The Haas Brothers talk about their work on the Rihanna book
The artists tell Artspace's Loney Abrams about the bespoke mounts they created for the Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon edition
The Rihanna book is out now! Our stunning visual autobiography invites you into the world of the nine-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, songwriter, actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.
Limited-edition formats of the book are held by bespoke mounts created in close collaboration with renowned Los Angeles-based artists chosen by Rihanna, The Haas Brothers who are represented by the Marianne Boesky gallery.
The Fenty x Phaidon edition, featuring a fabulous black-and-white photo of the icon on the cover, is accompanied by “This Sh*t is Heavy,” a custom tabletop bookstand in the style of Rihanna’s signature hand tattoos ($175).
Meanwhile, the Luxury Supreme edition, an oversized book (numbered and signed by both Rihanna and The Haas Brothers) rests on "Drippy + The Brain," a custom cast-resin tabletop bookstand ($5,500). These limited editions created in collaboration with The Haas Brothers add yet another layer of opulence that's hard to resist.
Artspace's editor-in-chief Loney Abrams chatted recently with Niki and Simon Haas, about their collaboration with Rihanna, and their innovative approach to this exciting project.
You collaborated with Rihanna and Phaidon to produce some very special, very beautiful limited-edition bookstands. Can you walk me through them? Simon: One of them is a bookstand for the Fenty x Phaidon edition that is based on Rihanna’s hands and her tattoos. The hands are open and the book rests on them, so it’s like she’s handing the book to you. I'm a huge fan of hers, and I’ve always thought her hands were very important. She’s got iconic hands.
So you were a big fan of Rihanna’s before you started this collaboration? Simon: I've been listening to her for many, many years. One time I was getting an MRI, and they asked me if I wanted to listen to music. Immediately I was like, I want Rihanna. I think she’s so fucking cool. Anyways, the second stand, for the Rihanna: Luxury Supreme edition, is gold-toned, and it’s got little flanges that Niki sculpted. We based it on Doctor Zoidberg from [the animated television series] Futurama. It’s one of the shapes that we return to a lot. It looks a little bit like a splash, and it has a pillow on it that is covered with a vermiculated material.
Niki: “Vermiculated” isn’t a term that normal people use.
Simon: Oh yeah, sorry. Vermiculation is something that we do that is basically two layers of fabric that are sewn together in a very specific pattern, and one of the layers is shrunk. Vermiculation is typically a term used to describe a technique that stone carvers use in Paris on the corners of buildings. The Brooklyn Museum has it too.
Niki: It’s called vermiculation because it looks like when vermin or worms eat through wood. Vermiculation is typically a 3D relief, and Simon took it and made it a 3D fabric texture in a sculptural sense, rather than a relief sense.
Simon: We also worked on a book cover also using that same vermiculation process. One of my favorite parts is the endpapers in the book, which have a print of the vermiculation pattern in clear gloss over black paper. It shimmers almost like a spider web. And it has her name hidden in it. It's really beautiful.
Take a look at Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon in the store and look out for our interview with the designers of the book Jonathan Barnbrook and Marwan Kaabour of Barnbrook Studio on Phaidon.com next week.