Table, Chair and Lamp by Martin Ku

Table, Chair and Lamp by Martin Ku

When we learn that Martin Ku calls the chair, table and lamp he has built, a self-portrait, he sure has puzzled some of us. On the face of it, there is nothing in the design that gives you an impression of a portrait of any kind. But the title and the intriguing appearance of the individual pieces prompts us to step back and look again.

The table has a soft mattress-like pink surface, and the chair has been given not one, but a series of backs, like descending stairs. The lamp fixture consists of one long rectangular shape, with a bulb coming out of each end.

According to Martin Ku each piece represent a position on a time line. The chair represents the past. The repeated layers of back-rests that carry the construction stand for fragments of memories and stories. We can’t escape our past, it’s there, always, just behind us, and our stability depends on it.

The table with its cushioned surface on which every­thing rests softly is an image of future. It is suppose to create a feeling of lightness, meditation, curiosity, and have an expression of self-confidence.

Squeezed in between past and future is now, symbolised in the lamp fixture that rests on the thin glass bulbs, either on the floor or against the wall.

What is now, is frail and vulnerable. The past must be accepted, although there is a measure of potential change in the future.

In the context of a furniture fair, someone might want to ask: Is this really proper furniture design? Hasn’t Martin Ku, in his seemingly indifferent attitude towards functionality, left the confines of design and gone off into the world of art? What if?, someone else might want to answer.