Designer stairs in the Kreo gallery in Paris

phey hang from the ceiling the names of those who influenced and inspired fashion designer Virgil Abloh in his short life, who died so young: rappers Soulja Boy and Lauryn Hill, singer Ella Fitzgerald, trumpeter Miles Davis, Nigerian Fela Kuti, who founded Afrobeat as a musician , as well as basketball player Michael Jordan and author Akua Njeri among many others. They all have one thing in common: they are black, just like Abloh, who died in Chicago last November. He was the first African-American to take over the artistic direction of men’s fashion at a French luxury fashion house, Louis Vuitton. Shortly before his death, the bright orange rope ladder was created, the individual rungs of which adorn the names of the personalities. The title of the work: World Leaders – i.e. “leaders of the world”, especially Abloh’s world.

The work is part of an exhibition at the Kreo gallery in Paris, which is called “step by step”. A number of well-known designers have experimented with ladders. A number of designs such as Marc Newson’s Carbon Ladder have already become modern classics. The Australian designed the super-light yet very stable ladder made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in 2008, and Karl Lagerfeld also owned one of the black wall supports. The Swedish designer duo Front (Anna Lindgren and Sofia Lagerkvist) use a wooden ladder to remember their childhood when they both climbed trees. As if by chance, they have merged branches into an artistic climbing aid. The Frenchman Pierre Charpin also lets us climb up a very simple wooden ladder. He has crowned his Lassu ladder with a mirror; if you want to look at yourself, you must first strive for something higher.

The London Calling library ladder by German designer Konstantin Grcic was also created in 2014. He was inspired by the old red double-decker Routemaster buses that in the early 1990s, when Grcic was studying design at the Royal College of Art in London after completing his carpentry apprenticeship, drive through the metropolis. What was particularly striking to him were the spiraling, narrow stairs leading up, which the Munich native often climbed to explore London from the front row. He modeled the steps for his ladder in solid oak.

Just this year, the Dutch textile artist Hella Jongerius has designed her hanging ladder Twisted Steps, which she has woven together from among other things wool, linen, paper and nylon threads. This work was also created for Galerie Kreo. Most of the limited works by more than 20 artists and designers can be seen in Paris until November 5.

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