The longing for a studiolo
by Daniel von Bernstorff | Jul 17, 2013
Gallery owner Jörg Schellmann shows the steel-girder construction "Study" that is both, space and furniture at the same time. Photo © Mario Gastinger

Anyone who walks into the new “Schellmann Furniture” showroom on Munich’s Hohenzollernstrasse will instantly find themselves in a fascinating realm between art and design. Is this a gallery? After all, there are works by Donald Judd, Gerhard Merz and Liam Gillick on display. Or is it indeed a furniture producer’s showroom? After all, we also find works by Stefan Diez, Sebastian Wrong and the Bouroullec brothers.

We find one possible explanation in the owner’s biography. Since 1969 Jörg Schellmann has been publishing, with the Edition Schellmann based in Munich and New York, graphic works and editions from the international art scene. As of 2006 he started applying the principle of series production to furniture designs by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Donald Judd and Gerhard Merz – and not least to his own furniture designs too.

Schellmann’s personal contribution to the exhibition, his “Raum-Möbel-Stahlkonstruktion Study” (Space-furniture-steel construction study), is among the most striking in the show and says a great deal about Schellmann’s thought process and creative approach. “I imagine,” he states, “a simple study, a private retreat with the major tools for working within reach. A cell that sets itself apart from its surroundings and serves to house the person and their thought.”

For Schellmann the idea (rooted in the Renaissance) of a “studiolo”, as Andreas Zielcke writes in the foreword to the exhibition catalog, is continued in the personal work cell, such as that which Le Corbusier set up for himself in his office in Paris and in his hermitage in Cap Martin on the Mediterranean. With his own “Study”, Jörg Schellmann takes up this concept and puts a contemporary twist on it. The result is both radically simple and highly poetic.

What is fascinating about the exhibition is its combination of furniture that has actually been made such as “Tyde”, the height-adjustable desk system by the Bouroullec brothers (for Vitra) and Stefan Diez’s office chair, a transformed edition of the "Chassis", edited by Wilkhahn and Schellmann together, with conceptual approaches, including “Freuds Couch” by Sebastian Wrong or furniture by Donald Judd, Liam Gillick and Gerhard Merz. And if you’re lucky you might come across Jörg Schellmann himself in his showroom. A chat with him is better than any attempt to write a review – this one included.

7 Studies
Schellmann Furniture, Munich
Through December 20, 2013

Sebastian Wrong makes reference to Sigmund Freud's legendary study in London with his ensemble consisting of shelf, chair and table. Photo © Mario Gastinger
Designer Stefan Diez presents a meeting and working place consisting of the newly developed "Table" and the "Chair", a modification of the chair "Chassis". Photo © Mario Gastinger
Liam Gillick's three minimalist, orthogonal objects made of aluminum are offered in a multicolored varying color concept. Photo © Mario Gastinger
The exhibition vistiors can marvel at a lectern from 1984, which was designed by the American artist Donald Judd. Photo © Mario Gastinger
The bookcase and the circular light designed by Gerhard Merz is available in limited editions of 15 pieces. Photo © Mario Gastinger
"Tyde" is a variable stand-up or sit-down table designed by the brothers Bouroullec. Photo © Vitra / Schellmann Furniture
Jörg Schellmann presents "Seven Studies", an exhibition at the new Schellmann Furniture Showroom in Munich. Photo © Mario Gastinger