The Future Perfect is pleased to present Kolho, a collection of furniture by Matthew Day Jackson inspired by NASA’s Project Apollo and a small Finnish town named Kolho, adorned with a “tie-dyed” stoneware dining collection by Laura Seymour. This debut at Casa Perfect will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch which was July 16th 1969 at 9:34am.
Kolho Play is a furniture collaboration between the American artist Matthew Day Jackson, a Finnish furniture company Made By Choice and Formica Group EU. For the presentation at Casa Perfect, Jackson has taken pieces from the Kolho collection and adorned them with inlay of abalone and mother of pearl to create a unique pieces from the line. Displayed alongside the furniture is a sampling of the artist’s work that touches upon the topics of space travel and exploration, and includes other pieces of experimental furniture made in the artist’s studio throughout the years of his practice.
The Kolho line was conceived by serendipitous circumstances, when Jackson visited Finland in 2018 in preparation for his current show at the Serlachius Museum (opened May 2019). While there, Jackson was interested in seeing the Formica® factory located in nearby Kolho, as the laminate material is of special significance to the artist. Those familiar with Jackson’s artistic practice will see this collaboration as inevitable – not just for his long history using Formica® laminate, but also because of the multi-media, immersive nature of his artwork and interest in community engagement often outside the artworld. The stars aligned in route to the factory when Jackson met Niclas Ahlström, Sebastian Jansson and Lasse Laine of Made By Choice, a Finnish furniture design company. These three chance meetings developed into an obsession with creating a dining setting, and Kolho was born.
With Formica, Jackson developed MDJ Kuu with bespoke steel press plates that create a textured laminate at 80 microns in depth that is a scale representation of the surface of the far side of the moon. This texture is derived from images taken from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009, launched in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.
Jackson’s tables and chairs are sculptures that evince dining as theater. They create a space to share and create stories, with a Formica surface that promises to always wipe clean. “In designing this furniture, I was seeking the space between Reason (Apollo) and Chaos (Apollo’s brother Dionysus): the state of PLAY. This is the space where our human animal shows its greatest self,” the artist says. And while the work may formally fall under the umbrella of design, its creator thinks differently. “I don’t see this falling outside of art at all. I think objects tell stories, and we should demand good stories from art and design and it is in this way that I don’t see a difference between sculpture, furniture and ceramics.”
Ceramicist Laura Seymour has created a set of dinnerware inspired by a spiral tie-dyes she made in collaboration with hers and Jackson’s two sons Everett and Flynn, at the same time that Jackson was starting protos for his Kolho line. The element of surprise became the source of joy; the metamorphosis of something quite ordinary such as a plain white t-shirt or plate, to quite brilliant transpires after both processes. The surprise of opening the fabric after dying is not unlike the moment of opening the kiln after the glaze fire. Both processes are thoughtful and deliberate, but the results are ultimately unpredictable and not replicable. There is intention, an order, and a process, but in the end, the results are somewhat left to chance. The irregularities accentuate the handmade uniqueness of each piece.
For Seymour, the mechanical thus meditative process of making multiples represent the order, and chance and irregularity represent the elements of chaos. As the two worked simultaneously, conversations of the history the lunar landing, and the mythologies of Apollo created the foundation where Seymour would create dinnerware to accompany Kolho. To illuminate the presentation, Seymour and Jackson have collaborated in the design of a limited edition pendant light they have named The Eclipse. Made from stoneware and antique brass, the outer surface is an abstraction of far side of the moon, and the interior light is to suggest an eclipse.