Multidisciplinary design studio +tongtong has launched a series of clothing racks designed to be highly flexible and playful in a variety of environments. The geometric welded steel collection features freestanding units weighted toward the wall, offering highly stable units that are movable.
Originally designed for a Toronto clothing retailer’s first storefront location, Les Ailes Noires was envisioned as a mobile system that could adapt and reconfigure to different events and applications in the store. “I was trying to create something that was more than a hanging rail on wheels or wall system,” says +tongtong principal John Tong (whom many may remember as a founding principal of interior design firm 3rd Uncle Design). Inspired by the simplicity of simple black line drawings, and how these lines can communicate three dimensions, Tong explored a series of shapes that play with the sense of spatial and volumetric perception. The matte black finish further accentuates the shapes’ spatial ambiguity that fluctuates between two dimensions and three. “But when you engage them, when light interplays with them and shadows are cast, when you move around them and actually put something on them, the assumed volume and perspective unravels,” says Tong. “Les Ailes Noires is French for black wings, and that for me is a reaction to how these things seem to move when you walk around them. They don’t flutter, but they have the lightness of wings.”
Les Ailes Noires is designed for a variety of residential, special event and commercial retail environments and includes 11 pieces, including a full-length mirror, a wall-mounted sideboard with glass shelf, a ceiling-hung rack and eight freestanding racks. The freestanding units feature rubber feet and wall bumpers, and by nature are weighted to lean against the wall solidly without the need for screws or any hardware. This allows the units to be easily moved and reconfigured simply by tipping them forward and lifting them. Made of welded 19×19 millimetre steel bars, the pieces are available by special order in flat black, white powder coating or polished chrome versions.
“It’s about changing ones perception,” says Tong. “It’s taking something very mundane and ordinary and making it something that is special. Something that’s phenomenal and playful.”