Joyful spinners

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

My studiomate Rikki sent me a link to these joyful spinners months ago and I’m just now getting to post them. The installation is Les Danseuses by Swiss design group Atelier Oï, and it was displayed in the Vitra showroom in Zurich. (It looks particularly gorgeous in these photos.) They remind me of flamenco dancers or whirling dervishes, and they make me wonder what other wonderful things you could create with a bare ceiling fan mount as a starting point.

Something about the display reminded me of these striking images from Prada’s “Waist Down” exhibit from a few years ago.





The displays are delightful acts of transformation. Arranged this way, the pieces cease to be skirts — they are visual metaphors: a cabbage leaf, a tutu, a circular painting, a textile doughnut. Then, while digging up the images, I found that the Prada exhibit, designed by OMA, used an identical spinning device to the one in the video above to show some of the skirts, right down to the mirrors on the floor reflecting upwards.


Which came first? The Prada exhibit occurred in the mid-2000s, while the Les Danseuses is dated 2009. Is it a creative homage or just a case of “great minds think alike”? I dunno, but for me the edge goes to OMA for execution. I guess when your raw material is Prada, it’s pretty tough to make it look anything but beautiful.

What else could you put on a spinner? And what else spins? I’m envisioning some kick-ass joyful store displays using record turntables, toy tops, and a merry-go-round…

January 5th, 2010


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