Abid Javed presents "fluid" cell-like sculptures at London Design Festival

Artist Abid Javed will present Soma, an exhibition of amorphous sculptures and furniture informed by molecular biology, at independent gallery Select-Works during the London Design Festival.

Soma: Design Abstractions from Within the Cell will be the debut exhibition from Javed, whose work merges ceramics with biology.

The show, which opens on Thursday, brings together sculptures, furniture and lighting designed by the Hackney-based scientist and artist.

Sculpture by Abid Javed
Soma is an exhibition of cell-like sculptures and furniture

Javed created his pieces using neutrally hued stoneware, which he handcrafted to produce asymmetrical objects that take their cues from the appearance of microscopic cells.

The designer used a combination of pinch, slab and coil techniques to create the ceramics, which were then fired in a kiln.

“My ceramic work is somehow interconnected in such a way that the more my scientific understanding develops, I think that also informs the development of my work in ceramics as well, which is really interesting,” said Javed, who divides his time between designing and scientific research.

Neutral stoneware pieces by Abid Javed
Abid Javed will present the pieces as an exhibition at Select-Works

For Soma, Javed created two collections titled the Cellular Compartment and Genetic Pleomorph, respectively.

This most recent work includes blobby vases and sculptures as well as scone lights, table and floor lamps, sculptural stools and tables, mirrors and hanging mobiles.

Amorphous lighting by Abid Javed
Lighting also features in the show

The designer was particularly influenced by the forms of nucleosomes – protein clusters wrapped in threads of DNA.

“Much like the fluid body of a cell, the space becomes host to a microcosm of cellular and molecular networks, demonstrated as sculptural ceramic bodies existing together as one,” said Select-Works.

Selected vases also feature a removable beeswax component, which houses a metal kenzan, or ‘flower frog’, commonly used for Ikebana flower arranging.

Abid created the component to explore the water-repellant properties of wax by using the material as a vessel to hold water, according to the gallery.

Removable beeswax vase component
The designer created a removable beeswax component for vases

“The exhibition is both visual, textural and conceptual. I would like people to come with open minds in terms of thinking what design objects can be, and how biology can redefine design,” concluded the designer.

Other projects currently on display as part of London Design Festival include a prototype modular furniture system by Zaha Hadid Design that was informed by the natural shapes made by erosion and furniture by Andu Masebo, which was crafted from a scrapped car.

The photography is courtesy of Select-Works.

Soma is on show at Select-Works as part of London Design Festival 2023 from 21 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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