London-based designer Martino Gamper’s new window displays for Prada play with perspective and showcase the humble corner
BY SOPHIE DAVIES
Inventive designer Martino Gamper has brought sexy back to the simple corner, with a startling new series of window displays for Italian fashion house Prada. Just launched at Prada’s London (Old Bond Street) and Milan flagships, and rolling out globally across the label’s chic stores, ‘Corners’ draws inspiration from ‘perspective, fragments and contrasts between natural materials.’
The graphic window design concept ‘pays homage to the humble corner’, a simple ‘space within a space’ that forms a common thread between all the displays. Each compact, angled-wood set is unique, and designed to evolve with the seasons. We love the dazzling perspectives, and the way ebony and maple wood – with their go-faster grains – bring rich colour and dynamic impact to the party. Fashion-clad mannequins lounge on fitted benches or bestride checkered floors, while accessories perch on raised wooden blocks. Beyond, seductive images of landscapes beckon, from mountains to forests and waterfalls, framed in vertical strips. This is dramatic, eye-catching visual merchandising that makes us want to go window shopping, literally.
Prada has enjoyed a long association with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA, who has designed extreme interiors for its stores, as well as cutting-edge catwalk sets, including a pool-fringed runway for SS 2015. By contrast, Gamper’s windows are understated, but still pull off a surreal coup. 'I wanted to reinterpret wood as a material,' he said, 'to understand how these perspectives, these corners, could be emphasised to the maximum' (see a video interview here). Gamper's long obsession with the psycho-social, emotional aspect of corners has led him to dream up designs specifically for this neglected spatial zone, from seating to lighting, bookshelves and even speakers.
Born in Italy, Gamper’s unusual background saw him start off as an apprentice furniture maker in Merano, before studying sculpture in Vienna and graduating from London’s Royal College of Art under Ron Arad. Occupying a creative space between design and art, he received plaudits for 2014 show ‘Design is a State of Mind’ at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which explored shelving, curating and display, and is currently exhibiting in Turin until 22 February 2015. He also bagged an award for ambitious 2008 project ‘100 Chairs in 100 Days', in which he recrafted fresh chairs from discarded seating.
The Fizz first discovered Gamper in 2002 when he was making one-off custom furniture pieces, salvaged from old materials, for his 'We Make, Remake – Petrified' collaboration with London reclamation store Retrouvius. More recently, we loved his modern update of the bentwood chair, 'Recto Verso', at 2014's 'Super Stimuli' show at Ace Hotel Shoreditch for the London Design Festival. The boy done well…