When designer Robert Langhorn was crossing the street one day, he saw a live bullet and the proverbial light bulb went on. The Rem vase was the result, the name an abbreviation of Remington – the style of bullet casing that the vase is based on. Not only is this vase of interest because of its origins, but because these very origins can be so easily missed. The vase is very elegant and the creamy white version is almost reminiscent of a milk bottle. Langhorn’s other designs are just as creative, such as the Trench table or Work, Rest & Splay garden fork/seat, but none as provocative as the Rem.
What was the inspiration for the bullet case vase? What are typical reactions when people realize that the receptacle holding something that is symbolic of life and beauty immediately brings the opposite to mind?
The notion of deadly weapons as consumer product was the starting point for the project. Being from the UK, I find it fascinating that I can go to a big-box store here in the US and buy toilet paper and ammunition in the same place. On a personal level, as products, I find arms and ammunition repulsive, but as a designer, I find that there is something seductive about their forms, color and texture. Usually, people buy them and then conceal them in bags or closets or under their beds. I wanted to see how it felt to live with these forms openly in a domestic environment. Mostly, when people look at it, there’s a subconscious understanding of it’s origin but it’s only when they pick it up and see the case stamping underneath that it’s true identity is revealed. This is the tension that I wanted to achieve. People’s reactions have ranged from quiet confirmation of their suspicions to outright revulsion.
The world is already full of 'stuff' – as a designer, why do you choose to create more?
I ask myself this question with each new project and the answer I keep coming up with is that it’s a means of communication and a way to process and make sense of what I see around me. There’s also something really gratifying about making your thoughts tangible and seeing if they’re meaningful to others.
Work, Rest & Splay.