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Fundamental Berlin's Not-So-Ordinary Frames

Playing with shapes and patterned grids to bring glamour to even small passport photos

by Nara Shin
on 14 December 2015

"The inspiration was fishnet tights!" Steve Molloy, co-founder of The Fundamental Group, tells CH about the brand's unique grid frames. "It was about how sometimes a thing becomes more interesting when it has been slightly obscured. Sort of like a real-life Instagram filter. It's that simple really." The Berlin-based architecture studio translates their design skills and passion for mathematics on a much smaller scale with their parallel home and furniture products. Often featuring repeating patterns and inviting touch, this Fundamental Berlin line includes unusual pieces like "Push," a flat-packed copper, brass or steel circle that's hand-formed into a bowl by the new user.

What particularly caught our eye are their not-so-ordinary brass and steel photo frames—some are covered by patterns inspired by the Bavarian flag or Albrecht Dürer, while others (where a moon, triangle or circle has been "cut out") evoke peepholes.

"They are born of a long-running obsession we have here at Fundamental with platonic geometries," says Molloy of the latter. "Our obsession with geometry is really the foundation of our work, and quite hard to explain on an intellectual level. We love math, and particularly the math you find in nature. Platonic geometries are the super-simple, many-sided shapes we all learn about in kindergarten: triangle, square, pentagon and so forth. The circle is a one-sided shape, the moon is two-sided, the triangle is three-sided, and so on... It's just a sort of an idle speculation on the possibilities of these geometries we have all memorized from an early age, really."

The brass and steel plates are made by a family-run etching company just outside of Venice, Italy and are then assembled with the glass and hardboard backing in Germany. We're really enraptured by the origami-like folds found in the Triangle frame and it's curious how the shape frames add a majestic air to even the smallest of photos by revealing just a tiny sliver of information. It's not just the content of the photo that can impress, but how it's displayed and uncovered, Fundmental.Berlin reminds us.

Frames start at €24 and are available from Fundamental Berlin's online shop.

Images courtesy of Fundamental Berlin

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