We haven’t covered Virgil Abloh-related news all that much here on Core77, but he seems to be creeping his way into our territory more and more these days—from an ongoing footwear collection with Nike to a much anticipated IKEA collaboration. Now, all of a sudden, this is our second piece about Abloh this week. So, please excuse me while I put on my hype hat (probably this one) and lean in.
In addition to his current Figures of Speech exhibition at MCA Chicago, which opened this past Monday, Abloh recently announced his latest collaboration: a small collection of furniture, lighting and home goods with Vitra. Abloh has been quoted saying that, “It’s arguable whether we will even have a need for furniture by 2035,” but just in case, the collection is called—you guessed it—TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE. Here is a look at the collection, which includes glazed ceramic storage blocks, Abloh’s take on Jean Prouvé’s iconic wall lamp design and a plexiglass-encapsulated version of Prouvé’s Antony armchair:
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It’s important to note that Abloh’s work often pays homage to the work of others and is subsequently put under a microscope by the design community for doing so. When asked about the Prouvé references seen throughout this collection, Abloh responded: “I loved the idea of introducing some Prouvé classics to a generation today that might not know the importance of his work.”
My main question in relationship to this collection is: Who is the target audience here? Abloh has a loyal fanbase that is mainly made up of people under 30 years old who can drop a few hundred dollars on sneakers or a hoodie, but likely not €2,489 on a Vitra chair. And if they do decide to partake, the unfortunate truth is that they will buy the €149 ceramic blocks without realizing or caring about Prouvé’s influence on the design process. Abloh and Vitra’s message is noble, but will it get through to an audience that could benefit from some good old fashioned design history?
TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE is currently on view at the Zaha Hadid-designed Fire Station on the Vitra Campus during Art Basel and through to the end of July.