“A cloud of pixels” sounds like a Pink Floyd B-side — a dreamy, spacey ballad that turns a wary (yet interested) eye toward invading technology. It’s not.
Instead, it’s a new furniture collection imagined by famed artist Miguel Chevalier and the designers of A+A Cooren Studio: a daring, bold amalgamation of art and design. Recently shown at Paris Design Week, the collection, which is managed by Mobilier National, pushes the envelope with its trippy, imaginative patterns and cutting-edge design concepts, which ask users to (you guessed it) “sit down in a cloud of pixels.”
To achieve this, the creators blended highly pixelated patterns with the pieces’ stylish, detailed lines that for a beautiful contrast that’s somehow both spartan and highly immersive. Miguel Chevalier, himself known as a forward-thinking virtual/digital artist always on the cutting edge of creative design, is the driving force behind the pixellated picture painted by the collection’s bold patterns. Pixels, to him, are the “equivalent of the pictorial touch, the metaphorical image of the quantitative explosion of digital data which compels [us] to find new ways to store the data, to see and analyze the world.”
That the French artist would want to push the boundaries of furniture design to futuristic levels of data interpretation is no surprise. Part social commentary, part work of art, the furniture is meant to be immersive, challenging the users’ perceptions while simultaneously altering them. What’s more, A+A Cooren Studio’s detailed design work and clean, aesthetic lines complement the patterns perfectly, creating a masterpiece of visual trickery that’s meant to be “as elementary as a pixel for it to disappear in favor of the pattern.” In other words, the illusion of being suspended.
The manufacturer of the collection, Mobilier National, is an agency run under the supervision of the French Ministry of Culture. With a storied history all its own, the institution was once responsible for the curation of furniture in the French royal residences. However, though it still administers furniture for the state, it also strives to curate and develop modern furniture collections to adorn official buildings with an eye toward avant garde design and contemporary pieces bearing a unique and distinctive look, such as “dans un nuage de pixels,” i.e. “in a cloud of pixels.”
The collection was originally conceived in 2016 but only recently reached completion. Consisting of armchairs, a sofa, and a savonnerie rug, it has proved to be well worth the wait. Dramatically presented in the Gobelins Chapel at Paris Design Week in a psychedelic setting accentuated by a Chevalier virtual reality projection on the ceiling, the collection’s bold patterns and pixelated mien both draw and challenge the eye. Still, the collection is every bit as functional as it is fabulous, as the rounded shapes of the chairs and sofa were designed with comfort in mind, like a cloud of pixels where the user can get lost, creating a “new way to see and analyze the world” where one can almost hear Pink Floyd playing in the background.