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Art Paris Art Fair 2014: Design

Perfume machines, pigeon feathers and more of our favorite pieces blurring the line between art and design

by Isabelle Doal in Design on 02 April 2014

For the third time in Art Paris Art Fair's brief but compelling history, design was showcased alongside contemporary art; enhancing the intrinsic link and blurred lines between the two entities. Exhibited within the fair's ArtDesign platform, the range of works included several impressive pieces culled from nine of the city's select galleries and institutions. Below are a few highlights from this showcase of artists testing the realm of design and re-contextualizing the meaning of contemporary art.

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London-based Kate MccGwire's feather sculptures (recently displayed in the newly opened Le Royal Monceau Raffles hotel) are truly magical and mysterious. On show at the La Galerie Particuliere booth, the pieces—comprised of pigeon feathers—play on dichotomies. A common bird's feathers become a work of art, and something that appears to belong in a fairytale.

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Parisian gallery L'Eclaireur showcased Italian designer Vincenzo De Cotiis's brand new creations were made specifically for the event. Nine pieces were added to his Progetto Domestico series, for which the designer uses recycled and discarded items. Applying experimental techniques, De Cotiis seeks to keep visible the evidence of his process. Concerned by a piece's touch and feel (as much as, if not more than, its visual impact) the designer often lets that sense lead the project and dictate the outcome—resulting in materials like resin and fiberglass juxtaposed with silver, brass, wood and even film tapes.

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At the Cat-Berro booth, several unique pieces made specially for the occasion by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel illustrated the blend of art, design and function. Othoniel's set of low tables—in cast aluminum and alabaster—feature lamps in Murano glass atop them, plus the artists's trademark pearls.

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French perfumer Barnabé Fillion and Antwerp-based design studio Unfold collaborated to make "The Peddler," a contraption that looks like it's straight out of a laboratory. It is, in fact, a system made up of 3D-printed ceramic tools—including carafes, flasks and various containers—for blending, diluting and diffusing perfumes. The Peddler is a fascinating mix of technology, innovation, design—all with a delightful, playful tinge.

Photos by Isabelle Doal

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