French design duo M/M (Paris) presented their latest project in Milan during Salone del Mobile. The duo introduces a new functionality to their playful iconography and has created and crafted over 50 alphabets, from literal A-Z series to more visual and ambiguous sets of symbols. In fact, french designers Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag have a fascination with alphabets and signs, a passion they have fostered and developed with dedication since they founded their studio in 1992.
The duo have installed a domestic diorama in the transparent glass tunnel that forms Plusdesign’s via Ventura gallery. It’s a sort of utopian ideal inspired by the living units described by Le Corbusier and Jean Prouvé, says Augustyniak, and it was developed from a collection of objects M/M (Paris) designed for Dior Homme in 2014 for the brand’s advertising and stores.
The French duo, meanwhile, sees the collaboration, entitled ‘M/Maison’, as a natural extension of its graphic and typographic work and hopes to develop an ongoing partnership with the gallery. ‘Plusdesign is a great platform to construct a vision within the world of design or objects and define what is a contemporary object today,’ says Augustyniak.
The pieces from the Dior Homme project include vertical and horizontal room dividers, a lighting system and a dynamic seating composition, but it’s a collection of new objects on show that pull the display together, acting as centrepieces of M/M’s idealised home.
Essentially a series of vanity units, the finished citronniers are compositions of oversized eyes shaped as lemons, installed on a modular metal structure. Blown in Murano by master glass craftsmen, the lemon eyes are combined with smaller foam lemons produced by artist Massimiliano Adami, an expert in the material. The final collection combines semi-industrial and artisanal manufacturing methods that, according to Augustyniak, ‘reflect a contemporary handcrafted approach, but are not nostalgic’.
The citronniers have a kind of organic abandon, a bonkers modularity, something that Augustyniak likes to call ‘the Pinocchio effect’. He explains: ‘It was like Geppetto creating his child; a master crafting a piece of art, then suddenly it gets out of hand and it gets beyond what you were expecting. I think that’s the beauty of any act of creation. Whether it’s an art piece, a design piece, whether it’s a novel, a movie, or whether it’s an alphabet.’