London based product designer Ross Lovegrove, who is a pioneer of biomorphic aesthetics, was pleased to receive an invitation to work with Alcantara®. “It’s a very intelligent material and a sincere, durable alternative to animal-based products.” Lovegrove’s resulting installation at the international interiors show is called In-formation and is on view in January.

Ross Lovegrove grew-up close to where, on the 13th of May 1897, Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi first transmitted wireless signals across the open sea (specifically, from Lavernock Point in the Vale of Glamorgan), and thus wrote history. Lovegrove remarks, “It is a unique location in Wales where the deep abstract past meets the deep abstract future. An ancient primordial coastline where you can find beautiful fossils and still look up and see the stone building where Marconi made the very first ever radio broadcast. Being between these polarities has never left me; I remain fascinated by the primordial yet am totally committed to a white, organic future.” These two strong influences are palpable in his work, which focuses on innovation and high technology, combined with a desire for and a love of nature. This installation is no exception, as the Alcantara® material is a high-tech product that comes across as natural.

Rendering of In-formation by Ross Lovegrove with Alcantara® material.
Especially for the IMM fair in Cologne, Lovegrove has chosen to create a large rock formation. “My installation has been inspired by rock strata and deposits in and around Petra in Jordan, which I visited a few years ago as part of the AA [Architectural Association, London] summer school programme. The colours, in unison with the eroded forms and amid incredible crystalline sunlight, are just etched into one’s memory, like giant Tony Cragg sculptures that envelop you. So when I saw the Alcantara® palette, I had an instinctive reaction to create a modern impression of such natural phenomena, because the rich, warm tones are very successful as saturated colours”, says the designer. “I would like visitors to be immersed in the mate- rial and see the piece as a contemporary sculpture generated via the digital process.” To achieve this, Lovegrove worked closely together with Arturo Tedeschi, with whom he also collaborated on his ILABO 3D-printed shoes for United Nude a couple of years ago.

Lovegrove views himself as quite a serious designer. “I consider design a type of philosophy that is trans- formational, and a place where a lot of issues converge.” Further to this, he is working on a number of ongoing projects, like intelligent economic strategies in high-volume production for cosmetics brand KIKO; a new programme for OLED innovation that can transform this new technology into products and typologies which demonstrate its emerging value in the field of lighting and ecology, for LG in Korea; diversification programmes with Aston Martin; and a programme with a Space and Mobility company in the US. He and his team are also designing and preparing a major exhibition at Centre Pompidou entitled CONVERGENCE, opening in the spring. “It will focus on my work in converging science, technology, biology, additive technologies, materials, evolutionary principles, digital software, and anticipatory speculation in design”, and the expo will also be part of the museum’s 40th anniversary celebrations.” •

In-formation: Ross Lovegrove + Alcantara® at imm Cologne, 16-22 January 2017, between halls 3 & 11; Mon 9am – 9pm, Tue-Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 9am – 5pm 

CONVERGENCE is at Centre Pompidou, Paris, April – July 2017.  The new OLED innovations by Ross Lovegrove can be seen in the LG booth at OLED EXPO in Kintex, Korea, 27 – 29 June 2017. 

rock strata and deposits in and around Petra in Jordan, image by Ross Lovegrove
Rock strata in Petra in Jordan which inspired Ross Lovegrove for his In-formation installation with Alcantara®.

IMAGES © Ross Lovegrove