Perfecting the action of pouring

pulpo and Samuel Treindl are currently developing a side table from materials that you would otherwise only expect to find on a building site.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 11/9/2020

“You need to be able to master handling the accidental,” says Samuel Treindl. The performative works of the artist and designer are always in flux. About to become something, shifting from one shape to the next. An interim state, which looks temporary and is nonetheless a statement in itself. Central to process art is interaction with the material, revealing the transformation. And in this case Treindl explores for pulpo how concrete reacts when it falls to the floor. This involves mixing the material and pouring it onto a smooth surface to harden. If you subsequently turn this blob around, then this strange accumulation of construction materials has morphed into a tabletop. The tabletop is supported by galvanized steel mesh construction matting bent to form a base. At this point the experiment becomes an object with a function, a one-off with raw charm for interior design. By placing the chance aspect of his artistic creativity into a design context that results in a functional product Treindl creates an interaction between commercial and anti-commercial elements.

The idea for this unusual side table first came to Samuel Treindl and Patrick L'Hoste some four years ago when in a spontaneous action Treindl transformed the “pulpo Galerie” in Lörrach near Basel into a luxury construction site in the form of his “Research Center for Anarchistic Production”. A ceramic mixing element combined the concrete with gold leaf and simultaneously incorporated its own precious constituent ingredients. Visitors were able to experiment with and experience the difficulty involved in the pouring the concrete and see how even an amateur can be a producer but that even inability has to be performed with skill. “The right pouring method is on a par with any highly-technological process,” argues Treindl. In order to achieve the necessary perfection in the imperfect a clear stringency is needed in the procedures that Samuel Treindl has perfected. “Every step he takes is well thought through,” says Patrick L'Hoste, who together with Ursula L'Hoste founded the company pulpo a good 13 years ago. And back then there was already an affinity with art and young, fresh approaches: “Many of our ideas come from art,” summarizes L'Hoste. And indeed, works by young talented artists are regularly presented in the “pulpo Galerie” alongside selected objects from the pulpo product portfolio. Design and art go hand in hand for pulpo, there is no need to draw a dividing line between the two. What counts are liberal approaches and a consistently high quality of craftsmanship in the production by European manufacturers. An eye for the details is also important in the side table by Samuel Treindl for pulpo, which is currently still in the prototype phase: “The process of production will never be identical a second time around, but you need an environment in which the process works,” argues Treindl.

pulpo production featured by the artist Samuel Treindl

Letting processes happen, accepting a loss of control and instead gently guiding the material which anyhow has a life of its own and is subject to the force of gravity; this letting go is a challenge Treindl has also taken on for the first artist‘s edition of the pulpo catalog. For the performance the products of the portfolio such as “Container”, “Alwa” or “Oda” by Sebastian Herkner, were covered with molten wax which Treindl then let harden, thereby producing fragmentary objects, whose original form is only vaguely recognizable. These represent a homage to the designer, but also form a fascinating contrast to them as regards the requirements that they are constantly expected to meet. While the design object would ideally like to be owned in a state that remains unaltered throughout its life, the structure, color, feel and lifespan of its rudimentary moldings in wax cannot be influenced. “The idea was to mold the design object in a fragmentary fashion in a different context so as to create a reminder of sorts of the original state,” says Treindl. And in doing so intervenes in the hierarchical pyramid of material and final product as with the refinement of the steel mats in the production of the side table. While in that case he declares the material the final product the final product for the “Wax Object Edition” serves him as material. As such, the figures created in this manner are temporarily present, lack any function beyond that of their mere existence, and readily oscillate between the worlds of design and art. “Letting go is the operative word,” says Patrick L'Hoste.