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Martino Gamper’s “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at The Modern Institute

I can think of plenty of designers whose works I’ve never even seen, or those I’ve only seen from afar, either raised on some plinth or sheltered under a vitrine. I’ve had the lucky opportunity, though, to not only see but experience the work of London designer Martino Gamper: walking under his colorful Chair Arch in the courtyard of London’s V&A museum, or digging my feet into the hand-knotted wool Houseplan Carpet he designed for Nilufar gallery in 2009. It’s especially nice to experience a designer like Gamper’s work in person because there’s always the possibility that the piece you’re seeing is the only one of its kind that will ever exist. Gamper has always maintained that he prefers to create either pieces for unlimited production, like his lopsided Arnold Circus stool, or one-offs — with no middle ground between the two.

Most of the work on view at Gamper’s new exhibition, “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at Glasgow’s Modern Institute, falls into the latter category. The majority of the 69 designs created for the exhibition are wholly unique: Moroccan rugs embroidered with Gamper’s own patterns, a metal-framed chair accented by red billiard balls, six teak chairs, carved with fragments of a sentence: “The Ornaments in this house are the friends who frequent it.” And to visit the exhibition is to see an environment that will never be recreated in precisely the same way either — rather than arrange his pieces gallery-style, Gamper has created a simulacrum of a domestic environment, an open-plan space separated by room dividers and furnished with a wood-burning stove, day bed, table, chairs, carpets and lamps. If you’re in the Glasgow area — and we realize that’s a huge if! — we highly recommend you make the time to go. For everyone else, we’ve excerpted some of our favorite items and installation views from the exhibition here. (All images courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photography: Keith Hunter)
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Yellowed Chair
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Installation view, Martino Gamper, ‘Tu Casa, mi Casa’, The Modern Institute, Aird’s Lane, Glasgow, 2013TMI-GAMPM-34493.01
Corner Window Shelving
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Spined appropriated mundus chair
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Installation view, Martino Gamper, ‘Tu Casa, mi Casa’, The Modern Institute, Aird’s Lane, Glasgow, 20138. TMI-GAMPM-34499
Spalla #01
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Pagliaccio Chair
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Cuttings
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Folded While Woven
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Percorino Light #04
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Stone Shelf #02
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Installation view, Martino Gamper, ‘Tu Casa, mi Casa’, The Modern Institute, Aird’s Lane, Glasgow, 20135. TMI-GAMPM-34697
Composizioni wall light