palm becomes softer by resting it instead of using it upright in a vase.
RICHARD AYBAR / R.A. WORKSHOP
Sculptor and furniture designer Richard Aybar, the creative force behind RA Workshop, masterfully engages with materiality in his evocative creations. Born in New York City in 1983, Aybar explored his passion for romance literature at Wesleyan University before founding his studio in 2019. His piece, Dock Vase, was featured in BOND.
Can you tell us a bit about Dock Vase?
I had been working on an urn. The idea of dusty human cremains in a rubbery urn seemed like an appropriate necrogenic handshake. Stacking the urns created in my mind an abstraction of a mausoleum. In this case, the mausoleum will hold cut flowers, a beautifully decadent reminder of our own mortality.
Is polyurethane your preferred medium?
What inspired your distinctive style?
Rubber, with its myriad of forms and functions, when applied to art and design, assumes distinctly Baroque tropes as a dynamic, decadent, and duplicitous substance.
Rubber’s ubiquitous presence in our daily lives is closely associated with the inorganic world and technological innovations that define our modern era, I strive to explore the possibility of ascribing beauty to this material which is largely under regarded in design.
Are there any new materials or methods you’re hoping to explore in the future?
Other organic detritus.
CRISTINA MORENO / ŌMBIA
Ōmbia is a ceramic sculpture and design studio by Cristina Moreno, whose side table, Cleo, was featured in BOND. The name Ōmbia and its roots originate from Colombia, where Moreno is from. Her approach to furniture design is centered around celebrating the organic and the imperfect, creating pieces that embody the beauty of handcrafted design.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you began designing?
From an early age, I found joy in sketching and exploring different artistic mediums. Growing up in Colombia, I developed a deep appreciation for artisanal work, which slowly led me into art and design. As I grew older, my fascination with aesthetics, the visual world, and creativity depended. I studied fashion and textile design, and then went on to working as a footwear designer. Even though I loved every single one of these experiences, none of them ever clicked, until I discovered clay and started working with my hands. I believe all of these moments have been very influential in my work today.
How has your design style evolved?
It has been a very organic process. I definitely think one thing has naturally led to the next by letting it be. Naivety has played a big roll in this. I try not to put too much pressure around my design style and just put in out there, and let it mold on its own. I guess it’s very similar to my sculpture process.
Can you tell us a bit about your process for Cleo in BOND?
It has always been about letting the process inform the result. The Cleo table is directly linked to this. No top or leg is ever the same, as they are meant to just fall as they are placed. The top is a big block of clay that is pressed by a roller and whatever comes out is what stays. I’ve always been drawn to imperfections, especially in objects. I love that a leg is a bit crooked, or that the edges are rough. There’s a different energy the object holds when you notice these things; there’s a sense of relatability to the imperfect.
Do you have a preferred medium these days?
Clay will always be my favorite medium. It was what made me fall in love with the process of sculpting. But right now I have been working a lot with mixed media and testing some new materials out. This part is always exciting.
Are there any new materials or methods you’re hoping to explore in the future?
I would unrealistically love to explore them all! But right now I am very intrigued by metal and different new finishes that could be created. Hopefully I get some time soon to play around with these ideas.