Birgit Severin, Lifetimes & Ashes

From 16th century Vanitas paintings to contemporary design: Berlin-based designer Birgit Severin, currently exhibited at DMY Berlin and at the Bensimon Gallery, Paris, found inspiration into Flemish 16th and 17th centuries still lifes for her “Lifetimes” series. The Design Academy Eindhoven graduate intended her rubber vases to show different stages of the inevitable decay of life and beauty, underlining “vanity” as vacuity – mixing up-to-date production techniques with handcraft. “The process uses 3D printing, rubber rotation casting and freehand modeling to produce a flowing, matte surface overlayed with a sparkling pattern of jewel-like dots“, the designer details. (…)

Ashes is a series of household objects which explores associations between beauty and death. Flowers and fruit are symbols of beauty, youth and pleasure. Simultaneously, in their decay they become reminders of life’s brevity and the inevitability of death. The Ashes series acknowledges both aspects in equal measure. The expressive power of withering was commonly used to represent the idea of vanitas in art, particularly in Flemish painting. The project reinterprets this concept for the context of the modern household. The series contains vases which are either full, or in different stages of withering.”


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