Cultured Magazine

Summer 2013

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FROM THE GROUND UP In his latest work, Mathias Bengtsson plays equal parts mad scientist and horticulturalist. PHOTO BY MARTIN SKOOG BY BRENT LEWIS Mathias Bengtsson's Growth chair, edition of 12, Galerie Maria Wettergren. Mathias Bengtsson has introduced the Growth chair, the first in a series of beautiful and innovative works based on the principles of natural growth. "We should learn from nature," says Bengtsson, "and be inspired to solve problems in the same way that it does." For Growth chair, Bengtsson created a virtual world within a purpose-built computer program. In this digital garden he planted a seed which car- 120 CULTURED ries the DNA of a chair. "The Growth chair is about being inspired by nature to try and find new forms and new shapes." Bengtsson embedded within the seed certain structural parameters but otherwise left the organism to grow freely, in the scale of a plant, through an entire life cycle. An edition of 12, the chairs are a snapshot of a specific moment from the same life cycle, each different from the next as the chair continues to grow. Exploiting advanced technology but finally cast in bronze, the chair's hyper-organic form is grounded and balanced by the use of the ancient material. After casting, the bronze returns to Bengtsson's studio for polishing and finishing. Typical of his practice, Growth chair starts and ends in Bengtsson's hands. "I've always used technology, but have an artist background. I draw, do clay and work with my hands."

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