TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
By Rachaporn Choochuey
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 open-air seating, with reference to the winged insects found in Thailand’s national parks. Suspended like swings from a structure of locally woven threads, nets, and fabric, an array of Beetle Chair shells create a playground for interaction, characterized by flexibility, relaxation, and fun.
“As an architect, I observe the Beetle as an object that shapes how people behave in a space as they sit. Although it is the same shell, the Beetle Chair offers variation of seating in different spatial and social settings with alterations to the design of the base. We want to take that aspect even further. What if the Beetle did not have legs, or did not use the legs to attach itself to the ground? What if we let it fly? It will be free and adapt itself to any condition, creating even more diverse spatial and social circumstances.”
– Rachaporn Choochuey
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Rachaporn Choochuey received her B.Arch from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok in 1993, her M.S.AAD from Columbia University, New York in 1998 and her PhD from The University of Tokyo in 2002. Currently based in Bangkok, she teaches at the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Architecture, and works as an architect with all(zone) Ltd, the practice she cofounded.
“Rachaporn Choochuey’s design, which often involves an ephemeral sort of architecture with a textile structure, is reflected in the design of a swing. Enveloped by a forest of ropes, it looks like a bag of shopping just bought at the market. Choochuey observes the world around her, absorbs customs and traditions, and resolutely draws them into the world of architecture and design. The Beetle is not trapped – quite the opposite; it flies.”
- 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.