TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
LIVING THE HORIZON
By Ximena Muñoz
LIVING THE HORIZON
In the installation ‘Living the Horizon’, lighting designer Ximena Muñoz combines moving images with suspended neonLED lighting. Interpreting the meeting of the Beetle’s seat and the backrest as the line of the horizon, a four meter video projection shows the changing horizon in the Pacific Ocean over a period from March to November 2022, while curved light interacts with the projection and introduces a note of intimacy to the experience.
“The horizon is a visual point that refers us to the place where heaven and earth meet. However, these never actually touch: Earth and sky are spaces that are above one another. We can try to reach the horizon, but it is always moving, always beyond, at an incalculable distance. It shows us an edge, a limit that is always dynamic, infinite. It is where the day begins and ends; it shows us the passage of time, of the seasons.
The horizon attracts us as a place where everything begins and everything ends, from where we see the approaching clouds coming, warning us that the weather will change. There is an up and down, that is clear. The sky is above, the land and the sea are below. But is it really the horizon that unites them? I can try to reach it all my life, but the horizon always moves beyond, where we can never reach.
The Beetle Chair for me is like the top and the bottom of the horizon that come together in an infinite space. There are two shells that open to show us an organic, natural space. The point where the two shells meet is for me like the infinite horizon, which goes beyond human vision.”
– Ximena Muñoz
LIGHTING DESIGNER, CHILE
Designer, architect and educator Ximena Muñoz is the founder of Ciluz, a research center focusing on light and energy. From there, she has brought the community of Spanish-speaking lighting designers closer together through courses, publications, seminars, and interviews from a broad range of perspectives.
“The inspiration for Ximena Muñoz’s project rests in the most ergonomically important part of the Beetle Chair: between seat and backrest. The gentle curve that makes the shell of the seat so comfortable brings with it a new horizon. The imaginary line marking the border between sky and ocean underpins a complex installation in which video art and lighting design merge, enabling viewers to lose themselves in the contemplation of nature.”
- 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.