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Goldfinger’s Hampstead home plays host to hook installation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 September 2016

Plastic Erno. Picture: Jim Stephenson.

Plastic Erno. Picture: Jim Stephenson.

Copyright Jim Stephenson 2015

Plastic Erno by furniture designer Michael Marriott pays tribute to Erno Goldfinger’s architecture and the humanity of his buildings

An installation at the former Hampstead home of Erno Goldfinger pays tribute to his brilliance at design.

Award-winning furniture and object designer Michael Marriott has created a plastic wall hook called the Erno in homage to the Hungarian-born architect of London landmarks such as the Balfron and Trellick Tower.

As part of the London Design Festival, the Dalston-based designer is showing his latest creation at 2 Willow Road the modernist home built by Goldfinger in 1939.

Marriott took inspiration from Goldfinger’s working methods, fluidity of form and choice of colour.

“I am a big fan of Goldfinger, and the house is striking, beautiful and powerful with lovely attention to detail,” says Marriott. “One of the reasons I am interested in Goldfinger is his awareness of scale – he did a few pieces of furniture, a door handle, small things in his house that are fantastic examples of how he grasped the difference between designing a handle and designing a building.

“Rather than just applying the stylistic element of a building and making a smaller version, he really got that a handle should be comfortable and sensual. He understood the functionality of objects how people use them and how they sit in spaces.”

Marriott is also impressed by Goldfinger’s focus on the “humanity of buildings”.

“He’s known as a brutalist but I don’t think his buildings are brutalist at all. People who live in them love them. From a user perspective he understood sensuality, where a light switch was placed, the use of different materials in different spaces.”

He points out that Goldfinger temporarily lived in the Balfron to test out his design.

“He was genuinely using it as a protype to analyze the decisions he had made. To live among his clients, be there and take the flack when the bin shoot got clogged up, was unusual.”

The 53-year-old, who also stages exhibitions at venues such as Camden Arts Centre, plans to sell the hook but is treating the display at Willlow Road as an installation. The red references the walls at Willow Road, cast iron weights, refer to his dining room table, and a screenprint on birch plywood uses construction drawings for the Balfron culled from RIBA’s archives.

“When I had to name the hook, Erno felt right. Goldfinger was very proud of his name and resisted changing it for professional advantage to something less Jewish.”

Plastic Erno runs at 2 Willow Road until October 30.

The property is run by the National Trust. More info on admission times at nationaltrust.org.uk

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