By Side is an installation where the grandeur and the multiplicity of the folding screen alternates to the ethereal simplicity of the surroundings. The observer actively relates with the structure in a rarefied atmosphere. By Side represents not only a functional object, but one appropriate for the space where it stands. It divides the room into two enchanting areas, where the panels can be rotated to complete both scenarios: one attracts the spectator in a Toile de Jouy enriched with glowing highlights while the other accompanies the viewer in a game of reflections.
Urquiola’s By Side screen seems so perfectly proportioned for the long narrow space that houses it at the Foundation that you could be deceived into believing that it is a site-specific installation. The prolific Spanish designer, who trained with both Achille Castiglioni and Vico Magistretti, took her inspiration from a traditional eighteenth-century-style Toile de Jouy motif featuring a woman on a swing. “I tried not to design an ordinary screen,” insists Urquiola, “a classic panel one, although I was a bit influenced by Eileen Gray.” Instead, it is composed of articulated modules that intersect and create small windows. One side is covered in mosaic tesserae whose variations in colour create a pixelated effect; the other is clad with different shades of mirror.