Guérin uses a mesmerizing, yet much less traditional approach to woodwork. To understand the unique character of his methodology, we must consider the nature of wood and its material properties.
Wood is firm and rigid, receiving its structural strength from the orientation of its grain. Microscopically, it could be compared to many long straws banded together, forming a strong interweave in the direction of their span.
However, at small thickness, the structure is weak enough to allow the grain to be curved and twisted, much like thick paper.
By taking thin strips of wood, and laminating them in layers on top of a mould, one can manipulate the seemingly rigid wooden material and distort it to a point that almost borders glitch art.
While the methodology of how he forms his pieces is a fairly straight-forward (and albeit interesting) process, what really stood out to me as unique and enthralling is his conceptual philosophy.
The ‘thesis’ of his pieces is to find equilibrium; equilibrium between sculptural form and function; between rich noble woods and artificial plywood; between flat and dynamic.
The curvature of his surfaces, while it may seem random and chaotic, is actually very deliberate and precise. The piece must curve in a way that looks naturally continuous, but also strike a strong visual contrast between the flat half and the formed half.
How much is too much? Or not enough? There's no real objective answer to these types of questions. Yet, the sight of curved wooden flats defying gravity and balancing themselves perfectly is oddly and awesomely satisfying.
The key is to hit that elusive visual 'sweet spot', which one could only learn to do with countless practice and repetition. The observer doesn’t understand exactly why it looks good - but it does.
Kino Guérin successfully makes his mark in design concept and ties it in beautifully and wisely to the style of his work. He's one of those rare gems in design as he produces a marriage of a stimulating concept with a unique aesthetic intertwined with it, combined with a one-of-a-kind masterful craft! Truly an inspiration!
To learn more about their designs, visit Kino Guérin.
Photos courtesy of Kino Guérin.
Researched and Written by Mikhail Shchupak-Katsman, Undergraduate Environmental Design, OCAD University.