Going Mobile
Suspension art is the design detail of the moment in home interiors
Style / 16 Feb 2011

For many, hanging mobiles tend to spur “memories” of early childhood. And while today’s Gen Z may, in the future, remember only the type of mobile on which they talk and text, the old fashioned kind have become decidedly more adult. Currently receiving prominent coverage on design blogs, variations on the traditional suspended mobile have moved out of the nursery and into the living room.

Himmeli: Typically fashioned for the holiday season, we suspect that the persistent popularity of Finnish straw mobiles called himmeli is tantamount to people keeping up their Christmas lights until Easter. Regardless, himmeli have been inspiring design junkies, as seen on countless blogs, who are praising the organic and whimsical feel of the dangling folk art. With variations in material ranging from traditional straw, string and wire to coffee stirrers and telephone book pages, himmeli mobiles are a cheap—albeit time consuming—way to give movement to otherwise static spaces. For those feeling like they have an afternoon to kill, we found a few how-to’s—though those fluent in Finnish may have an easier time learning.

(Image via Savon Sanomat)

String Gardens: Similar to how “vegetarian taxidermy” is pushing the vertical garden concept, string gardens, too, are expanding the boundaries of modern gardening by taking plants to the outer limits of, well, air. While plants hanging in ceramic vehicles have been popular in homes for decades, progressive decorators are suspending flowers, plants and trees in mid-air, using only string to create the illusion of floating. Informed by a Japanese botanical style known as kokedama, these garden mobiles are catching on globally, in part due to a floral design show that was staged in Amsterdam this fall. Often described as living sculptures, the appearance of suspended plants changes as they grow, finding a surreal balance that appears to defy gravity.

Geometric: Though more in line with the mobiles found hanging over cribs, contemporary geometric mobiles have aesthetes staking out space above their king-size mattresses. One such mobile has been making the blogosphere rounds. The work of Stockholm-based graphic designer and illustrator Clara von Zweigbergk, the Themis Mobile was created in partnership with Los Angeles-based design company Artecnica. Made from paper, wire and thread, each of the five geometric shapes is rendered in equal parts neon and neutral shades, appealing to both children and adults with modern design sensibility. While some may feel like fashioning their own suspended work of art by merely bending an old clothes hanger, there’s no need when the real thing won’t break the bank.

©The Intelligence Group