Costa Rican glass artist and Custom Lane resident Juli Bolaños-Durman has teamed up with French artist and designer Camille Arnould Walachowski of Glasgow-based studio Walac to create a collection of lighting sculptures using salvaged materials that would otherwise have ended up in landfill.
The Isles of Reclaimed Wonderment is the debut collaboration between Juli and Camille, who share an interest in elevating everyday objects through design and making. The series of 12 objects was created for an exhibition called The Future of Home, which was produced by Scottish curatorial studio Local Heroes and is currently being presented at the London Design Festival.
With a mutual admiration of each other’s work as a starting point, Juli and Camille set out to create something that unites their contrasting styles. “Juli’s practice is everything that mine isn’t,” Camille explains, “it’s colourful, super joyful and loud, whereas mine is a bit more muted.” Juli adds that the results of their collaboration clearly display the hands of their makers in the choice of materials and treatments. “When you look at a baby you can see characteristics of the mum and the dad,” she says, “and with this project you can definitely see which parts are Camille and which parts are me.”
The objects combine wooden forms sculpted by Camille in her signature organic style with glass fragments and objects that Juli decorated and fixed together to create expressive compositions. Juli is known for her innovative approach to transforming discarded glass into precious objects using cold-working techniques including hand-cut decorations. In this project, she challenged herself to develop a more pictorial approach to the mark making that references cave paintings and enhances the personality of the final objects.
We wanted to create a little landscape that we could project a sense of wonder onto, like a group of tiny worlds for rescued objects.
Each sculpture has a unique character and name, such as Alchemy Island, Puffin Reef, The Three Sisters and The Lighthouse. Together they form a fantastical archipelago that the artists titled The Isles of Reclaimed Wonderment. Simple opal bulbs transform the objects into functional artworks. The bulbs shine light through the glass shapes, casting patterns on the surrounding surfaces that evoke sunlight on the ocean.
Describing the idea behind the overall concept and appearance of the sculptures, Camille says: “We wanted to create a little landscape that we could project a sense of wonder onto, like a group of tiny worlds for rescued objects.” Juli adds that the project’s playfulness and focus on regeneration represents a response to the struggles we have all faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The sculptures are like an alternative world filled with hope that shows how we can reinvent ourselves and make everyday life more beautiful using things that are not expensive,” she suggests.
The Isles of Reclaimed Wonderment will be exhibited as part of Local Heroes: The Future of Home at 6 – 7 Thurloe Place, South Kensington throughout the duration of the London Design Festival.