Book: Homemade Europe, published by Fuel

Amid shiny new products from big furniture brands at Salone del Mobile this year, we discovered a refreshing homage to homemade DIY. Vladimir Arkhipov’s new collection published by Fuel Design Group and launched at Paul smith in Milan, is illustrated by trash or treasure stuff, depending on where you are.

The Russian artist and collector has crisscrossed Europe in the name of research, hunting down ordinary people who have met their basic household needs with extraordinary inventions, often involving pieces of other less essential household items.

Chronicle of his discoveries from Albania to Wales, Arkhipov – including the widely acclaimed 2006 collection ‘Homemade Contemporary Russian Folk Artifactsspawned this new, more varied edition – reveals a nautilus machine built from a car axle and drawing stool; a heirloom ladle molded from a melted German bomber and a ski-bob made from an old bicycle.

“A lot of these objects look like art,” says Jeremy Deller, the Turner Prize-winning artist who wrote the preface to the book, “but in reality, art resembles, if not aspires to be, these objects.

But just as curious as these configurations of junk, clothespins and wire mesh are the stories that accompany them. They speak of an innate desire to create, whether out of necessity or simply out of love to get your nails dirty. This is at least a point common to all the exhibitors of the Salone.

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