'Extravagantly Unkept', Abi Box

From March 16 to May 16 2018, a group of contemporary artists held a show in the ruins of Lower Ordinance Yard, Casemates, Dockyard. The exhibition was coordinated by James Cooper whose aim was to show non-traditional art in new spaces. Thirteen new works were displayed at the site which forms part of property owned by the National Museum of Bermuda. The large, unconventional space provided the artists with a certain amount of freedom when it came to their pieces and many such as Calyx Smith took the opportunity of incorporating the building itself into their works.

The Now Contemporary Art Experience was sponsored by the National Museum of Bermuda, the  Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Arts Council.

RIMOWA X OFF-WHITE suitcase
Every time we turn around, another OFF-WHITE collaboration turns up. There's no doubt that it's the hottest, most hyped label right now, so you can't really blame designer-of-the-moment DJ and Louis Vuitton's menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh for taking advantage of his popularity. This project with suitcase manufacturer Rimowa which is marking its 120th anniversary is reportedly a study in the emotional connection people have to their belongings and is a commentary on a surveillance culture that is so pervasive our movements are tracked on CCTV and the innocent conversation between two airborne strangers can become fodder for all to view and comment.

Abloh has produced a surreal-looking, hard-sided suitcase which is based on Rimowa's Essential model. The highly TSA-friendly luggage is made from transparent polycarbonate and has black accents on its handles and wheels. The branding on the locks and telescopic handle are unmistakably OFF-WHITE in terms of the lettering and logo. Some thought has been given to shielding those truly intimate items from prying eyes as there is no interior lining: a Flex-Divider system consisting of black bags provide a modicum of privacy. The case features Rimowa's multi-wheel system for optimal manoeuvrability, TSA combination locks and a spare set of wheels in OFF-WHITE's signature orange are included in a transparent amenity case.

The case is available at select Rimowa and OFF-WHITE stores or online.

Animaze by DesignLibero on Island Atelier

This toy-cum-furniture range called Animaze by Ekaterina Shchetina and Libero Rutilo of DesignLibero is a multi-purpose system made of five upholstered animals inside wooden frames. The animals fit together like pieces of a puzzle and can be stacked vertically or horizontally, combined or used individually. Each animal is made up of a curved wooden exoskeleton which houses a soft foam rubber and fabric-covered module. The versatile pieces convert to chairs, console tables, poufs and even a rocking horse and are designed to give children the freedom to play and interact with their natural creativity and environment.

Fox chair by Patric Norguet on Island Atelier

There is a good reason why the  prototype of a chair is a staple in every designer's portfolio. While they remain a design staple, new "classics" are rare, but Patric Norguet has made a good attempt with the Fox chair.

The thin, curved fibreglass reinforced polypropylene shell that forms the seat is set in a profile made of ash wood or steel. This material also comes in a wide spectrum of colours including sand, marsala, smoky blue, white, and black while the wooden components come bleached or in black stain. The resulting silhouette is both pleasing to the eye and comfortable to use. The chairs are stackable for easy storage when not in use.

Overlook on Island Atelier

Perched on top of a hill overlooking Harrington Sound is this impressive example of contemporary Bermudian architecture. The new build is a riff on local homes, the majority of which follow traditional forms and aspects. ‘Overlook' offers panoramic views of the island but its standout feature is the Great Room, with its dramatic cathedral ceiling and A-frame cedar beams. It also has luxurious touches such as marble countertops in the kitchen, an infinity-edge pool, entry courtyard with reflecting pool and expansive wrap around porches. 

‘Overlook' was the winner of a Bermuda Architectural Design Award in 2009.

Straight Lines collection by Elliot Bastianon on Island Atelier

Forget about blurring, in this the time of #metoo we're more concerned with straight ones and it would appear so is Australia-based designer Elliot Bastianon whose Straight Lines furniture collection  launched recently. Consisting of a couch, chair, coffee table and bench, the rectilinear pieces have bold, geometric references and place an emphasis on space created through such forms. The designs use crisp edges and a consistent use of repetition to create a modern appearance. There is a duality of form too such as in the case of upholstered items like the couch where the tactile bulge provides an interesting contrast to the hardness of the piece.

Super Heroic Sneakers by Jason Maydew on Island Atelier
Image | Jason Maydew
There's something about the eye-catching and fun colours of these Super Heroic Sneakers and their overall playfulness that really appeals to us. Rather than being miniature versions of adult sneakers, these shoes have been specifically designed by former Nike global design director Jason Maydew with a child's foot and needs in mind. These include traction on the soles for added grip, a dual-density midsole for shock absorption and support, a rubber outsole for stability and an adjustable strap that does away with the need for laces and moulds the shoe to the foot to ensure feet of differing widths are given optimal support.

A final fun touch: the shoes which are available in three different colour combinations come packaged with a superhero-inspired cape backpack in a tube that makes sound effects when opened.

Soap by Good Thing and Jasper Morrison on Island Atelier

Is this a case of the Emperor and his new clothes? The fragrance-free, pigment-free glycerin bar of soap is a study in minimalism. Launched as part of home accessories company Good Thing's foray into its own brand line of furnishings and accessories, the company wanted to focus on simplifying the relationship between a person when in their most intimate of spaces and so enlisted the input of designer Jasper Morrison on the project. In terms of design, Soap, as it is aptly called, comes as one large bar consisting of four identical segments which can be broken into four smaller pieces. As for its formulation, working out the proper proportions to produce the perfect product proved problematic as the collaborators wished to produce the most "reduced" bar of soap ever.

While on the face of it, the collaboration might seem frivolous, the result is actually pretty aesthetically pleasing.

'Labour Agreement', The Centipede Art Collective on Island Atelier
Image | The Royal Gazette

The Centipede Art Collective which we previously featured here produced a piece of performance art for this year's Bermuda Biennial. Entitled 'Labour Agreement', it was performed by two members of the group Sidney Mello and Michael Walsh who were dressed as blue-collar workers in navy overalls complete with high-vis jackets. The men wielded one broom with two-handles and swept the entrance of City Hall in Hamilton (which building also houses the Bermuda National Gallery where the Biennial is exhibited) for eight hours. The double-handled broom was a metaphor for collaboration, a theme that often runs through the the works of the Collective. The piece can now be viewed as a video installation.

The 2018 Bermuda Biennial runs until January 6, 2019.