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The London creative scene is keeping us on our toes. No sooner than we recovered from the excitements of the 2007 London Design Festival, it was time to get revved up for the London art fairs. We experienced Pulse London and the enormity of Frieze (more to come on that), but we started out at Design Art London, the organizers of which had clearly made a strategic decision to exclude themselves from the Design Festival and jump in with the art crowd.

There have been indicators of the ever-growing appetite for "design art," as we saw with the popularity of Established + Sons show and the Size + Matter Installation, but there is no surer sign of this trend than when the bold Dutch art collective Atelier Van Lieshout roll into town. Having enjoyed great popularity around Europe over the past few years London is finally catching up with AVL's radical work.

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While the Hayward Gallery recently showed an AVL installation and the Albion Gallery represent their art, it is the Carpenters Workshop Gallery that have brought AVL's limited edition furniture to London. Showing at Design Art London and in the CWG space are several pieces that allude to the complex allegorical, utopian and Machiavellian themes that run throughout Joep van Lieshout's work.

The furniture forms are varied, but linked by the running concept of "Slave Cities," which imagines a "futuristic dystopian metropolis." They range from a small welded steel table tracing the map of the Slave City's infrastructure, to an enormous board room-style table called the Urban Plan table, to Bad Furniture, a relatively sleek and functional chair. The deliberate contradiction between AVL's handcrafted, lo-tech approach to furniture design and the industrialized environments it portrays makes their work challenging and intriguing.

We couldn't resist including a few images from AVL's web archive as well. Below, frrom R-L: Mobile Home for Kröller-Müller (aka The Master and Slave Unit), Bonnefanten Cart (designed for museum visits), Uritory (a unisex urinal)

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Atelier Van Lieshout: Furniture
10 October-24 November 2007
Carpenters Workshop Gallery
2 Michael Road
London, SW6 2AD map
tel. + +44 20 7384 2211

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