This article was originally published on Domus 1060, september 2021.
It’s a theory. Developed in practice. Evolved over time.
Gradually. Not seen from one day or year to the next; only to be studied over gross periods of time. It’s a ploy, more specifically.
I once read, the greatest way to reduce genius is to immediately recall what something you see reminds you of. 3%, in my canon, is a figurative term in one direction and a literal term in another.
3% is intentional.
3% is experimental.
3% is a luxury handbag laden with holes. I call them meteors.
To design and truly think one can exist in a vacuum is linked to humans’ desire to exist outside the timeline of other humans.
3% is a doorstopper accent for Ikea.
3% is effective.
3% “the theory” is a perception tool against racial bias. See: the hidden assault that hides between or behind words.
It’s a parting from the structures designed to inhibit or constrain.
3% gave us Picasso in his African period. In the same way that it gave us J Dilla and the hip-hop movement that raised me.
It’s the black canon – a collection of ideas meant to remain just so.
3 % is applicable across practices and fields, different media,eras of our history. Our future.
A series of 3%’s brings the classics to modernity. Connects iconsto burgeoning talent.
Original style and invention are two different things. Origin stories varybut methods are universal. It’s a cheat code.
3% is packaging, 3% is marketing.
3% is a single sneaker with Nike, executed 50 different ways.
3% is ultimately self-endowed freedom.
Freedom and 3% are mutually beneficial. One fosters the other, equallyworking hand in hand to add depth to culture, society, policy.
3% is slippery.
The 3% ideology has its advantages. It recalls an eye-to-emotionconnection in the brain and adds an alternate voice. 3% expands ourworld view, without pushing our zones of comfort to the brink. We’reexposed to “new”, but not eccentric or disconcerting.
What the larger ecosystem doesn’t understand is sampling theready-made to make anew.
It’s a crystal sipping cup with Baccarat. A concept car with Mercedes-Benz. A deadstock flannel, screen-printed with Pyrex 23 and resoldfor an astonishing mark-up.
3% hinges on conceptual art and theoretical foundations.Something more than profound happened when a urinal was placedon a plinth. This ripple effect extends past the 4 walls of art, extendspast the age of its beginning.
3% is a shorthand phrase.
It’s a canon of primitivism. See: Picasso, Donald Judd.
It’s moving design forward, which sometimes means taking a stepback.
Caravaggio on a hoodie.
It’s the pre-rationalisation to frame post-rationalisation.
Don’t be confused – 3% is situational.
3% itself is a prototype, just the beginning.
3% is continuation.
3% is change.
3% is social justice, racial equality.
3% is a new status quo.
- Virgil Abloh:
- A fashion designer, artist, industrial designer, musician and DJ, Abloh was born in Rockford, Illinois, in 1980. Currently, he is the chief creative director and founder of Off-Whit e️ (in 2012) and men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton.
- Opening image :
- Virgil Abloh. Photo Alessio Segala