The celebrated product designer throws the rulebook out the window in Playing Lines, a collaborative work with Hermes that turns traditional sports topsy-turvy
Tennis balls hang in mid-air after bouncing off a fan fitted with rackets, while an Hermes Robe du Soir carre and straw hat float gaily in the breeze. The protective sleeve of a wine glass becomes a basketball net, waiting for a Chandernagor crystal glass basket to catch balls launched by Hermes teaspoons-turned-catapults. The intensity of a ping-pong game is heightened by a weighted cord tied to a paddle, observed by an audience of Chaine d’Ancre Game jewellery that waits hotly in anticipation for it to snap, starting a destructive chain reaction.
These are the carefully constructed scenes that have graced the windows of Hermes Liat Towers along Orchard Road since end September (and will be there until end November), as part of the brand’s tradition of working with artists to create arrestingly beautiful window displays.
London-based product designer Oscar Diaz was given the chance to toy with Hermes’ theme for 2018, ‘Play’, which saw him using court lines from a variety of sports to create a series of mischievous, subversive vignettes.
“Hermes keeps going into unexpected territories, redefining and expanding what it is as a brand,” Diaz explains, adding that his first collaboration with them took place four years ago on the windows of Ginza Maison in Tokyo.
“The brand is serious about craftsmanship, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a sense of playfulness in most products: the way many jewellery pieces can be combined in different ways with each other, or the use of elements which have been scaled, for example.
“The feeling of subversion is also clearly visible in all communication. The window displays, images, sort videos and animations, often contain surrealist, and poetic scenes, which are the very essence of playfulness.”
It’s a trait of the brand that clearly resonates with the artist on many levels, given the importance he assigns to breaking the rules and upending them. “Subverting the order of things as they are normally understood or perceived is really important for the innovation in design.”
Although court lines run through every vignette in Playing Lines, these aren’t sports as we know them – if anything, they frame the viewer’s astonishment at these surreal scenes.
“Court lines are used to define the playing area and rules of many sport games, and using a combination of sports-related and domestic objects, I was hoping to create unexpected situations that will take viewers by surprise,” says Diaz. “I hope that people feel curious and have fun. I imagined each window as a still frame on a film. I wanted to stop the action at the exact moment where something is about to happen, and let people imagine the scenes just before and after.”
541 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6738 9807