Laurie Simmons X David Bers FlashCube*

Laurie Simmons X David Bers | FlashCube*
3 E 89 Street

Installation Views


S94 Design launches Laurie Simmons newest object edition FlashCube* – a small desktop light designed in collaboration with David Bers. FlashCube pays homage to the iconic Kodak Pocket Instamatic Camera created in 1963 which introduced an entirely new generation of amateur photographers to low-cost photography and provided revolutionary accessibility to the captured image. The camera continued the series of the Kodak Instamatic Brownie cameras, Simmons’ first childhood camera, which were so popular  that more than 50 million cameras were produced between 1963 and 1970.

With its small and fast technology, the simple snapshot camera was a technology ‘anyone could use.’ The design of the 1972 Pocket Instamatic model contained the 110 cartridge which, with it’s tiny negative size, allowed the camera to have a much sleeker profile (Hence the “Pocket’ name). The true magic of the camera was the flashcube, a module with four expendable flashbulbs, each mounted at 90° from the others in its own reflector. After each flash popped, the film advanced and rotated the flashcube 90° to a fresh bulb. This arrangement allowed the user to take four images in rapid fire succession before inserting a new flashcube.

FlashCube* by Laurie Simmons x David Bers is available in a limited edition of 30 – made of solid honed and sculpted jet marble, a machine cut Steuben crystal cube, LED and packaged in a stamped wooden box that can also be used as a stand for display.

Laurie Simmons on FlashCube:

“When amateur photography exploded in the USA, my father bought Brownie Cameras for my two sisters and me. They hung around our necks like brown plastic necklaces with long brown cords. We understood that we should take pictures of the world around us—to document vacations, parties, friendships, holidays, graduations, weddings—all of life’s so called ‘Kodak Moments.” Those pictures, developed by the local pharmacy, were catalogued in albums to be opened periodically, reminding us of these milestones. I still have all my albums, from the pale pink leatherette books to the more tasteful covers. I have my parents’ albums along with my grandparents’ pictures, a jumble of physical evidence of the obsession to narrate one’s life through images. Point-and-shoot cameras feel like a comforting relic from a simpler time, along with the reassuring pop clunk sound the flash cube made when the light was low. One needed only to learn how to load a roll of film to become an expert.  All the simple Kodak cameras represented a portal to the future and a way to feel a longing for an edited past.

David Bers and I have been trading thoughts on art, architecture and design since 2007. While our collaborative ideas sometimes start as architectural plans, they often evolve and change in the moment through conversation and spontaneous research. I find he both thinks like an artist and thinks out loud, making it easy for me to follow his often colliding trains of thought.We’ve collaborated on art installations, furnishings, home renovations and most recently he built a house for my daughter, from the ground up where we joined forces on interior design.

We’ve always shared a crazy love of lamps and illumination and FlashCube is our first joint lighting project.” –  Laurie Simmons

David Bers on FlashCube*

“Laurie’s and my past discussions have mostly surrounded the gravity of objects and elements of design, their signifiers, and how memory effects perceptions of design. I find this inseparable from the design process, and Laurie is clearly speaking this language. So we’re starting from shared creative ground. This piece is the point of these intersections.

In modeling a camera I move toward the far edge of recognition with the design tools most intuitive to me like materiality, tactility, and proportion. Just as Laurie brings radiant colors and unexpected juxtapositions to bear in her art.

Before the smartphone, we all remember our first cameras. They usually came as a gift and they were always magic. As a child of the 1970s, mine was the Pocket Instamatic.

We‘ve had many discussion wondering if viewers would  “get” the camera. The pocket instamatic was such a technological and cultural flash in the pan. For people of a specific age group it’s a very dear icon, and for others slightly younger or older, it’s not really recognizable.

In the end it is a beautiful, seductive, reductive image of stone, light and crystal.  And for some, a memorial to pop culture, and dead technology.”

– David Bers