I’ve been a bit of a Ron Arad fan since before I even heard of him, when I saw some of his work in the One Off store that used to be on Neal Street in Covent Garden.
A few years later I saw his This Mortal Coil bookshelf in the V&A and liked it so much I created something similar out of skin-plywood for my cassette collection.
Today, as I walked round Ron Arad’s exhibition at the Barbican, it occurred to me that his work seems to fall distinctly into two camps.
The first being highly sculptural pieces with their organic, flowing shapes – pieces which leave me somewhat cold. They’re quite beautiful and technically brilliant but artistically just a bit… easy.
The other work is the stuff that knocks me off my feet. Pieces that play about with materials and engineering as well as challenge our preconceptions about how things should be.
The rolling bookshelves called Reinventing The Wheel – put on the Teeter Totter tilting ramp to show how they work – actually had me laughing out loud. When have you ever seen a bookshelf that did that to you?