Photo: Offbeet Productions.
Paola Zamudio of npz studio+ wanted to elevate the arts to new heights in celebration of the iconic Bell Works to honor the building’s rich history of innovation, so as the Lead Designer and Creative Director of Bell Works, she brought on friend and New York-based artist Sebastien Courty for an unforgettable project. Amazed by the building’s grandeur and stylistic architecture, they were soon commissioned thereafter by Ralph Zucker, in honor of Jozef and Jonathan Straus, to create The Fabric of Bell, a subcollection from the in-house art collection of Totem, A Wall’s Jewelry.
Inspired and commemorating the historic original Bell Lab, which was previously a research facility and awarded eight Nobel prizes during its tenure, the project was an innate expression and tribute to Eero Saarinen, the architect of the lavish Bell Works building.
Photo: Sebastien Courty
Upon setting foot inside Bell Works, I was immediately struck by the profound need to pay homage to its storied history,” Paola Zamudio expressed about the artwork. “My collaboration with Sebastien Courty on ‘The Fabric of Bell’ allowed me to translate this vision into a creative reality. Together, we honor the rich past of Bell Laboratories while keeping a vigilant eye on its promising future, all through the lens of my retro-futuristic design philosophy. Drawing inspiration from the Bauhaus art movement and Saarinen’s architectural genius, Sebastien masterfully utilized the very fibers, cables, and artifacts discovered within Bell Labs to give life to ‘The Fabric of Bell.’
Situated at the heart of the building in the atrium, a bustling hub for tenants and visitors alike, ‘The Fabric of Bell’ collection stands as a remarkable testament to Bell Works’ commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. This extraordinary artwork is crafted from 95 percent recycled cables sourced directly from the original Bell Labs.
From the substantial copper cables to the more slender aluminum ones, showcasing an array of widths and vibrant bursts of color including yellow, red, orange, blue, green, purple, and brown, the cables were meticulously cut, repurposed, and transformed into smaller yarns. These smaller strands were painstakingly handwoven on individual panels using a 36-inch floor loom and later stretched across eight wooden boards. To ensure their lasting preservation, each panel was meticulously coated with a clear crystal resin layer.
The art’s intricate design beautifully encapsulates the intricate and interconnected systems of technology and communication that have been at the core of this remarkable building throughout its history.
Photo: Sebastien Courty
The inspiration for the artwork stemmed from the site’s illustrious history as a hub of innovation and experimentation in the realms of science and technology, the iconic architectural brilliance of Eero Saarinen, and the influential Bauhaus Movement.
Sebastien Courty, the creative force behind the artistic creation, marveled at the thought that the very cables he worked with had once served as conduits for vital, and likely confidential, information during the operational period of Bell Labs. In reverence to the hallowed research facility, which had garnered an impressive eight Nobel Prizes, ‘The Fabric of Bell’ was meticulously crafted to seamlessly harmonize with the iconic Eero Saarinen architecture.
About npz studio+:
Originally established as an interior design studio in 2014 by Paola Zamudio, npz studio+ has evolved into a comprehensive creative agency. It engages in various creative disciplines, including creative direction, branding, art direction, graphic design, social media, and event planning.
About Sebastien Courty:
Originally hailing from France, Sebastien Courty grew up in a family deeply rooted in the craft of ceramics and artisans from Portugal. His early fascination with jewelry making ultimately led him to pursue his passion in Paris, where he attended “The National Art School” and blossomed into a multidisciplinary artist. It was during an exhibition featuring the works of “EL ANATSU” on contemporary African Textile that he discovered the vast potential of “textile art.” Courty soon made his way to the United States and enrolled in the “Fashion Institute of Technology,” focusing on textile and surface design.
Since his relocation to New York City in 2012, Courty has become renowned for his innovative approach, which involves combining unexpected elements to transform the overlooked into something remarkably beautiful and extraordinary.