Atelier Axo practices an exciting range of disciplines, making them almost impossible to pin down with just a few words. Founded in 2019, the studio already has an impressive portfolio, ranging from small scale architecture to furniture design. This ability to merge and move across disciplines comes largely as an extension of Rose and Caroline’s backgrounds:
‘We’re both graduates from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Rose specialized in spatial design and Caroline specialized in art and architecture. Our primary focus now is small scale architecture and interior design alongside furniture. You could say that we are working our way up in scale. We would like to master the space close to our bodies and senses first, and slowly scale up to bigger projects. For us, it is very important that both are treated and detailed equally.’
For the Creatives project, Caroline and Rose were drawn to Aiayu’s Eri silk. Eri silk is made differently than most silks, as it’s still a very traditional and handmade process that takes place in remote villages in Assam, India. Eri silkworms feed on leaves from native castor plants and spin cocoons with little openings that the moths naturally emerge from when they are fully mature – essentially leaving them unharmed by production.
When asked how this process inspired their work, Caroline explains how they wanted the installation to show each stage of this unique silk-making process:
‘We were both a little shocked to find out the details of the traditional way of producing silk, and how such a simple change in the production chain could make a beautiful textured silk, saving innocent creatures along the way. We wanted to create a simple installation, where the observer was taken through each step of the silk production and presented with the final product as well. The four plaster sculptures each manifest a moment in the process, and above each sculpture hangs an Eri silk flag made of leftover cuts – as a statement to the working moth.’
Flags of Samia Ricini
The duo experimented with a lot of different ways to tell the story, both with the handsewn flag as well as the plaster sculptures. The final result is a moving interpretation of the peace silk creation called ‘Flags of Samia Ricini’.
‘There is something quite interesting in the contrast between the stagnant, monochromatic and heavy plaster facing the light silk, moving slowly and changing when the light comes through,’ says Caroline. ‘Somehow the weight and stillness of the castings add importance to them as objects.’
It takes many years of effort and research to source the materials that Aiayu works with. After a long search, our Eri silk was launched this year, as a beautiful compliment to our collection of unique materials.
Raw Eri silk production is still a very non-industrial process that requires a lot of hours, hands, and skill – a craftsmanship that felt very relatable to both Rose and Caroline. Caroline explains how, in order to make the spacious installation for the Aiayu Creatives exhibition, approximately 30-40 pieces were casted before the final ones could be included.