Design is often a central element of art, offering the foundation from which to launch creativity. Artist and Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Tadeas Podracky used this philosophy in the creation of his newest pieces, all of which were made to curb the crushing uniformity of mass production.
The “Metamorphosis” collection encompasses three functional art pieces that respectively double as a chair, a table, and a light. Of course, these aren’t your average decor selections. Instead, they represent an artform that involves layering a variety of materials at the moment inspiration strikes. To that end, each piece is also the culmination of materials that were easily accessible during the lockdowns of 2020. Most were common items from around Podracky’s home, including paint, wood, textiles, spare car parts, broken ceramics and sheets of glass, styrofoam, and moss.
Part of Podracky’s technique is to create through destruction, like when he uses a chainsaw to carve irregular patterns into the surface of his new chair. Although he’s obviously passionate about creating unique products, his underlying inspiration is more about what he’s avoiding rather than what he’s producing. More specifically, the Metamorphosis collection is a statement against the mass production and industrial manufacturing that result in unmemorable standardized products.
“Design has rendered our environment impersonable. Living in prefabricated houses that are occupied by mass-produced furniture, where we spend most of the day escaping to virtual worlds,” he explains, adding that “through questioning construction methods, putting emphasis on authenticity and revaluing materials’ ability to reveal character, I propose a new methodology of making — a reformulated approach to design that is based on emotional decisions, unpredictability, and expression.”
Having said that, art isn’t created in a vacuum, and Podracky also readily admits drawing inspiration from famed Dutch artist Gerrit Rietveld and his iconic Red Blue Chair, using a similar shape for his own “Rietveld Chair” frame. Once constructed, Podracky basically deconstructed it with the use of multiple paint and other liquid layers, coupled with moss and polystyrene clumps to form a lopsided and eye-catching texture.
The collection’s lighting piece, dubbed “Growth,” was created by building a support frame that the artist then covered with fabric, wood, and other materials, once again layering it to achieve the final result. Upcycled car headlights illuminate the center. Podracky summarizes the piece by saying: “my aim was to let the object grow through my hands by glueing and combining different elements, like the process of a bird weaving its nest.”
The third piece, titled “Creating Through Destroying,” is an opaque table made from recycled pieces of fragmented glass. Any number of statements could be made about its fragile and unstable look, yet it also supports an additional piece of art: a large blue vase of flowers that’s neither alive nor replicable, since it’s essentially a reassembling of pieces of broken porcelain.
Making a name for himself by combining disparate artistic styles and materials, Tadeas Podracky has won a series of design awards in his career, and his work is on display in multiple venues around the globe.