Two interdependent chairs, a concrete cast and its formwork, uncover the complexities behind simplicity and the potential of often discarded formwork.
The Outsider / The Insider is a double construction chair. ‘The Insider’ is a slender white concrete chair with an absolute minimum of detailing. ‘The Outsider’ is the shuttering in which ‘The Insider’ was cast. In contrast to the slender white ‘Insider’, the ‘Outsider’ is structurally complex and detailed. ‘The Outsider’ is made to be un-folded and de-folded, thus revealing ‘The Insider’ in stages – in a form of undressing.
‘The Outsider / The Insider’ invites us to reflect on the complexity and energy invested in achieving an appearance of simplicity.
Although the construction industry traditionally expends considerable resources on materials for shuttering and its construction, the moulds are typically discarded as waste products after use. In ‘The Outsider / The Insider’ benandsebastian seek to exploit the potential of the shuttering moulds by experimentally viewing the moulds as the end-product.
With ‘The Outsider / The Insider’ benandsebastian aims to raise open questions about the hierarchy of inner and outer structures and to question the authenticity of simplicity. In this quest, the project also offers a destabilising characteristic, poised as it is in the vulnerable position on the edge of art, design and architecture.
Ben Clement and Sebastian de la Cour graduated, respectively, from the University of Cambridge and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, School of Architecture in Copenhagen. Subsequently they both studied at Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL, London), graduating in 2006.
benandsebastian have received a number of grants and honours; in 2009 they were awarded a three-year working grant from the Danish Arts Foundation, and they received awards from the Danish Arts Council in both 2009 and 2010. Fritz Hansen acquired benandsebastian’s work ‘City of the (Re)Orientated’ in 2008, the same year that the duo took part in the exhibition ‘Benchspace’ during the London Architecture Week. benandsebastian have taken part in the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition in 2008-2010.
Most of benandsebastian’s works are made in wood, often in combination with other materials. They describe their work process as serious play and continual ‘story-telling’, where they tackle their interests head-on and not are afraid to explore the dysfunctional and the unfashionable. Their recent work has taken inspiration from mediaeval rituals, romantic ruins, office politics and a Manhattan urban legend. benandsebastian describe their work as not being ‘one-liners’, as they beg for multiple readings and inspire curiosity.
Ben Clement, b. 1981, and Sebastian de la Cour, b. 1980, form the architecture and art duo benandsebastian.