There is not a lot of talk about the streets, nonconformity, graffiti, punk rock or skateboarding here. Since 2009 (as far as I can track this back) Modernica collaborates with street wear brands and graffiti writers turned artists. Collaborations were made with A Bathing Ape, Retna, Krink, HUF and The Hundreds – most of the time for limited editions runs ranging from 1, 5 to 100 pieces.
Of course, stories were also told about these collaborations. They can be broken down to either “classic design meets hip, urban vibe” or “classic design meets (soon-to-be) classic design.” So another way of reading these stories is to read them as stories about the institutionalization and legitimization of street wear design or artist identities and the negotiations of images, of (brand)identities that go along with it. Here is their chronic:
MODERNICA X BAPE (A Bathing Ape) – Fiberglass Side Shell Chair – September 2009
This Fiberglass Side Shell Chair, coming in three colors, was the first collaboration Modernica did with a “street wear” brand. “Exclusively from Japan,” is how this collaboration with A Bathing Ape is announced on the Modernica blog. For Highsnobiety, this collaboration is just a logical development for Bape as a brand. In a Sanrio fashion, there “are not many products out there that Bape has not worked on yet.” Bottom line: Bape designs everything anyway, why not a Modernica chair?
Images (1)-(3) global.rakuten.com
MODERNICA X RETNA -Case Study Storage Unit – December 2010
Retna is a “neighbor” of Modernica (his studio is next to their Downtown warehouse). Also, they “admired his work for a awhile,” as Modernica explains further on their blog. Retna is presented as a recognized, successful artist (he sells his “artful tagging” “for upward of $ 30,000”), who “painted” one Case Study Unit for Modernica. He adds an “urban vibe” to their “iconic furniture,” so Modernica.
MODERNICA X BABE – Ballpen Camo Side Chair – August 2012
“Classic Bape design meets classic furniture design,” is how Highsnobiety summarizes this second Babe and Modernica collaboration – side chairs in three different colorways limited to 100 pieces. Babe adds “their own flavor to some classic pieces for furniture.” The collaboration makes sense because Bape’s founder Nigo is a “well-known fan of Mid Century furniture and products.” Also, he has already designed numerous pieces of furniture. This might also be a reason why Modernica collaborated with Bape in the first place (except for adding the label “Japan” to there brand image): In January 2010 Modernica posted a magazine’s sneak peek of the house of Babe’s founder, Nigo, showcasing a custom designed Case Study Day Bed.
MODERNICA X KRINK – Case Study Fiberglass Shell chair – September 2012
Krink used five Fiberglass Shell Chair “as his canvas,” so Modernica on their blog. For Modernica, Krink chairs are a “cool collection of new art with a distinctively hip vibe.” Krink, as Retna, is presented here as an artist and “art collectors” are specifically addressed by Modernica to buy these chairs. Krink himself presents this collaboration as him adding his “signature style” with his now “classic Krink silver ink.” For Laimyours Krink thus turned these seats from “slightly inaccessible intellectual property to rough, almost raunchy, interpretations.”
Images: (1) hvw8.com/news, (2) krink.com/projects/modernica
MODERNICA X HUF- Fiberglass Shell Chair- January 2014
HUF “teamed up” with Modernica during their 52 Colors in 52 Weeks project in tainting a shell with their signature color “day-go-glow punk green color.” HUF’s green is a “homage to the punk rock days in the early era of skateboarding,” as stated on the Modernica blog. Skateboarding that was “simply not accepted” at that time shaped also HUF’s founder “Hufnagel’s outlook on life,” as one can red further.
For Highsnobiety, the “LA-based streetwear brand now goes full-on interior design.” The Hundreds argues similarly: HUF looks “toward extending their reach, and moving into lifestyle.”
MODERNICA X THE HUNDREDS – Fiberglass Arm Shell Rocker – April 2014
Bobby Hundreds offers three main arguments for collaborating as “a design company” with Modernica to make an “extremely limited quantity” of the Arm Shell Rocker: the exclusivity (“first time that Modernica has produced a true black shell.”), the visual identity of The Hundreds is applied on the chair (“implementing our familiar CMYK color combination”), and their “deep appreciation for Eames’ work.” For him, The Hundreds as a lifestyle brand and their quest for “timeless design” extends “beyond clothes, to food products (Tapatio), and even furniture.” In creating their first furniture piece, Modernica was an “obvious partner because of their authenticity and history.”