Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Christofle: Art and Luxury


Ora-ito. Arborescence Collection for Christofle. Courtesy of Christofle.

Ora-ito. Arborescence Collection for Christofle. Courtesy of Christofle.

In our culture of vanity and self-absorption, hoi polloi are mainly interested in fashion. Cladded in designer outfits and accessorized to the tilt, contemporary consumers re-define themselves based on the quantities of goods they acquire. Additionally, they seek to partake in the art world, even if tangentially. The Murakami and Kusama limited editions of Louis Vuitton bags have proven that art sells.

But don’t mistake the merchandise for art. It may be amusing for fashion designer Lisa Perry to cut the exact same dress out of fabric imprinted with Robert Indiana’s Pop Art icons but it says nothing about her fashion genius. It is a cheeky experiment and a savvy retail move but there is nothing new about it. The series is no testament to Perry’s nor Indiana’s creativity.

Creativity tends to be more esoteric. As is the case with artist Ora-ïto (1977- ) whose notoriety peaked in the 1990s when he hijacked in 3D the products of Vuitton, Apple, and Nike among others and turned customers’ purchases into traffic to his own web-site. A point of departure for Ora-ïto, luxury culture allowed him to introduce several products in the sectors of design, architecture, and communication including furniture, bathroom and kitchen fixtures (for brands such as Zanotta, Cappellini, Artemide, B&B Italia etc.) as well as the nightclub “Cab,” the French Nike showroom, and the European flagship store of Toyota, all in Paris. In other words, rather than dressing existing products with “art” images, Ora-ïto has been creating new products and a substantial commercial success for his studio.

Steeped in the French tradition of luxury, Ora-ïto’s latest collaboration includes lifestyle collections for Christofle, manufacturer of fine silver flatware and home accessories. Inspired by nature and abstracted to new inviting forms, Ora-ïto’s collections cover a gamut of functions and culminate in his magnificent design for a long table with a glass top that rests on a forest of tree trunks made of silver. The collection exemplifies Ora-ïto’s ability to work with and tweak historic methods of production (as in the laboratories of Christofle) and to comment on contemporary culture with a new type of iconography directly related to our evolving modes of living.

© Thomaï Serdari