To collect can have several purposes. To have the objects of design, to preserve the memory, to exhibit variations of a common theme. A collection can also have an emotional value, a historical importance as well as scientific, but most of the times fascinates for the variety and beauty of the items.
Examining his exquisite work of joinery and his devotion to his daily raw material, the carioca artist and designer Rodrigo Calixto developed the Xylotheque Brasilis. Literally defined as a wood collection, this xylotheque goes much beyond the traditional assortment.
The work is an initial selection of fifty wooden cubes (7cm x 7cm x 7cm) having each species name engraved. Suspended in a light acrylic structure, it consists of a large spectrum of meanings and senses. We can simultaneously define it as artwork – an object full of style – an sculpture, and an interactive piece of contemporaneous design.
On top of that, this Xylotheque is a scientific inventory of rare trees that are scarcely seen. Maybe a biology tutorial, that impresses us when showing that the wood can, naturally, have colors which vary from dark purple to an intense yellow, as well as different weights, textures, and perfumes.
Given the difficulty of gathering some species – several are not anymore commercialized – only few were produced, numbered and signed. As a good collector, Rodrigo Calixto found some of these woods in demolished buildings and also brought samples from his travelings around the country – one of them from a pataxó tribe, in the state of Bahia.
The choice for the cubic format was not aleatory. It reveals the three wood cuts – top, radial, tangential – which bring the marks of the structure and the memory of the tree, making possible its recognition, study, and contemplation.
More than a collection – and the value of being practically exclusive – the Xylotheque Brasilis promises to its buyers surprises with time. One of Calixto’s promise is to complete the empty spaces with new cubes, new wood species, which will arrive by mail after new “discoveries” made by the artist. Given that the cubes are removable and can be reorganized in the structure, after each delivery a revelation and an additional tactile and visual feeling.