American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

A chair, bookshelf and light bar, based on the idea of reflection

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American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection
27/11/2014 - ‘Narcissism – a fixation with oneself’, derives from the story of Narcissus, the great hunter born from Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool where he eventually died. The Narcissus Collection by KIMXGENSAPA is based on this legend hence is all about reflection, primarily self-reflection.

KIMXGENSAPA’s projects tend begin with a conceptual narrative and develop into everyday objects, such as The Narcissus Collection. For this collection the team commented, “It all started when we thought of an idea of a mirror resting on top of the seat of a chair and you could see the reflection of the seat in the mirror. When we finished designing the chair we were looking for a name and that’s when we came across Caravaggio’s famous painting, ‘Narcissus’. The philosophy of the painting matched our theme of reflection and led us to experiment with the concept of an imaginary mirror and self-reflections in furniture. Although the story of Narcissus comes to a tragic end, we wanted to capture the positive side of self-appreciation and discovering new things about oneself that were never visible. ”

The designers have cleverly given the sense of mirroring in all three of the pieces using only one material, American tulipwood, specially chosen for its colour, texture, lightness and strength. KIMXGENSAPA commented, “This was the first time we worked with American tulipwood – we saw a lot of samples of various species but we loved the character of the tulipwood. It was the best choice for The Narcissus Collection because it is lightweight and has a clean and clear character.” The chair, bookshelf and light bar are so skilfully designed that upon first glance it is hard to tell whether there is a mirror reflecting the objects or a solid structure.

KIMXGENSAPA, originated in 2010, is a team of two young designers based in Novara in Italy, Mun Kim from South Korea and Tsewang Gensapa from India. The team met in 2007 in Milan where they both studied and graduated in Industrial Design at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design). They pride themselves on their attention to detail and their ability to make neat and functional furniture.

American tulipwood (Liriodendron tulipifera)
American tulipwood is one of many emerging American hardwoods that is slowly taking the design industry by storm. It was used in AHEC’s recent project, The Wish List, to make pencil sharpeners for Lord Norman Foster who commented ‘American tulipwood is uniquely pale and the grain has an almost marble like quality – it is intrinsically beautiful.” A medium to fine textured wood, the sapwood is creamy white and may be streaked, with the heartwood varying from pale yellowish brown to olive green. The green colour in the heartwood will tend to darken on exposure to UV light and turn brown. KIMXGENSAPA did a lot of research into which wood to use and chose tulipwood for its colour and texture and the fact it is relatively cheap.
 American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

American tulipwood for The Narcissus Collection

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