Tuomas Markunpoika, a graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven, pursues in the acclaimed series “Engineering Temporality” an unusual design approach that lends metaphysical content to design beyond function and aesthetics.
For this, the young finnish designer received several awards, including nominations for “Design of the Year 2013” from the London Design Museum and for “3D Talent” at the Cologne Möbelmesse furnishing show.
Markunpoika drew his inspiration for the series “Engineering Temporality” from his grandmother, whose memories were gradually dissolving and fading in the grip of Alzheimer's disease. In Western culture memories are often equated with possessions; they are “kept alive” or “preserved” as if these processes were able to transform them into material items. As soon as objects are associated with memories they take on special emotional value, and are perceived as particularly fragile and worthy of protection as a result.
To realize his ideas, the designer selects pieces of wooden furniture or makes his own; in both cases, the pieces serve as a kind of mould which is enclosed by his fragile creations. The furniture is then encased in thousands of small metal rings, each one a unique irregular piece which the artist creates by sawing small sections from lengths of conventional steel piping before welding them around the outlines of the furniture like chain-mail. In this process, Markunpoika strives to capture the physical memory of the item, while at the same time providing it with a new structure, ring by ring. As soon as the furniture is covered in a semi-transparent layer of rings, it is set alight. The wooden furniture is entirely consumed by the flames, leaving only the exoskeleton of steel rings as a ghostly, friable image.
The limited-edition series of twelve individual pieces creates its impact at a variety of levels; while these delicate steel items are contemporary furnishings, some - like the chandelier - even permitting practical use, they are simultaneously images or mirrors that encapsulates the memory of the past in their physical existence.