Of transparent, honest assembly and material regeneration by Alper Nakri
In Alper Nakri’s lamps and furniture, each element, each material component of the whole speaks for itself. Clean slats and cuboids of natural wood, slender metal poles and plates, and uncloaked light bulbs and tubes–Each piece is distinguishable from the other and seems to be delicately connected to the next. This lends a simple, stark beauty to each of Nakri’s works, and their assembly and construction appear to be transparent and honest.
In addition to this more evident appeal, two back-end qualities or facts imbue great depth into Nakri’s work. The first is the fact that many of his recent works give a second life to discarded material such as metal from former missiles and spacecraft, from an aerospace company. What might have remained in a junkyard for years, has an elegant new life thanks to Nakri’s work.
A second, lesser known fact, is how rich and diverse Nakri’s background in design and visual media is. From motion graphics and photography to animation and graphic design–Nakri has had an extremely illustrious career in these realms. All throughout though for Nakri, there has been the desire to create and build things with his hands, an interest originating in his childhood in Istanbul, which culminated in him creating his first series of works, and brand 'The Lamps' with custom-designed handmade furniture in 2015.
Above: The Lamps, Alper Nakri's first collection of handmade furniture and lighting.
Looking at his beautiful, clean-lined, bold and mechanically transparent work, one can’t help but wonder how Nakri's history with motion graphics and graphic design must feed into his physical design and collections of lamps and furniture. In his most recent collection of works, Aero, Nakri injects some of this media, and background in the entertainment industry, into the experience of his works–each piece is accompanied by a story and music score, that viewers can listen into as they approach them.
Nakri’s Aero collection possesses these signature qualities of his work, and also responds to Form&Seek’s theme ‘Age of Man.' This theme will bind together his work and that of this entire collective of designers, at the eponymous exhibit for Milan Design Design Week 2017, at Ventura Lambrate in a few days time. Nakri's pieces from the Aero collection at the exhibition will represent his perspective of the theme, and tell their story both visually and through audio.
Of Aero, Nakri says “Aero is a collection of five lighting products made of aluminum aerospace pieces and wood from a walnut tree, representing the magnificence of the universe and the mother earth at once. It is an exploration of reuse and repurposing with a midcentury influence.”
Equally crucial to the origins and concept of the Aero Series, is the ‘Maybe’ concept developed by the Los Angeles-based artist–used by him to make furniture that tells stories. By coming up with fictional anecdotes, some of which are inspired by real events, Nakri creates an imaginative history for the pieces he uses to make furniture. His imagination makes people think differently about the everyday objects they use, and the word ‘Maybe’ urges them to think of their own alternate stories.
Nakri wonders what the viewer might think of his concept and says himself "Why does he do that? Maybe he believes that something he creates lives another life in someone else’s physical space? Maybe ‘making things’ become his method of connecting with people. Or maybe he’s just having fun!"
Aero’s signature elements and raw materials–the aluminum pieces–were produced by Lockheed Missiles, Space, and Propulsion Company in California. When Lockheed closed in the 1970’s, all of its materials were sold to junk yards in the Burbank area. The Aero project was triggered when Alper stumbled on a treasure trove of zinc chromate aerospace parts at a surplus electronics store. It is likely that these Zinc Chromate coated aerospace aluminum pieces were discarded after the material was replaced with something lighter, stronger, and more heat resistant.
Now, thanks to Nakri’s brightly colored aluminum and natural wood lamps, this metal has a new life in another part of the cosmos, with another meaning. The bold yellow color is a result of the colored zinc chromate, once used as an anti-corrosive barrier/primer for the original missiles/propulsion devices. In addition to this base material, each of Nakri’s lamps assembled with aerospace-graded nuts and bolts.
With these unique materials and even accessories, Nakri wants you to wonder, unleash your imagination, and paint a narrative in your head: “Maybe, one of the zinc chromate aerospace pieces used in these lamps landed on the moon with the rocket it belonged to? Maybe another one was struggling in the air as a part of a WWII P-38 Lightning aircraft…” he says. Associated with each of the five pieces is a story, that will be narrated both visually and audibly to the viewer as they view them. Seen below is one such story.
Above: The story that accompanies Aero No.1, and the Detailing, showing the aerospace sourced materials and bolts for the Aero collection by Alper Nakri
Of the pertinent theme the 'Age of Man,' Nakri says “As the most powerful species on this planet, we humans have the ability to waste resources in the fastest and most alarming way, but we are also able to solve massive problems by developing technology thanks to our advanced thinking and operating skills. When we consume more than we produce, every single living thing is negatively affected. Therefore, each conscious person has to limit his/her excessive consumption.”
Physicalizing this idea, Nakri’s Aero collection brings wasted, trashed materials to life. Instead of decaying in junkyards, pieces that once were used to make airplanes or spacecraft now serve different purposes. In the 'Age of Man,' Nakri believes, one can create beautiful, useful goods that really work, without consuming more resources.
Readers: Look out for Alper Nakri's work at the Form&Seek exhibit in Milan next week. Nakri runs his own studio AN, in Los Angeles, designing custom furniture that tells stories and touches people’s lives. To learn more about his studio, click here.