By Monica Khemsurov
Remember those kids you grew up with who were strictly forbidden to eat any junk food or sweets, then binged on fast food and candy the minute they left home? That’s sort of the story of Lithuanian-born newcomer Barbora Žilinskaite, who felt so stifled by her highly technical and traditional design education at the Vilnius Academy of Arts that her first collection as a new graduate flew WAY in the opposite direction. In this case, though, it was a good thing — that collection, called Roommates, is bizarre in the most delightful and sophisticated of ways, featuring a foot-shaped table, hand-shaped magazine rack, and face-shaped table inspired in part by the paintings of Paul Klee and Joan Miró. “Human-like objects become more significant with long-term use,” she explains. “It creates this weird but friendly atmosphere where a person can look at their furniture as if it were a friend or a pet.”
The series is worlds away from one of the school projects posted on Žilinskaite’s Instagram, a hyper-minimal circular wooden bookshelf. “At design school, I didn’t have enough time to do material experiments and create more expressive projects, and I also knew I needed more knowledge to execute them,” she says. “So I did internships during my studies to learn more about functional design-art. One of them was with Valentin Loellmann. He opened the door to what I was looking for and inspired me to create more sculptural pieces, however it took some time for me to find a way to actually do it. After finishing school I started to experiment more with materials.” The Roommates pieces are made out of a mixture of wood dust, pigment, and wood glue, a material Žilinskaite chose for its ability to be both brightly dyed and hand-sculpted into organic forms.
Žilinskaite has since moved to Brussels, and plans to experiment further with both the series and the wood-dust material. Keep an eye on her progress here.