Double Game

The Machado Muñoz Gallery space was the starting point and inspiration for Double Game exhibition: Totem and Rayuela marble. On one hand, Totem is presented as a collection of lamps. On the other hand, Rayuela this time steps back on behalf of the sculpture made literally out of the same marble pieces as the stool itself.


“These days will be exposed in Madrid, at the Machado-Muñoz gallery, the latest work of sculptor and industrial designer Álvaro Catalán de Ocón. Rayuela, an installation with a stone carpet headed by a column and stools, also of stone. And Tótem, a collection of incredible small lamps made of translucent and transparent methacrylate.

Rayuela a carpet? Tótem a collection of lamps? To me they are the carpet and lamps of Aladdin himself, able to fascinate us of how wonderful they are.
On the carpet of precious stones, White, black and grey, stands there, presiding it, a Brancusi’s column that with its beauty makes time stand still. The whitest column, made of white statuary Carrara marble, impresses. And when it’s touched by the light, it acquires a certain sacred character.
The author tells us that after lifting the column, with the leftovers, he developed those seats able to compose as a blessed checkerboard, which together create a suspended plane that by repeating the pattern of the carpet, produce a very effective optical effect which raises its beauty to the sublime. After we learned that before, when he was working on these pieces in wood, the process was the other way round: he made the stools starting from a block and with the leftovers emerged the idea for the column.
The column is like a white cloud that raises geometrically to the sky as the Bible columna nubis. We can read in the Exodus, chapter 13.21-22: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way. The pillar of cloud by day never left its place in front of the people.” Like this white marble cloud is the precious column of Álvaro Catalán de Ocón.
And the lamps are not lamps. They are sculptures made with light, with only light. What some architects would like to build with our work, this damn sculptor makes it in front of us with some diabolic geometric layouts that make us levitate.
At this stage of the game it’s not easy to find something surprising in the world of art. And less if the surprise comes together with the serenity and calm that
transmit the works shown to us. Well this morning where the dog days of August have dropped a bit, when I visited the exhibition of a few pieces of the sculptor, (industrial designer?) Álvaro Catalán de Ocón in the Machado- Muñoz Gallery, I surrendered. Few pieces with great intensity and sublime beauty. On the splendid column presiding the exhibition as if custody of a secular altar were, it seems that the sub umbra alarum tuarum Psalm 16 was written on the walls. Underneath the wings of Brancusi, of course. The polyhedra of white statuary Carrara marble seems to claim for following his ascension to infinity seeking beauty. So the author confesses me. Its author, sculptor? Industrial designer?
Many times I have asked myself if Bernini was a sculptor or an architect. Because if as an architect he is the universal master of baroque, as a sculptor he was sublime. Bernini was architect and sculptor.
And now, here, I wonder: Is Álvaro Catalán de Ocón sculptor or industrial designer? Because if as an industrial designer he is top, as a sculptor he is sublime. Álvaro Catalán de Ocón is definitely a sculptor and an industrial designer
I must confess that I have greatly enjoyed visiting the exhibition. That I found that his magic lamps flew through the air.
That his flying carpet carried us to the most universal history.
That his column, I don’t know any more if Brancusi’s or Trajan rose until lost in infinity.
That his stools were no longer stools but the three fingers of Rodin’s God that lay on the ground.
N.B. I recommend that after marvelling at the beauty of the marble stools, see his version in bronze, with a nearly impossible colours and textures, caress them and be transported to another world, the world of artistic creation whose secret has Alvaro Catalan de Ocón”


Alberto Campo Baeza

Double Game Totem

This piece is a criticism to the way some bulbs are being produced after LED lighting has came out to the market. These bulbs are no longer conceived and designed from a technological point of view, but they turn into an entirely formalistic and almost sculptural design exercise. LED bulbs -and specially this Philips model- have a LED pointing vertically with a methacrylate element which collects and bounces light. This last piece was shaped like a filament in order to reproduce the image of the old incandescent bulbs. Moreover, this bulb has a totally dispensable glass dome, which was meant to house the filament in a vacuum inside the traditional bulbs.

At first sight, the Totem lamps could be interpreted as sculptures; nonetheless, they are not illuminated objects, but light sources. They present themselves at the same time with every characteristical element of both a displayed sculpture and a lamp. This way, we can associate the glass case with the lampshade, the plinth with the stem of the lamp, the base for the sculpture with the lampholder and the “sculpture” itself with the methacrylate “filament” and glass dome.

These pieces have a sculptural vocation, both visually as metaphorically. We were driven to create an allure of fascination towards the object, paying careful attention to all details such as finishes, light reflections, transparencies and precise edges. But at the same time, out intention was to stress its dual identity as a lamp/sculpture, by clearly showing the cable and switch button instead of hiding them.

We expect that once a Totem finds its place in one´s home, the user naturally switches it in order to light up the space as he would do with any other lamp.

Double Game Rayuela

This project was the opportunity to apply the finest and most honest material to Rayuela. On that occasion, the exhibition space was having a great impact on me and a strong presence in my career as a designer, since it was the first time I was hosting an individual exhibition at a Design/Art gallery.

The marble floor, as the starting point of the project, elevates itself as an island of Rayuelas which hypnotically floats over an infinite floor of the same material. In the very center of this carpet-like floor, we placed a sculpture reminiscent of Brancusi´s Infinite Column. These three elements (floor, stool and sculpture) come from literally the same pieces of marble where leftovers are no longer considered as such.

The idea behind this project was to turn the concept round and present the sculpture as the protagonist of the show rising over the hypnotic floor. The stools were strategically placed so that anyone could sit and admire the sculpture.

Double Game Rayuela was conceived as a game of perception, where the observer feels confused about what piece is the protagonist of the show. Both sculpture and stools could be made out of each other´s leftovers.

Which one came first? The stools or the sculpture?

Double Game Details

Composed of Marble: Marquina, Carrara
Statuario Grey Preto
Dimensions 42cm x ø 34cm
Edition of 8 pieces, 2 artist´s proof