From soap to sound: a design chain to discover at Roca London Gallery

On show at the Roca London Gallery from 7 September to 16 November, Design Exquis is a series of exhibitions inspired by the collective method of creation. Developed by the Surrealists, known as Exquisite Corpse (Cadavre Exquis), Design Exquis is a dialogue on design through design. The concept involves five designers responding in turn to an object created by their predecessor. With a bar of soap presented to the first designer as the first object, the exhibition reveals the work of five studios and displays all six objects, demonstrating the interconnection of ideas through each team’s own design language. 

The Objects

Object #1: The starting object: a bar of soap

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Object #2:Ice Cream Maker. Designer Jacopo Sarzi noticed the similarity in the way soap and ice cream were created; both ancient products, they each required intense stirring; mixing fat with another ingredient; using heat in one case and cold in the other. Finding the soap a source of great inspiration, Jacopo created an ice cream maker manufactured using cork and aluminium that can produce ice cream the traditional Roman way.

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Object #3:Summer Bowls. Design Studio 45 Kilo pursued the feeling of summer, by creating a group of containers inspired by the colours and tastes of ice cream. The bowls are hand made by a traditional metal spinner, which leaves traces of the wooden mould on the metal and features colour-anodized aluminum surfaces, more commonly associated with digital devices, plus Corian tops to give a contemporary feel.


Object #4 : Mountain Light.There is a short step from summer to utopia. For design team Studio Swine, Summer Bowls raised questions about the construction of paradise, the feeling of holidays and playful modernist architecture in the land of the endless summer – particularly Palm Springs and Los Angeles.

This idea of utopia and the synthesis of the natural and the constructed inspired Studio Swine to use a new faux marble technique, exploring the integration of modernist architecture with nature through luxury interiors and glass facades. Mountain Light is a desk light embedded in the rock and elevated on brass legs to give an architectural feel. Warm LED lights are used to bring a summer ambience to the interior all year round.


Object #5:Reflections. The angular shape of Mountain Light (4) reminded designer Lex Pott of an open book. It gave him the idea to refer to the book matching technique used in the wood and stone industry, when a solid block of stone or wood is cut in two to open like a book, creating a mirrored pattern. Known for working with natural materials as his primary source, Lex Pott created a book matched marble room divider and six shelves. For the shelves, the second part of the stone is replaced with a mirror to create an artificially accurate reflection. Thanks to the imaginary space created by the mirror, the object becomes complete.


Object #6:Metamorphosis. For this third edition of Design Exquis, the curators asked music composer and sound designer Nick Phillips to react to Lex Pott’s object. With his creation, Metamorphosis, Nick transforms marble into sound using a technical method to convert the grain and colour of a picture Lex’s marble into sound patterns. From this sonic template and images of the marble he took the composition further to create a sound piece which is played through headphones and also aloud in the gallery to accompany visitors on their Design Exquis journey.


The Designers

Designer #1:Jacopo SarziBorn in Sardinia, Italy, Jacopo Sarzi has worked on food-related projects since 2009. Exploring digestion as a process and food as a tool, Jacopo focuses on ‘hands-on techniques’ and materials related to everyday food consumption. The London-based designer develops systems aiming to encourage virtuous improvement in society and everyday life.

Designer #2:45 Kilo. Design studio 45 Kilo was founded in 2007 by Philipp Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing after they graduated in product design from Bauhaus–University, Weimar, Germany. Their work is focused on furniture and interior design and often combines industrialised production processes and materials with crafts in a very reduced and simple visual language. Their constructive approach brings together a lightness and playfulness in their designs.

Designer #3:Studio Swine. A collaboration between Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves, Studio Swine explore design through material innovation and the creation of new sustainable systems, whilst placing an equal importance on aesthetics, believing that desire is the greatest agent for change.

Operating in the fields of design, fashion and architecture, Studio Swine has worked with Veuve Clicquot, Swarovski and Droog. Swine has received international awards including the Gold Prize at BIO23 Biennale of Design Slovenia, Wallpaper* Design Award and recently nominated for Designs of the Year Award 2013 at the Design Museum London. 

Designer #4: Lex Pott. Based in Amsterdam, Lex graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2009 and has since exhibited his work in many galleries across Germany and Holland.

Working primarily with natural materials, such as wood, stone and metal, Lex focuses on the pureness and product traceability, exploring what a material is and does. He does not hide his designs under indirect layers, but reduces them to their very essence.

Designer #5: Nick Phillips.Nick is a London-based composer, music producer and sound designer. He has worked in the music industry for over 20 years and created acclaimed work across the worlds of art, film, fashion, branding, science and technology. Nick thrives on collaborative work in the field of pop music production. His recent venture into the area of music for picture is an avenue by which he can utilise his early classical training with contemporary technology.

Design Exquis is curated by Florian Dussopt and Géraldine Vessière.

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For further information contact Roca London Gallery, Station Court, Townmead Road, London, SW6 2PY
Tel: 0207 610 9503/ Website:


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