Art in Design: Le Petit Defi - as in Bourgeois Lite! / by Shruti Narasimhan

Throwback Thursday #TBT - This is a post Raji wrote in late 2009 for design dossier and it still holds good.

Photo from Guggenheim

A few years ago, the Guggenheim had a fantastic retrospective of some of the most important works of Louise Bourgeois. As you climbed the winding ramps filled with displays, Bourgeois' two dimensional works led up to three dimensional installations. Some were really large ones like the 'cell' which inspired the design of one of my bathrooms. Among them, an installation called 'Le Defi' meaning 'the challenge' (see photo at right) - a blue painted wooden shelving with rows of old collected glass ware lit up here and there - caught my eye. I was drawn to it partly because at that time, I had set up a small group of my own glassware in a corner of my bathroom counter with one of them being a little vintage cut-glass lamp placed in the center. And I thought, this is something I should do, after all I already have most of the things used in that installation. And then, I forgot about it. That is until this summer when I started to ponder and plan the 'Foyer & Galleries' for the CharityWorks GreenHouse.

As I mentioned before, I chose to treat much of the narrow spaces I designed for the CharityWorks GreenHouse like an art gallery. So, besides hanging works on the walls, I also planned a few art installations mostly using salvage and re-purposing things. One of them in the upstairs landing is a light installation, my own version of 'Le Defi' which I call 'Bourgeois lite!' (see photo below), an example of inspired art and a relatively 'small challenge' when it is 'after Bourgeois' Le Defi'. Instead of a shelving cart I used a vintage book stand. My collection of vintage glass ware and small glass lamps are grouped in the two shelves of the book stand. A 1940s French swing arm lamp provides task light for the book opened to read and an industrial typist chair from the 1920s by the English Co, Tan Sad gives you a perch to sit at the landing and become part of the installation itself.

Raji RM & Associates | Interior Designer & Decorator

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