Special Project

The Dream of Reality


15 May 2018

During London Craft Week, Disegno partnered with the designer Laureline Galliot to host a pair of iPad drawing workshops at citizenM’s Tower of London hotel.

Set against an exhibition of Galliot’s design work curated by Disegno, the workshops invited guests to create a series of still-life paintings of leaves using iPads. Using digital technologies aline to the fine arts tradition, Galliot challenged guests to reflect on what new aesthetics and affordances were opened up by the ability to paint directly using a touchscreen.

Digital painting has long served as a component part of Galliot’s design process, and provides a conceptual framework through which she has sought to probe at some of the conventions and shibboleths of industrial design.

In Disegno #13, Galliot gave these techniques free right in ‘The Dream of Reality’, an iPad comic illustration of A.A. Milne’s 1924 poem ‘Nursery Chairs’. As a record of the ideas explored in the citizenM workshops, Disegno is delighted to now republish ‘The Dream of Reality’ online.

“Leonardo da Vinci saw trees, towns, battles and a lot of other things in the stains he found on old walls. Shakespeare saw whales and camels in the clouds. Simple Simon looks at the clouds and just sees clouds. The stains on old walls simply look like stains to him. On old walls. Not everyone sees pictures in the fire, or in the clouds, and of those who do, not all see the same thing. It depends on what they are looking at, and on who is doing the looking.”
—Bruno Munari

Behind its jocularity, the designer Bruno Munari’s 1966 essay ‘Two in One’ made profound comments about the manner in which we perceive the world around us. “Each of us sees only what he knows,” wrote Munari. A connected point had been voiced in the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s 1953 work Philosophical Investigations: “I observe a face, and then suddenly notice its likeness to another. I see that it has not changed; and yet I see it differently.”

Wittgenstein’s idea began to tease out the phenomenon of “seeing as”, a form of perception in which an interpretative element is at play – images do not have a single sense, but can have plural meanings depending on the perspective from which one looks at them and who is doing the looking. Munari, in inimitable style, simplified things: “If, as often happens, a person is exclusively interested in food, then in the clouds at sunset he will see enormous dishes of spaghetti and tomato sauce (if he can raise his eyes from the table to look at the sunset).”

This study of perception is a field in which the Paris-based designer Laureline Galliot has a keen interest. A graduate of Ensci – Les Ateliers in Paris and laureate of the prestigious Design Parade competition in Hyères, France, Galliot has built her career around encouraging new perspectives on the objects that surround us. Drawing on fine-art traditions, children’s literature and digital-design techniques, Galliot creates iPad drawings and 3D-printed objects that propose a new framework from within which industrial objects might be considered.

For Disegno #13, Galliot was invited to investigate how this framework might be extended through consideration of fiction or poetry. In response, Galliot chose to examine ‘Nursery Chairs’, a 1924 poem by the author A.A. Milne (1882-1956) about a child’s imagination transforming their chair into a vehicle for intoxicating adventures and travel. “It shows the way that we have to look at objects to let them speak,” says Galliot. “The personal discoveries we make that are beyond what is obvious to everyone else.”

Using illustrations executed on her iPad, Galliot proposed a schema in which imagination and seeing- as become drivers for new forms of design. The resulting images blend elements of the thought of Munari and Wittgenstein, but filter them through the whimsy of Milne. “Looking beyond what is obvious, like a child, is a precious dynamic for design,” says Galliot. “It is a way to explore new meanings of an object.”