Listen to the conversation between Rosanna and Cors.

“First, I think of the object as an abstract sculpture, and then, the second step is to make it a ‘Utility Sculpture’” notes Rebeca Cors, the Founder and Designer of CORS. Having studied Industrial Design in Mexico City and Sculpture at Central St Martins in London, Cors explains that her work “oscillates between sculpture and functional objects – and, as an artist/designer, [my practice sits] at the intersection of both these disciplines.”

Harnessing the formal elegance of modern sculpture, Cors’ manages to retain the ease and approachability of good design. The designer notes that, “There is a conception that there is a line between an artwork and the viewer – that you cannot touch it, that you can only contemplate it – but I disagree. [With CORS] the viewer can be more involved with the object – they can enjoy art by using it, which is fun, and, for me, it was sort of necessary…”

“The final object shouldn’t lose the sculpture’s magic”

An ability to balance form and function is evident throughout Cors’ many collections, and particularly so in her totems – modular pieces that can be stacked to create an artful column, or disassembled to provide multiple seats or surfaces. Characterised by a sense of playfulness, the totem is a recurring form, appearing in a variety of styles and scales throughout Cors’ oeuvre. “The totem started with the ‘Tao’ collection because I wanted to make a stool that was itself a sculpture, something that you could also pile up to make a totem. It’s fun to have this activity, and it means you can have both objects [in one]. My totem phase started with that, and it’s still going on…”

More recent stool-totems include the Neru and the Aria – both variations on a theme. The Neru is composed of smooth, rounded and organic forms that are available in hand-crafted radiata wood with a raw, natural finish, or in solid black Monterrey marble – whilst the Aria totem features sleek, vase-shaped elements with a super high-gloss black finish. “I started working with wood – a very noble material – but my aim was to work with stone, marble specifically. However – in the process of using wood, I fell in love with it; it has a warmth and it is much more malleable [than stone], so you have more opportunity to lift, move and rearrange the pieces [with ease].”

“Touch is a really important part of how these objects come to be”

Despite their easy demeanour, Cors’ stacked and layered forms require a great deal of engineering and precision. This is true of the geometric ‘Hive’ and ‘Greca’ designs, as well as the more recent ‘Espiga’ collection – an on-going series of wispy metal light fixtures that are reminiscent of Alexander Calder’s airbourne masterpieces. “[Technically speaking,] creating a kinetic sculpture is not easy. I wanted them to be both a light fixture and a mobile, so the engineering part of the process was very important – finding balance in the composition, whilst also rotating…”

“Espiga, in English, means ‘wheat’ – and if you look at the shape it’s like a [single stalk of] wheat that is bent in the wind – that’s the image I had in my mind, the lightness that this image conjures.” Contemporary and characterful, Espiga offers another interpretation of the ‘utility sculpture’ – an elegant and dynamic piece with a hidden functionality – an object that is equally as consequential when the lights are on or off.

“I am very focused on organic shapes and nature and the form that nature gives to our surroundings: mountains, plants, animals, the human figure…”

Rotund, curved forms characterise the Aria collection, groupings of organic shapes that recall prehistoric artefacts as well as contemporary art. ‘Aria Composition I and II’ show sculpture at its most joyful, a collection of smooth and pleasing pieces hewn in white-veined black marble. These same shapes have been reconfigured to become a table, with the individual pieces arranging themselves beneath a sheet of glass, and, occasionally, rising up through it. The ‘Aria Balance Table’ is a lively interaction between the glass and marble – a deconstructed sculpture that has been given purpose.

“At the beginning [ of CORS], I thought each collection would be final, but, in fact, I always find myself going back to previous collections, adding a new piece…. I am always inspired by what’s around me – architecture, meeting someone new, spotting an interesting object somewhere -and so the collections continue to grow. It wasn’t part of the plan, but that’s how it is…”

There are themes that seem to intrigue Rebeca Cors – certain shapes, systems and aesthetics that she wishes to explore further, both as an artist and a designer; and so, with each collection, she continues to refine her sense of composition and balance, always building upon her earlier work.

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