At first glance, Nick Ross appears to have a great eye for presentation. A closer look reveals a sensitivity to materials that makes bold moves appear delicate. The White Lies console table is a fitting example of such work. For Ross, the project was an exploration into our deep-seated material associations. He looked at marble sculptures by ancient Romans and Greeks, which he believes are often considered symbols of good taste. It’s widely known that these sculptures were painted, and new technologies have allowed us to re-create some of the pieces as they may have originally appeared. Aware that these ‘true representations’ now seem garish, Ross set out to discover whether a new object – his new object – could break preconceptions.
Other Ross projects are also linked to history. A Mirror Darkly harks back to what historians believe to be the first tool used by humans to see their reflections (a ceramic bowl filled with water), while Baltic Gold refers to archaic trade routes. For the latter, Ross researched the Amber Road, a trade route for transporting the yellow-toned resin from Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean, perhaps spawning the Bronze Age in Scandinavia. Wanting to translate the idea into an object, Ross says he chose a bookshelf because it holds a wealth of knowledge yet is not an object of high status. By combining brass with polyurethane, a material that darkens over time, the designer ensures that removing long-stored books from Baltic Gold’s shelves will leave behind only the ghostly shadows of past use.