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HoT - History of Things


When we love something, we want to know the story behind it… as told by the designer himself

The story of this piece of furniture starts with my curiosity about pentagons and the way they are used in tessellation, the tiling of a flat surface by geometric shapes, very simple ones in most cases: square, rectangular, hexagonal – like red clay tiles for example …


However, the pentagonal shape is a very different matter, for it is extremely difficult to create a regular pattern with pentagons. Indeed, the problem of pentagonal tessellation goes back thousands of years and can be solved with mathematical formulas only.We can easily say that there have been mathematicians who went almost insane in search for a solution to the problem, as a regular pentagonal tiling is not possible.


If my memory serves me well, I seem to recall that five pentagons, whose shape makes it possible to arrange them in regular tessellation, date back to antiquity.Then, 3 or 4 others were invented by Arab mathematicians around the 16th or 17th century and then at the beginning of the 20th century an Asian mathematician found two more …


And then, nothing, for a very long time, mainly because basically, this is like a hobby, the solution of this problem bearing no major outcomes in any relevant field.


Then one day, in the 70s, a retired Canadian schoolteacher, with plenty of free time, set her mind to it and started looking for a formula…And she found it!Her name is Marjorie Rice, she found the new pentagonal shape that you can see in my work.


This is a very beautiful story, because, let’s be frank: who cares whether there are 13 or 14 or 15 pentagons?The beauty of all this, is that someone who spent her life teaching children how to draw a triangle, one day took a pen and a piece of paper and said “I am going to find the thing which so many people searched for in vain” It’s a wonderful story and a big inspiration!


Moreover, if we look at all the other pentagonal shapes created in history, they all are very elongated, thin, almost sharp, like crystals, which makes the pattern very …“nervous”, unsettled, not peaceful. I wanted instead a more soothing pattern, whose logic is lost in the bigger picture; you don’t see its math, so to speak…Oddly enough, to me, this is a very peaceful pattern.


So, once the matter of the pentagonal tiling settled, I chose four contrasting types of precious wood – ebony, sycamore, amaranth, pear – and worked on the marquetery…The title Autumn, came naturally to me…



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