Soma: design abstractions from within the cell by Abid Javed

Partner Programme

21 — 24 Sept 2023

Multi-Disciplinary Design, Art / Collectibles

The Batsford Gallery

266 Hackney Road


E2 7SJ

Select-Works celebrates Soma, an exhibition by Abid Javed at the London Design Festival

Select-Works is delighted to announce the opening of Soma, the debut exhibition of scientist and artist Abid Javed, as part of the upcoming London Design Festival. From the 21st - 24th September, Soma celebrates Javed’s unparalleled blend of science and design, through an ambitious collection of ceramic sculptures, lighting installations and furniture designs. As a research scientist specialising in molecular biology, Javed reimagines the microscopic cellular forms and biological narratives he sees in the laboratory, giving them new identities as sculpted clay bodies. Recognised for his ‘molecular objects’, the scientific expert and sculptor shares his unique insight into the fascinating world that exists under the microscope, bringing this unseen world to light through abstract ceramic forms. Javed’s first solo exhibition, Soma: design abstractions from within the cell, invites the viewer to enter the inner walls of a cell, to explore its rich dynamic landscape, and to gravitate towards the powerful genetic centre, the nucleus. Much like the fluid body of a cell, the space becomes host to a microcosm of cellular and molecular networks, demonstrated as sculptural ceramic bodies existing together as one. The starting point of Soma begins with sculptural ceramics as cellular compartments, the parts of the cell tasked with collecting and transporting vital information as precious cargo. Journeying through the space we follow the complex inner workings of a cell, travelling via cellular vesicles, to molecular motors, and finally to the tubular Pleomorph sculptures, genetic structures informed by DNA - found at the central nucleus. “It’s almost as if you are bearing witness to an abstract landscape, filled with microscopic species from inside a cell. Just like a virus entering inside a cell” For Soma, Javed has produced two new bodies of ceramic works, the Cellular Compartment and Genetic Pleomorph series, and has also referenced past Pleomorph collections, with the introduction of lighting, furniture and other materials including metal and beeswax. Highlighting the largest body of ceramics by the artist to date, the exhibition features never-seen-before vessels and vase designs, wall sconces, table and floor lamps, sculptural stools, mirrors and hanging mobiles. “I want people to come away feeling inspired. Seeing new shapes and forms that can make you feel and wonder. I want people to experience the beauty in ceramic textures combined with other materials, made into functional objects or just sculptures.” Javed’s ceramics are created using white, black and brown stoneware, demonstrating a soft neutral palette, allowing the pieces themselves to take centre stage. Built by hand, each ceramic piece is made using a combination of pinch, slab and coil techniques, before being sculpted into their final form, ready for firing in the kiln. “The exhibition is both visual, textural and conceptual. I would like people to come with open minds in terms of thinking what design objects can be, and how biology can redefine design.” Soma: design abstractions from within the cell, 21st-24th September at 266 Hackney Road, London, E2 7SJ.