Six playful projects by Gab Bois that transform ordinary objects into tactile art

Canapés Clementine Heels by Gab Bois

Montreal-based artist Gab Bois has compiled her viral clothes and furniture into a new book. Here, she shares her six favourite projects that show surreal compositions of ordinary objects.

Bois’ digital portfolio of conceptual photography has garnered a large following on Instagram, leading to work with brands including Nike, Balenciaga, and Valentino.

Gravitating towards recurring themes such as food, fashion, and technology, the artist’s tongue-in-cheek approach to design aims to challenge conventional ways of interacting with familiar everyday items.

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“As a kid, I had a natural inclination to reimagine the objects around me, constantly transforming the mundane into the extraordinary,” Bois told Dezeen.

“Old boxes became cat hotels, the food on my plate morphed into intricate artworks, and flowers were crafted into beautiful jewellery.”

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“This playful and imaginative approach to the material world laid the foundation for my artistic practice,” she added.

Bois recently launched her ready-to-wear collection Canapés, informed by her previous citrus fruit-related works. Items include a knit sweater with a clementine print on the front, and orange square-toed high heel pumps molded from a real clementine.

“My designs and AI can coexist harmoniously”

Although her carefully constructed designs ultimately manifest online, Bois’ creative process remains driven by tactile interaction with the material world.

“In a world increasingly influenced by digital and artificial intelligence, the tangible, hands-on nature of my practice stands out, offering a unique experience,” she said.

“The rise of AI has, in fact, enhanced the value and meaning of the sculptural and physical aspects of my work.”

“It aids in expanding the possibilities of my artistic practice, allowing me to explore new dimensions and techniques,” Bois added. “The evolving landscape of AI is something I remain mindful of, but for now, I am confident that my designs and AI can coexist harmoniously.”

Below, Bois shares six highlights from her self-titled book, published by Baron Books, which is due to be released in September.

Canapés Clementine Heels by Gab Bois

Canapés Clementine Heels

Released in May as part of a limited drop for her capsule collection, Bois fashioned these molded pumps with the help of Studio Synthétique, a creative consultancy run by designer Amélie Pichard.

In total, 100 pairs of the leather statement shoes were handcrafted and hand-painted by artisans in Italy.

“The clementine heels were first conceptualised in my apartment during the pandemic. It took over two years to bring this vision to life,” she said.

“I created a maquette using real clementines, their peels, and foam, then 3D scanned it with my phone. My goal was to design footwear that was both surreal and a collectible art object, while also being functional and comfortable.”

Lasagna Bow by Gab Bois

Lasagna Bow

From a lettuce ruffle top to a shrimp chain necklace, Bois has embraced the notion of wearable foodstuffs in a number of projects documented on her Instagram.

This lasagna bow was initially intended to be part of a carousel featuring other imaginative pasta-themed imagery.

“Its visual impact was so striking that it deserved its own spotlight,” she said.

“I cooked lasagna pasta and fashioned it into a bow. Sometimes, the simplest processes are the most successful in translating my ideas!”

Scrabble Dress by Gab Bois

Scrabble Dress

All of Bois’ wearable designs are reflective of her meticulous craftsmanship, and ability to adapt inanimate objects of various sizes into new structural forms.

The artist is usually the model for the pieces she creates. Made from wooden Scrabble letters, this dress with matching bag showcases her “passion for games”.

“It is one of the projects I am most proud of to this day,” she said.

“The creation took over two weeks with friends joining in, turning it into a communal game of its own. The process involved drilling four holes in each tile and linking them together to craft this intricate Paco Rabanne-style garment.”

Grass Couch

Grass Couch

Bois’ artistic practice also extends to the manipulation of furniture objects, such as this textured grass couch that camouflages perfectly with its garden surroundings.

Created for a Courier magazine profile, this design project was informed by the idea of making a couch that “whimsically appears to grow out of the ground”.

“The challenge was sourcing a second-hand couch, but we found one on Facebook Marketplace,” she explained.

“Once secured, we placed it in my yard and covered it with grass sod. In the end, the concept translated beautifully in the photograph, and we had a lot of fun throughout the process.”

Banana Leaves Parasol

Banana Leaves Parasol

Drawing inspiration from current trends in her daily life, Bois’ uncanny compositions also embrace the changing seasons and the natural world with many plant-oriented projects.

This parasol made from banana leaves was created during the artist’s 2023 residency at the Palm Heights hotel in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

“I aimed to use existing materials from around the hotel to highlight the natural beauty of the surroundings,” she said.

“We found a discarded broken umbrella on the beach and attached fallen banana leaves to it, photographing it by the water. The entire process took about a day and involved a small on-site team.”

Slush Ice Cream Cone

Slush Ice Cream Cone

Presenting a wry humour and sense of whimsy in her works, Boi hopes that readers of her book will share a same fascination with objects, sparking curiosity and appreciation for the details and stories each piece holds.

For this project, the artist creates the illusion of edible ice cream with snow slush from a  road carried in a wafer cone.

“The snow cone is a cherished memory from my childhood,” she remembered.

“I used to imagine the city snow resembling delicious cookies and cream ice cream. This image is a literal depiction of an intrusive thought I often had as a kid.”

The photography is courtesy of Gab Bois.

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