20th Century Design

Pablo Reinoso Transforms Bordeaux

By Sotheby's

T he dreamlike, poetic sculptures of Pablo Reinoso featured recently in a special installation in Bordeaux and the artist also features the upcoming Design: Living In A Material World sale in London on 17 October.


Reinoso’s ribbon-like structures, which appear to be alive, become limbs that trick the eye into making basic objects unrecognizable at first glance. Often branching out like roots from objects such as benches, chairs, wall-mounted frames and even garden tools, they are carefully choreographed to adapt both structurally and aesthetically to their surroundings, often suggesting a yearning of the material for freedom from any constraining function.

Reinoso’s modus operandi, starting from the 1970s, is about freeing the object from its primal functional identity, handing over the control to the addictive baroque-like structures that have been at the centre of several of his exhibitions and series. His inventiveness also lies in his sculptural skill: ‘The wood is not curved, but carved. Now, sculpting flexible volumes that circulate is very complicated. There is a technical difficulty, but a viewer must not feel the effort.’ 

Having worked with and exhibited in various high-profile and quite unique spaces such as in the Palais de l’Élysée with ‘Racines de Frances’ in 2016, and l’Hotel du Marc in Reims with ‘Cadre de Vie’ in 2007, he recently created a special installation in Bordeaux.


L’Observatoire Du Ciel, inspired by his ‘Spaghetti’ benches was formed of six of his sculptures that dotted the Bordeaux Biennale or Architecture, Urbanism and Design Agora from the 20–24 September. Visitors experienced the works beyond their regular scale and in the context of the presence of the element of water between two shifting states: liquid and vapour. Walking through the Miroir d’Eau, located in front of the Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, they enjoyed a moment of pause, reflecting in the misty landscape of the poetic alterations of a series of benches – a unique first-handed spatial interaction with the world of the artist.

At times, the water vapour formed one body with the sculptures, enveloping the entire scenario in a dialogue between materiality and visual blur. This rendered the horizon momentarily absent from the viewer’s sight. The overall experience allowed for a rediscovery of the centre of Bordeaux, of which the silhouette was at times mirrored onto the water surface or hidden by the mist.

Alongside these installations, Pablo Reinoso presented his Croco de Ville, initiated in 2007 by a research project in collaboration with the city of Bordeaux. Specially commissioned by the city, these 12 seating devices are 100% recyclable concrete that were scattered in the urban landscape of the gardens of the Hotel de Ville and the nearby Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature.

Pablo Reinoso’s ‘Vertical bench will be part of Sotheby’s London Design sale on 17th October. Entitled Living in a Material World, it is curated by Wallpaper* Magazine Brand and Content Director Tony Chambers and will include various works by both contemporary and earlier 20th-century designers.  With a focus on the intricate relationship between designer and material, the result is a unique dialogue of important and ground breaking works that inform and shape the world of Design today.

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