TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
By Adam Nathaniel Furman
In ‘Scarabesque’, artist and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman has accentuated the form of the Beetle and used color and pattern to transform the chair into a fabulous throne, suggesting new contexts for the design, from the club to a fairytale musical. A fiberglass shell coated in pearlescent paint is fixed to a powdercoated tubular steel base, elevating the artwork to over two meters in height.
“Beetles are incredible creatures, magical and special beings that have been regarded as having spiritual and mystical potency since the most ancient of times, with the Egyptians seeing the scarab as being an earthly embodiment of the sun god Ra.
As the Beetle Chair so beautifully shows, while their carapaces have incredible structural capacity and logic, they are also creatures of extravagant beauty and mystique, with many species having exquisite iridescence – most famously the incredible Jewel Beetle, which glitters and glints in the most fabulous manner.
Taking this glorious fabulousness, the core exuberance of the exhibitionist beetle as our starting point, we transformed the Beetle Chair into a vessel for the elevation of its occupant into the sumptuous and luscious realm of the totally fantastical, a vehicle to carry them away into iridescent dreams, an aesthetic transport that will, for the very briefest of moments, turn them into a Cinderella who has discovered their Beetle Chair transformed into the most magnificent of campy spectacles.”
– Adam Nathaniel Furman
ADAM NATHANIEL FURMAN
ARTIST AND DESIGNER, LONDON
Trained in architecture, Adam Nathaniel Furman is a British artist and designer of Argentine and Japanese heritage based in London. Through Atelier ANF, Furman works in spatial design and art of all scales from video and prints to large public artworks and architectural interventions, alongside products, furniture, interiors, publishing and academia. Furman’s work has been exhibited in London, Paris, New York, Milan, Melbourne, Rome, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Vienna and Basel; is held in the collections of the Design Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Abet Museum, and the Architectural Association.
“Adam Nathaniel Furman’s homage to the Beetle contains echoes of Disney’s Cinderella, of the scarabs of ancient Egypt and the royals who decorated palaces with the iridescent exoskeletons. The change of scale turns the chair into a fairytale throne, a playful jewel of contemporary furniture. Furman breaks the perfect balance achieved by GamFratesi and designs a chair that is brazen, excessive, metamorphic – and pure, unadulterated fun.”
- Marco Sammicheli, curator, TEN: Beyond the Beetle
TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
GUBI SALONE 2023’s landmark exhibition showcases 10 creative responses to a modern design icon.
In ‘Scarabesque’, artist and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman has accentuated the form of the Beetle and used color and pattern to transform the chair into a fabulous throne, suggesting new contexts for the design, from the club to a fairytale musical.
In the ‘Oca Chair’, fashion designer Arthur Arbesser pays homage to the late master of Italian design, Enzo Mari. Arbesser has transformed the seat and backrest of the Beetle into the snapping bill of a goose, while the base references Mari’s cement panettone dispersed all over the Milan cityscape.
FRESHENING UP THE PALACE
‘Freshening Up the Palace’ by visual artist and ceramicist Daphne Christoforou is a hand-crafted amphora decorated with underglaze, decals, overglaze and gold luster. Inspired by Ancient Greek pottery, the vessel depicts a mythical scene in which GamFratesi introduces the Beetle to the gods of Olympus.
REAL BEETLE IN EPOXY
In ‘Real Beetle in Epoxy’, artist Frank Maria reinterprets the Beetle as an archaeological sculpture encrusted with mineral sediments and adorned with original tattoo designs and microlandscapes.
In ‘Metamorfosi’ sound designer Painé Cuadrelli has created an immersive audiovisual installation that turns human soundbites, hard percussion, and natural sounds into a melodic composition that depicts the birth and evolution of the Beetle, from pupa to beautifully developed creature.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEATING
‘A Brief History of Seating’ is a series of ten original ink drawings by graphic designer and illustrator Martin Groch, composing a narrative that positions the Beetle in the context of its most illustrious predecessors, icons of international design.
Creative director Matthew Demarco has produced the exhibition signage to commemorate the Beetle’s anniversary.
Architect Rachaporn Choochuey’s interpretation of the Beetle is inspired by the climate, traditions, and culture of Asia. Her installation, ‘Flying Beetles’, is rooted in the relationship between exterior and interior, and takes inspiration from Thai street culture, markets, and openair seating, with reference to the winged insects found in Thailand’s national parks.
Fashion designer Simon Wick offers up a ‘(di)ssected Beetle’. The deconstructed seat is reassembled with layers of GUBI’s surplus textiles and upholstery offcuts, as well as packaging materials such as cardboard and plastic.