'Floræ Folium', a blooming scenography signed by Sam Baron for Tai Ping, at Brera

STIR speaks to Sam Baron, the French designer behind the floral scenography for Floræ Folium, a showcase of bespoke rugs by Tai Ping debuting at the historical Brera district.

by Jincy IypePublished on : Jun 04, 2022

The city of Milan is once again gearing up to welcome an international gamut of designers, architects, artists, curators, students, academicians, creators and design aficionados for a week-long immersion into leading contemporary design. This furniture fair, globally known as Salone del Mobile.Milano, is scheduled to open doors from June 7-12, 2022 at the Fiera Milano Rho in Italy, along with the FuoriSalone and Brera districts which transform into an all-embracing theatre of art and products open to the public. Brera Design Week, on from June 6-12, 2022, gathers and displays varied facets of contemporaneity and promotes the theme 'Between Space and Time', proposed by Fuorisalone.it, augmenting it with their own - 'Designing the Present, Choosing the future'.

This edition will host over 160 events with proposals signed by internationally renowned designers, exhibitions in temporary locations, new products unveiled in showrooms and galleries, to enliven the historic district of Brera.

Borealis rug by Tai Ping to be showcased as part of Floræ Folium at Brera design district, Italy | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
Borealis rug by Tai Ping to be showcased as part of Floræ Folium at Brera design district, Italy Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

For Brera Design Week, Hong Kong-based Tai Ping, a brand of House of Tai Ping, debuts Floræ Folium, a scenography signed by French designer Sam Baron. He crafts a uniquely charged mise-en-scène integrating three original, bespoke and handmade rugs, Regalis, Borealis and Anamorphosis, that play on the technical limits of the brand. Finding genesis in Baron’s watercolour and ink artworks, the rugs are an illustrated interpretation of conventional florals, and will be unveiled in Tai Ping’s Milanese showroom.

Baron brings his experience of being an independent designer and consultant for international companies such as Dior, Maison, La Redoute, Vista Alegre and Hennessy, to the dainty, floral nature of Floræ Folium. For the same, he revisits the origins of his profession - sheets of paper and pencil, pastels, chalks, brushes and colours - which become tools, allowing him to create dreamlike compositions that bloom with abandon as objects. Brushstrokes and inks manifest unambiguously into the subtle nuances within the three rugs born of watercolour and drawing.

Conceptual sketch by Sam Baron | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping | STIRworld
Conceptual sketch by Sam Baron Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

STIR speaks to the designer about his latest creation, his love for reinterpreting traditional methods of construction, craft products, exhibition and interiors, and giving life to works that mix art and design.

Jincy Iype: What underlines the core concept for the scenography of Floræ Folium at FuoriSalone 2022? Why florals?

Sam Baron: The carpet is a central element in this designed habitat, products that are decorative par excellence. I sought inspiration from French classical repertoire, for an emblematic element that I could reinterpret in a definitive, contemporary way - a reminiscence of the Napoleon III style. To prove how unique is Tai Ping's ability, especially in dyes, the brilliance of certain materials, the different heights of the yarns, the tufting technique and the finishes ... nothing could be better than a generous and surprising bouquet of flowers composed of multiple varieties and foliage that comes alive in visual, colourful and convivial aspects.

The Anamorphosis rug | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
The Anamorphosis rug Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: How does your imagined mise-en-scène traverse the technical limits of the brand?

Sam: The idea was to bring the rugs as an object to a next, much more tangible and decorative level. Inside the showroom, the carpets adorn the floor, scale the walls and meander tenderly, everywhere. It also finds resurrection in its myriad, choreographed reflections on mirrored columns. Their swirling colours, shifting patterns, and perceptible textures become the very elements that dress the entire area, as the heart of the space.

Once it opens, we will be able to find out how each carpet blends references parts of classicism rooted in collective memory, confronted with authentic research on modernity. One must not only observe but also imagine, appreciating the best of the know-how of Tai Ping craftsmen, who skillfully employ three colours of yarns to restore delicacy and nuance, especially in the case of Anamorphosis.

The Borealis rug | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
The Borealis rug Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron
Sam Baron’s watercolour and ink artwork that inspired the rug designs by Tai Ping | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping | STIRworld
Sam Baron’s watercolour and ink artwork that inspired the rug designs by Tai Ping Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: One of the three rugs are showcased as a mural. Why was this distinction given to it?

Sam: In the history of art decoratives, carpets were placed not only on the floor but also as tapestries on walls, as decorative pieces. To inject a vibrant, floral and hyper coloured distinction into Tai Ping’s showroom, it was thought as an important characteristic, to offer a similar possibility to the visitors where they could experience the rug designs not only as a product but as an embellishment, a piece of art. In fact, a wall-hung rug, compared to one spread on the floor, actually increases the possibility of appreciation, to notice certain details, hues, finishing and textures.

An existing column was given a mirrored finish for the installation | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
An existing column was given a mirrored finish for the installation Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: How do the carpets "blend the lines between watercolour and tuft, space and its volumes"?

Sam: Entire thanks to Tai Ping maestros, for their intense skills of translating any sort of sketches, drawings or art pieces into a carpet, by routes of quality silk and wool, across an infinite range of tints. The exhibited carpets took about five months to be achieved, comprising a graceful mélange of around 100 different colours.

The carpets took about five months to be achieved, comprising a graceful mélange of around 100 different colours | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
The carpets took about five months to be achieved, comprising a graceful mélange of around 100 different colours Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: What emotion or reaction would you attach to the objects on display?

Sam: The entire space and its scenographic womb is about creating an immersive experience, where the carpet is the protagonist. It seeks to place you in a tri-dimensional world of wonderment, where the fragility and delicate beauty of flowers draw you in, in an evanescent yet drawn ambience.

Inspiration sketches for the carpet designs by Tai Ping that will be showcased at the brand’s Milanese showroom | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
Inspiration sketches for the carpet designs by Tai Ping that will be showcased at the brand’s Milanese showroom Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: What features of classism did you draw from for Floræ Folium?

Sam: French art decorative history has an abundance of floral patterns. Anamorphism was inspired by Greek myths and classical aesthetics, as well as the golden age of Italian renaissance, and this collection blends both aspects.

Jincy: Can you take us behind your creative process of designing this architectural staging for the floral carpets?

Sam: As the collection was to be presented in Milan, I paid a visit to the Tai Ping showroom at the onset. There is a central column which links the ground floor to the mezzanine, which formed the starting point for the idea of the designed space. I would not say it came as a constraint – it was an out of place feature that I wanted to embrace in the design, and turn it into a desired peculiarity. Then began my research for references, both French and Italian art histories that became the impetus for my watercolour works, flowing into a collage in a contemporary manner.

The designs draw from French art decorative history which has an abundance of floral patterns | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
The designs draw from French art decorative history which has an abundance of floral patterns Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Specially designed to emphasise the lines and architectural features of the stark white, bare showroom, the three works take full possession of the space, connoting the rugs with a much broader meaning than a simple accessory. Their stage and almost mesmerising presence allow the product designs to assume a majestic dimension.

Jincy: How does your experience in design, encompassing products, exhibitions and interior designs, as well as your collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton, and Dior, feed into this scenography?

Sam: I approach all my works as a fresh, white canvas ready to be touched and coloured to life. Sometimes there are challenges along the way, but it is refreshing to be always ready, attempt things a little differently than before and arrive at fresher destinations. It is also important to understand the capacity and capabilities of a brand’s ethos, like in this case, to highlight and re-invent them, and myself, in the process.

Closeup of the bespoke Tai Ping rugs | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
Closeup of the bespoke Tai Ping rugs Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

Jincy: What are you looking forward to the most, in the upcoming edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano?

Sam:Celebrate the post-pandemic good vibes with fellow designers and design enthusiasts, experience the energy of Milan in glory, and contribute to our industry that suffered in the past two years because of the pandemic. Also looking forward to exploring and experiencing works that have been crafted with attention and care towards the planet, and most of all, discovering and learning.

The rugs have organic patterns and flowing hues and is designed as an art piece more than a functional object | Floræ Folium by Sam Baron for Tai Ping at Brera | STIRworld
The rugs have organic patterns and flowing hues and is designed as an art piece more than a functional object Image: Courtesy of Tai Ping, Sam Baron

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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