MARTINO GAMPER LOVES A GOOD JOINT
It’s been 10 years since the Italian-born, London-based designer Martino Gamper created his 100 chairs in 100 Days project, which involved making a chair a day for 100 days using found materials. While much has changed — he’s since presented numerous exhibitions, and worked with Nilufar Gallery, as well as companies such as Dedar, Kvadrat, Moroso, and The Conran Shop — actually, it hasn’t. At the heart of what he does he remains an experimental designer who craves the simple act of making from his Hackney workshop.
At the London Design Festival last month, Gamper presented two projects as part of the Brompton Design District. Firstly: Round Square, an exquisite exercise in good, old-fashioned joinery. A collection of made-to-order furniture, including a dining chair, armchair, table, daybed and coffee table in ash, walnut and desktop linoleum, which highlights its own precise process by exposing, showcasing even, the round and square V-joint that holds each piece together. The result is madly pleasing. “It was something I’ve been interested in for quite a while: to see if I could create a joint that was not just beautiful, a new way of looking at joinery, but also makes sense as an expandable, customizable family to be made in our studio,” Gamper explains.
The V-joint itself, says Gamper, features a double glue surface, which offers stability because of its two planes. “If you have something round against the round, you’ll have no structure, so you create structure. And when you cut at a 45-degree angle, the round part becomes slightly oval, so it’s something quite unexpected.”
Gamper also presented Consequences, a tea set made in collaboration with 11 fellow designers and the British ceramics manufacturer 1882 Ltd. Consequences refers to the parlor game, whereby participants write a line on paper, fold it out of sight then pass it on to the next person. The results? Who knows. That’s the point. It was 1882Ltd boss, Emily Johnson who spotted a previous collaborative pottery project of Gamper’s from last year and thought they could take things further. “We came up with this idea together,” Johnson explains. “The layers were brilliant and that process appealed as I knew it would be a challenge, but a considered one. True to the game of consequences — mad.” Gamper agrees. “We tried to understand how you can make something three-dimensional out of the game,” he offers. “We struggled in the beginning, but then Emily gave us this pot and mugs that she had already, so we engraved into the mould. Each designer worked one after the other, so as not to influence each other’s work.” Does he like how it turned out? “I’m intrigued by the results,” he responds in his trademark understatement.