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Object of Desire: Glamorous Brass Mobiles Inspired by Alexander Calder

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Object of Desire: Glamorous Brass Mobiles Inspired by Alexander Calder

August 7, 2017

Rivka Baake and Wilfrid Kreutz live in an old brick warehouse in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, where they make glittering brass and copper mobiles. We’ve been spotting—and admiring—their delicately balanced constructions all over Instagram, and wondering about the story behind them. Their mobiles, they tell us, are inspired by Alexander Calder’s moveable sculptures (the term “mobile” was coined by Marcel Duchamp in his description of Calder’s free-moving creations back in 1931, long before mobile had anything to do with technology; Hypermobility, a show of Calder’s live-action works is currently on view at the Whitney Museum in NYC).

Baake and Kreutz began their business, Lappalainen, by selling vintage furniture and fell into their current specialty by demand: “We made our first mobile for our own living room,” says Baake, who has a background in art history. Kreutz, a trained silversmith, applied the same skills he uses in creating flatware and bowls to that prototype. “Our friends liked it so much that we got our first orders. Nowadays, vintage furniture has been put to the side because we’re currently too busy making mobiles and sending them all over the world”

Styling and photography by Studio Oink, courtesy of Lappalainen.

mobile m4, \$\29\2.90, is made of brass soldered onto an iron skeleton and is  9
Above: Mobile M4, $292.90, is made of brass soldered onto an iron skeleton and is approximately 120 by 90 centimeters (47 by 35.4 inches).
The couple work in tandem and still construct every mobile by hand: “We work step by step: The brass or copper is cut, sanded, soldered, and then polished.”

copper leaves mobile, \$\233.30 is a smaller variation of the design, measuring 10
Above: Copper Leaves Mobile, $233.30 is a smaller variation of the design, measuring roughly 70 by 70 centimeters (27.5 by 27.5 inches).
The mobiles are for sale via Lappalainen—a Finnish surname borrowed from a visiting friend when the couple’s business needed a name—and also the Lappalainen shops on Etsy and eBay. Shipping charges to the US are very reasonable—$12.28 for this model.

the mobiles are made of unlacquered brass and copper—next month, the couple a 11
Above: The mobiles are made of unlacquered brass and copper—next month, the couple are also going to start working in solid silver. The metals are finished with a high-gloss polish to reduce oxidation. Standard metal polish is suggested to remove tarnish.

white dots, \$\270.\14, is made of lacquered brass. 12
Above: White Dots, $270.14, is made of lacquered brass.
the design is also available as black dots and measures approximately 80 by 70 13
Above: The design is also available as Black Dots and measures approximately 80 by 70 centimeters (31.4 by 27.5 inches).
N.B.: All photographs (and sets and styling) shown here are by Studio Oink, another multitalented design duo—and Remodelista favorite. See their interior design work in Happiness at Home and An Earthy and Ethereal Apartment Makeover

brass dots is \$\270.\14. on request, the couple will make mixed material mobil 14
Above: Brass Dots is $270.14. On request, the couple will make mixed-material mobiles; they’re also willing to create custom sizes.
Stay tuned: Baake and Kreutz are currently at work developing a Lappalainen lighting collection. Follow them on Instagram at @lpln.de.

For more inspiration, browse our Art & Design archive, including:

And on Gardenista, take a look at Dutch Painter Maaike Koster’s Portraits of Houseplants.

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