When the L.A. design firm Commune shared photos of its new pop-up in Japan -- a traveling shop and cafe featuring collaborations with Heath Ceramics and"Beginners" director and artist Mike Mills, among others -- what initially caught our eye weren't Mills' limited-edition prints, which are great, but rather a series of fingerprint graphics lining one wall.
It turns out the prints in question belong to the thumb of Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer. Commune uses the thumbprint as a maker's mark, its signature "for anything we do that is handcrafted," Roman Alonso, a partner in the firm, said via email in response to our inquiry. "It's our homage to the Bauhaus school, which is always a source of inspiration."
Earlier this year, Karim Rashid deployed his fingerprint as a graphic pattern for a BoConcept rug. We asked artist Judith Seng about her use of a fingerprint motif for her porcelain Fingerbowl. Responding by email from Berlin, where she is based, Seng said she conceived her piece as a rapid prototyping project for a most personal gift, something that literally has your three-dimensional personal stamp. Her artist's statement further explains: "To consciously give somebody one's personal fingerprint is a matter of trust and empathy."