Topographies by Sten Studio: from the Profundities of Earth to the Faraway Confines of Galaxies

The Mexican based studio presents a series of table, accessories and complements made by minerals, stones and metals

25/05/2022 - At WantedDesign Manhattan 2022 Sten Studio has presented Primal Topographies collection, a series of table, accessories and complements inspired by faraway galaxies.

Sten Studio designs objects and furniture with minerals at their core. As a result, every piece is unique, thanks to the stones’ color, pattern, and texture. The studio's experimentation with rock crystals bridges its passion for geology and industrial design, a previously unchartered path in the world of haute-décor.

The collection presented in New York evokes the depths of inner and outer worlds – from the greatest profundities of Earth to the faraway confines of galaxies known or still to be discovered. As geometry orders the universe –think of the ornate daintiness of beehives, the luring stripes found in magmatic rocks, or the perfect silhouettes of different planets and satellites– we are inspired by its intriguing complexity. Thus, the featured pieces stem from the tension harbored by opposites: they explore symmetrical and asymmetrical forms; their shapes and materials simultaneously create contrast and union.

The vast range of employed materials stresses our admiration for the mineral world and highlights its abounding diversity – limestones that are found in cliffs and quarries, rocks that witness the passing of time as lava and magma turn solid, highly-reflective crystals that are the product of volcanic activity, semi-precious stones that populate the Earth’s crust, or even fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. Through the studio’s intricate manipulation, the material outcome elegantly mimics natural phenomena such as the change of the seasons or astral eclipses, and they bring to the fore the millennial appreciation of these materials by different cultures.

Among the pieces, Honeycomb table stands out, which is a piece made of obsidian and cooper which from an architectural viewpoint, the hexagons that constitute a honeycomb’s structure enable an incredibly efficient spatial distribution as they leave no part unused. Therefore, this table mimics the modular potential of the honeycomb forms, suggesting a design that can continue expanding itself. Thanks to groundbreaking processes such as water-jet cutting, the obsidian hexagons attach themselves to the copper slabs creating patterns distinguished by two colors. As the harmony of beehives emerges from order –every member has a determined place in it, even queens themselves, who are born from equally hexagonal cocoons– this entire layout simultaneously grants solidity and a delicate feeling to the structure, in which its support complements the perfect geometry of its whole system.

The design studio also will launch for the first time a new series of stools inspired in the volcanic shades. Through an abstracted geometric language – a ludic set of variations between squares and circles– these stools seek to establish a millenary connection with Earth itself. Serving as a visual metaphor for volcanoes that, through their craters, open faultlines into the Earth's core, they are made from square-shaped blocks of a variant of lava stone and circles carved out of different kinds of onyx. As those materials originate in a geological time scale, each piece is a time capsule compressing a temporal span alien to human understanding.  While the base material is an actual product of volcanic activity, the color variants of the onyx –Talan Green and Aztec Red– bring to mind the intense viridian tonalities of volcanic crater lakes formed from eruptions, or the crimson lava rivers gently flowing adrift out of the summit. Furthermore, the stools double as a tribute to the Mexican territory and its volcanic belt region, home to active and dormant entities and several lakes of a shared origin.

Moreover, Sten Studio is presenting another new series of wall installations called Sprawling Galaxies. Galaxies are systems where stars, dust, and dark matter are gravitationally bound. Usually classified by their visual appearance, these systems are conformed by cosmic bodies of distinctly vivid colors, which create a scenic landscape with the most varied hues and patterns. This circular installation creates a fictional, sprawling galaxy in which its spheric- carved semi-precious stones (labradorite, pyrite, kabamba jasper, black opal, rhodolite, dendritic white agate, obsidian, selenite, and different sorts of quartz) and petrified wood are arranged in two concentric hoops. Given that the darkest spheres are placed in the inner ring, it proposes an impossible yet alluring stellar configuration. The last piece presented in this project is the Solar Eclipse mirror, a collaboration with FOAM Studio in which the copper and obsidian create a dynamic interplay of light and shadow in this piece in which the former material represents the Sun and, the latter, the Moon. While, as a satellite, this heavenly body can reflect natural light –as in those moments when it remains visible in the celestial panorama during the day– it also absorbs artificial light, generating a singular block in the composition when observed in the dark. As a result, this piece evokes both potential states. The contraposition of the materials is highlighted by LED lights that, once turned on, offer a unique view of the piece, and its impossibility of a complete darkening reminds us that solar eclipses can only be seen from specific parts of the Earth at a time.

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