ONE OF THE designer Marcin Rusak’s lasting recollections from his childhood in Poland was spending time in his household’s greenhouses. His maternal great-grandfather and grandfather have been flower growers in Warsaw and, though their enterprise shuttered simply earlier than he was born, he usually performed in these deserted, overgrown glass constructions. “I can nonetheless really feel the heat and scent the weeds and micro organism rising there,” he says.
It’s becoming, then, that the 34-year-old has constructed a world following for furnishings and objects that incorporate flowers and crops in sudden methods. A few decade in the past, whereas in his grasp’s program at London’s Royal Faculty of Artwork, he started utilizing discarded blooms from a flower market to create painterly textiles, urgent the petals’ pure pigments onto silk — a metaphorical means of extending their life, at the very least till the colours inevitably pale. “A lot effort goes into the flower business, which is very large and complicated,” he says. “We develop these residing issues that we preserve for 2 weeks, after which they find yourself in a bin.”
Since establishing his studio in London 5 years in the past, he has expanded upon these concepts, most notably with the flower-in-resin furnishings for which he’s now finest identified. His Flora tables, cupboards and wall hangings, sometimes crafted with minimalist metallic bases and frames, characteristic surfaces with dried blooms, leaves and stems, all encased in semitranslucent resin and composed by “instinct,” says Rusak, in a mode that calls to thoughts Dutch nonetheless lifes or East Asian lacquer. Then there are his furniture-like Perma sculptures, created with skinny, cross-sectioned slabs of flower-infused resin that resemble vividly flecked stone. Rusak cuts the segments, in black or milky white resin, into interlocking elements utilizing a CNC milling machine, which leaves bits of uncooked plant uncovered. Over time, some will decompose, crumble and fall away, leaving small voids. “In a way, the piece resides,” he says. “And I need to preserve it this manner.”
IN PART BECAUSE of Brexit, Rusak determined a few years in the past to maneuver his studio to Warsaw, the place he rents three adjoining areas, totaling 5,400 sq. ft, inside an industrial park 10 minutes from the town heart. There, amid prototypes in varied phases of growth, bins and racks are crammed with dried or drying flowers, discarded blooms and plant materials that Rusak sources from varied growers and sellers, together with his mom and sister, who personal a floral design enterprise and store on the town referred to as Mák 1904. As his output continues to broaden — between right here and a manufacturing facility in Rotterdam, the atelier now makes upward of 100 items a 12 months — he has employed 15 or so workers, whereas additionally collaborating with artisans all through Europe, together with metallic staff and glassmakers, who fabricate elements for commissions from personal purchasers, inside designers and galleries equivalent to Sarah Myerscough Gallery in London, Carwan Gallery in Athens and Hauser & Wirth’s Make gallery in Somerset, England.
At Design Miami, opening in December, New York’s Twenty First Gallery will present 4 new Rusak items, all impressed by the work of the Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank. The gallery’s proprietor, Renaud Vuaillat, who says Rusak has “a sort of rock ’n’ roll high quality,” thinks probably the most hanging piece is a cupboard coated in bronze metalized leaves, crafted utilizing a course of through which Rusak creates hand-welded, branchlike frameworks which might be overlaid with damp leaves, sometimes African Thaumatococcus daniellii, chosen for his or her pliability and power. Their texture and veining are preserved within the metalizing course of, which begins with a skinny, protecting coat of resin, adopted by successive layers of molten zinc and bronze or brass usually utilized by Rusak himself, who spends numerous hours inside a ventilated chamber inside his Warsaw studio, outfitted like an astronaut in protecting gear, shelling out liquid metallic from an industrial thermal spray gun that reaches 7,000 levels Fahrenheit. The works reference Artwork Nouveau’s mimicry of foliate kinds — solely, on this case, they’re actually composed of leaves. And whereas the metalizing encases and, in a single sense, preserves the natural matter by giving it sturdy kind, it additionally transforms it.
Such duality is on the coronary heart of Rusak’s apply, significantly with what he calls his Perishable vessels, fashioned utilizing a combination of tree resin, shellac, beeswax, crops, flowers and cooking flour that’s heated and pressed into molds. With their archaic, nearly haunting magnificence, these distinctive objects are supposed to degrade, sag and collapse over time. “These works expose the fragility of nature,” says Brent Dzekciorius, the founding father of the London-based design firm Dzek and a mentor of Rusak’s, who owns a vase from the gathering. “It nonetheless smells … and I like that it’s growing older in parallel with me.”
Rusak has been scaling up this degradable idea, beginning with an outside sculpture commissioned to accompany an exhibition of contemporary Polish artwork and design on the William Morris Gallery in London. On view by early subsequent 12 months, the seven-foot-tall treelike kind shall be coated with a shellac combination that can slowly erode, ultimately revealing a metalized core with flower patterns impressed partly by Morris’s personal Arts and Crafts designs. On the similar time, Rusak continues to pursue his pursuits in botanical engineering and genetics, working with scientists who’re learning the potential for storing knowledge in plant DNA. He just lately acquired an 18th-century neo-Classical villa outdoors Warsaw that he intends to remodel right into a design analysis lab and cultural heart, with areas for exhibitions, artist residencies and academic applications.
It’s this combine — of science and wonder, poetry and private historical past — that defines Rusak’s work and lends it depth. Within the seventeenth century, Dutch flower work not solely demonstrated an artist’s virtuosic talent however reminded viewers of their very own mortality. Right this moment, Rusak’s flower furnishings impart comparable classes. “What I really like about this work is that it’s by no means the identical, and it doesn’t have a restrict,” he says. “It’s an infinite pool for discovery.”