Lost in translation

For most of us, Pictionary is the height of our attempts to draw from verbal phrases and then translate those images back into words again. But an exhibition at new London space The Gopher Hole has explored how visual to verbal translation forms interesting outcomes from iconic designs.

Versioned 250lc Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe / Sam Jacob / Henry Lim / Minh Van
Versioned 250lc Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe / Sam Jacob / Henry Lim / Minh Van

Versioned EA 117 by Charles and Ray Eames / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Lionel Eid
Versioned EA 117 by Charles and Ray Eames / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Lionel Eid

Five iconic chairs, by designers such as Ron Arad, Charles and Ray Eames, Michael Thonet, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, were first translated into a textural description that described the physical attributes of the chairs as accurately as possible.

Versioned Thonet No. 14 Chair by Micheal Thonet / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Kit Bencharongkul
Versioned Thonet No. 14 Chair by Micheal Thonet / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Kit Bencharongkul

Versioned Tom Vac by Ron Arad / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Akhil Bakhda
Versioned Tom Vac by Ron Arad / Sam Jacob / Lionel Eid / Akhil Bakhda

From these descriptions a group of people drew from the text without referring to an image of the original chair. These sketches were then turned into 3D models and manufactured using rapid prototyping. The final outcomes are beautifully surreal mistranslations of the original, some of which, like the Ron Arad translation above, are partly true to their iconic chair, and others, like the Le Corbusier LC2 below, are completely unrecognisable.

Versioned Le Corbusier LC2, Le Corbusier / Pierre Jeanneret / Charlotte Perriand / Sam Jacob / Insoo Hwang / Wataru Sawada
Versioned Le Corbusier LC2, by Le Corbusier / Pierre Jeanneret / Charlotte Perriand / Sam Jacob / Insoo Hwang / Wataru Sawada

Versioned Chairs runs at The Gopher Hole,
350-354 Old Street, London EC1V until 13 February 2011.

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