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Omnia Vanitas


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Omnia Vanitas


What started as a humorous riff on a podiatrist client’s plastic anatomical foot model becomes a contemporary contemplation on the theme of vanity, which has occupied artists from the Netherlandish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries right through to Marilyn Minter, whose work revels in the seamy, dirty underbelly of the fashion world. The flayed rawness of bones exposes the transience and vulnerability of human existence, which is emphasized by the fact that it is also a cheap plastic simulacrum of the real thing. Slipping this ugliness into a glamorous stiletto with rhinestone-encrusted silver straps spotlights how futile—and in this case painfully deforming—are our attempts to dress up the inescapable truth. This glitz-over-guts sculpture is as barbed as it is humorous.

Concept: John Beckmann
Image: Jessica Marvin
Photography: Jeffrey Hornstein
© 2012 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Oligarch Bullion Tiles


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Oligarch Bullion Tiles


A metaphor for a culture of money gone wild and reckless, these gold bullion tiles provide an especially acerbic commentary on the growing wealth gap. As gold bullion implies the value behind currency, these tiles wryly point to the “one percent’s” inflated self-image and sense of worth. It’s the sort of excess an evil genius like Goldfinger would have in his bathroom. The tiles also telegraph the way in which decoration and design have become new forms of pornography for the global elite.

By making them out of porcelain and covering them with a gold metallic glaze, they instantly and wittily become democratic objects, enabling anyone to maintain the fantasy of having a powder room that looks like a miniature Fort Knox. At the same time, they also allude to desire and trophies, to the way we worship money and celebrity and secretly aspire to the hedonistic life they lead.

Concept: John Beckmann; Renderings: Silvia Tosques
© 2015 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Toy Soldier Barricades


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Toy Soldier Barricades


The threat to just about any place in the world where crowds tend to gather has never been greater. Barricades—of concrete, metal, razor wire, and other materials—have become commonplace presences around national monuments, cultural institutions and the epicenters of governmental and financial power. Axis Mundi proposes to literally animate the barricade concept, making it more dynamic, through the versatile use of 7 to 10 toy soldier shapes in oversized attack-formation poses that would be cast from bronze or fabricated in polished stainless steel. These forms immediately arouse nostalgia and patriotism cultivated in the childhoods of many, as well as the sense of security we associated with them when we were young. For those opposed to warlike playthings, the barrels have been left hollow to offer receptacles for flowers. They can be deployed in closed-rank phalanxes or spread out strategically depending on the level of threat. Their sculptural presence not only enlivens mundane, standard-issue barricades, but also serves to incite contemplation of war, our sense of imminent danger and the forces that we imagine represent it, our own ideas of protection and safety…the list of possible inquiries is endless.

 Designed by: John Beckmann and Lane Lamerson, with Nick Messerlian
©2008 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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AIDS Memorial Park


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AIDS Memorial Park


RIBBONscape, located in New York City’s Greenwich Village, is an urban park, garden and learning center dedicated to millions of New Yorker’s touched by the AIDS epidemic. It is a place for visitors to gather, hope, heal, and remember. The wedge shaped plane of the city block tilts up dramatically from 7th Avenue providing space for a learning center below, and a rooftop urban garden above.

The garden is inspired by the global sign of AIDS awareness, the red ribbon. The form folds in on itself creating a complex woven pattern of retaining walls. Planted among the walls are native New York plants and wild flowers that renew seasonally. A ribbon-like pathway moves through the garden allowing visitors to experience the garden from different vantage points. Along the pathway the walls thicken and vary in height providing places for sitting and areas to place wreathes and flowers. The park provides a living memorial and healing sanctuary for those touched by the global pandemic.

Design Team: John Beckmann, Jessica Marvin
Renderings: Jessica Marvin
©2012 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Una Table


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Una Table


“John Beckmann and David Serero have boldly united new concepts of continuity with function in creating the Una coffee table. The Una design asserts a fresh formal language with the practical and sensual properties of Corian. By experimenting with smart technological manufacturing processes (thermoforming and computerized milling) their work speaks to a new generation of end users. Their gesture is significant, their work concise”. – Wallpaper Magazine

Unique prototype coffee table sponsored by Dupont®, made of 1/4″ thick Corian, computer CNC-milled and thermoformed.
© John Beckmann and David Serero

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Gumby Chair and Lamp


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Gumby Chair and Lamp


Part of the goal of the designer is to bring into being forms that are completely new and modern. Such a feat is often inspired by the invention of new technologies and materials (think Frank Gehry’s titanium undulations, inconceivable even just 25 years ago). At Axis Mundi, 3D printing—which has enabled the concept of transubstantiation to move from the stuff of religious mystery and science fiction into actuality—makes possible the conceptualization of these essential, minimalist and (like Gumby himself) flexible furniture pieces. Rotational molded thermoplastic, another modern innovation, will then make the line a corporal reality.

Designed by John Beckmann, with Jake George
© 2013 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Rothschild Lamps


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Rothschild Lamps


Anarchists, punks and bikers have invaded the Chateau of the Rothschilds!

“Our culture is obsessed with violence, speed and death, so I thought it would be fitting to design a collection of lamps that would be appropriate for theses values. These lamps are a kind of Dadaist prank, following the suggestion by Marcel Duchamp — ‘take something and do something to it.’” — John Beckmann

Produced in various wall, floor and ceiling versions.
Materials: Stainless steel car parts, silk, fur, or hand-painted shades, incandescent lights.
Edition: 15 each, signed and numbered.


Designed by: John Beckmann, Nick Messerlian and Stephanie Durniak
© Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Torus Lamp


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Torus Lamp


In geometry, a torus is a doughnut-shaped surface generated by revolving a circle in three dimensional space around an axis that does not intersect the circle. Examples of tori include doughnuts, life preservers and inner tubes.

The Torus Lamps are produced in wall, floor and ceiling versions. They plug directly into standard duplex outlets and require no special electrical installation.

Materials: Lacquered and silver aluminum.

Designed by: John Beckmann ©2006 Axis Mundi Design LLC