At Friedman Benda, Faye Toogood Channels Her Spiritual and Earthly Instincts
Since showing her first Assemblage furniture collection back in 2010, British designer Faye Toogood has evolved the series, adding pieces in new materials to each subsequent collection — from sycamore and stone, to resin and steel, to patinated brass and wire mesh, to fiberglass and plaster. Her latest range, Assemblage 5, on show at Friedman Benda in New York in the designer’s first solo U.S. exhibition, is inspired by spiritual objects but bound by her signature balance of elemental materials, invoking a strong sense of ritual and permanence.
Each piece in the new collection is made from one of three materials, chosen to symbolize water, earth, and the moon. Earth is represented by a rich, matte cob composite in a deep red-clay tone; moon is characterized using bronze with a burnished finish of silver nitrate; and water is represented using a fine lithium-barium crystal that alternates between clear polished and satin-frosted surfaces, creating blurred sections that contrast with the clarity and depth of the crystal.
Toogood’s Element Table, a piece which has evolved through all five collections, is realized this time around in two different forms — one “male” and one “female.” These curvaceous shapes look as though they could slot into one another, hinting at the process behind the final product. Toogood has taken the solid, primary forms that were used in earlier collections and inverted them so the legs and tabletop blend seamlessly.
With Assemblage 5, Toogood manipulates her chosen materials into unlikely applications, creating the same forms from both primitive and ultra-modern materials. She challenges the conventions of the materials, recontextualizing them, inviting us to rethink their meanings as well as their possible applications.