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Blurred lines: Artist Thomas Broomé talks about his Hermès installation

At a fleeting glance, Swedish contemporary artist Thomas Broomé’s new art installation in the window of Hermès Liat Towers looks rather ordinary, with its depiction of an apartment space with bookshelves, stairs and a table. But take a closer look and you’ll notice something intriguing and definitely not run-of-the-mill: Every single item is formed using 3D-printed repetitions of words.

Titled ModernMantra (Hermès Home), the installation showcases Broomé’s specialty in calligrams, where typography is used to create shapes. These words include the names of the objects, or even related text. For instance, the exhibit features Hermès’ signature Pippa folding chair constructed entirely from the word “chair”, while books are made up of names of iconic literary works such as Brave New World and Catch-22. Everything is 3D-printed, creating an immersive experience for the viewer.

Broomé shares more about his ongoing installation and fills us in on which furniture items were the most tedious to produce.

Thomas Broome Hermes
Swedish artist Thomas Broomé is known for creating art works out of calligrams.

Lifestyle Asia (LSA): In a nutshell, what is your window installation about?

Thomas Broomé (TB): It is an unexpected meeting of my world and the world of Hermès — almost like two acquaintances stopping to say “hello”, and suddenly finding themselves engulfed in a stimulating conversation.

LSA: Why did you agree to create this installation for Hermès?

TB: I had a meeting with Natacha Prihnenko, who is in charge of the window exhibitions at Hermès in Paris. When she described how the brand works and its philosophy around its products, I was convinced that we could collaborate on something interesting together. They trusted my vision and basically gave me freedom to develop and make the installation as I saw fit.

ModernMantra Hermes Home_3
The furniture items in Broomé’s installation are constructed entirely out of words.

LSA: Could you tell us more about the creative process behind designing the installation?

TB: I created a 3D model of the window for reference, and then together with interior designer Birger Lipinski, made part of a “home” that could fit into it. I used a drawing of a sunset as a backdrop, and we created large open windows to frame it. I was thinking about a tropical paradise, and the palm trees and sunset reflect that.

LSA: How did you choose which pieces of furniture to depict through calligrams, and did you have any favourites?

TB: I experimented with different constellations of furniture and just went with it, when I saw how they came together in an interesting way. I like Hermès’ Pippa collection of folding furniture. The pieces have such beautiful forms that when they are transformed into text objects, they become almost ethereal in presence.

ModernMantra Hermes Home_10
It’s all about the details.

LSA: What was the most challenging part of the installation?

TB: The small windows, which took a lot of time to finish. I got so maniacal about making everything in the correct scale, which had me breaking a lot of parts since they were small and fragile. I ended up printing hollow furniture, which I reinforced with brass tubing. The bookshelf took a lot of energy as well, since I wanted the titles of the books to fit together perfectly. I also incorporated the books with names of some of my favourite artists. Ideas are my worst enemy, since they often make me do things in a very time-consuming way.

ModernMantra (Hermès Home) will be on display until 7 December, 2016.

Hermès, 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers, Singapore 238881,

Blurred lines: Artist Thomas Broomé talks about his Hermès installation

Sara Yap

Deputy Director, Digital Operations (Asia)

Sara Yap is passionate about all things dining and jewellery, and is constantly seeking out exciting restaurants and glittering trinkets. When she’s not feasting in the name of work, chatting with talented chefs, or daydreaming about coloured diamonds, she’s probably binge-watching the latest Netflix series or indulging in her guilty pleasure — Hollywood celebrity gossip. Sara is a journalism graduate from Nanyang Technological University and her work has appeared in The Business Times Lifestyle and Prestige Singapore magazine.


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