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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Before my sister and I left the house of my parents there used to be a clear structure in chair-composition during the breakfasts and dinners.
A rectangular formed table surrounded by 6 chairs at the 2 long sides of the table. My parents sat in front of each other, and my sister in front of me in the middle of the table.




Everyday this composition was the same (although we tried a few times to change), except of 4 days a year, the birthdays.






The ritual of a birthday was that the lucky birthday person stayed in bed while the rest was preparing breakfast and the living room with as finishing touch the ‘birthday-chair’.

The ‘birthday-chair’ means that one of the chairs was covered in garlands and, very important, the chair was moved to the head of the table.

The chair, a simple and comfortable design by Gispen, inspired by the tube-construction of Marcel Breuer, used in a school, than sold to my parents for 5 guilders a piece, is quite hard to decorate because of the simplicity. 3 days a year it felt like my responsibility to decorate the chair in an artistic and surprising way.


The goal was of course to make the one who’s birthday it was feel important. It was his/her special day. By placing the chair at the head of the table he or she was the boss of the day. By making the chair look special I tried to make the person feel happy and loved.





What I realise now is that chairs can say a lot about hierarchy (throne). What I also think is very interesting is the contradiction between the super functional chair and the colourful (ugly) decoration what change the feeling of sitting totally. Can we consider this as a new ‘design’ chair?

Red&Blue or double Z ?

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Red&Blue or double Z?

A Short Interview with André Klein.


What do you think of the red&blue chair by Rietveld?


“Hmmmm, it was never my favorites. It seems uncomfortable but I must admitted when you sit, its not so bad. But after 20 minutes for me its maximum. And I like Zig-Zag chair much more as a design.”


De Stijl was one of the most significant art movements in the 20 Century in Europe. Especially in Cradle (Holland).

Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck created the most outstanding works for the De Stijl movement.

Gerrit T.Rietveld is a major artist from this period. As he took the movement from a one-dimensional to a three dimensional space. This can is seen in his most famous work the Red and Blue Chair. This represents the three-dimensional space from De Stijls movement.

The Red and Blue Chair has a radical form with perfect balance. Gerrit has taken Piet Mondrian’s painting viewed as one-dimensional painting. And translated it into a three-dimensional art piece. He has used Piet Mondrian grid system to achieve visual balance. The use of Piet Mondrian Bright primary colour palette enforces the structure.

The construction of the chair is important.

The structure of chair looks unstable and seat is quite low to sit on.When people first see the chair they doubt whether to sit on it as it does not look comfortable. But once they do they realize how comfortable it is.

Then the question arises:  For the people who have sat on the chair by themselves. Why they define the experience was comfortable?


As the author Marijke Kuper wrote from De stoel van Rietveld: “First of all, as an armchair, the sitting angle is good. The chair has armrests at the right height and of the right length. The most essential part of chair was the back. The back is long which gives support to the lumbar region and the shoulders. For the people who aren’t too tall could relax their head against the back. What’s more? It create a better sitting situation, combining the chair with cushion. The chair with its logical construction could easily be made much comfortable with the help of some cushions.”

In fact, present standards claims it is not a very comfortable chair. However, it wasn’t Rietveld’s original intention to design a chair for people to sit on it for hours on end. Besides, the culture of sitting experienced a great change. It is completely different between present-day sitting and sitting in the past was, according to the Australian engineer and designer Albert Linschutz in 1928.

Thus, it is not easy to draw a conclusion whether the red & blue chair is comfortable; all depends on people’s own preference and evaluation criteria.

Taking Andre Klein as an example, as his personal perspective, it is not so bad to sit on it. Luckily, I was fortunate to sit on chair. As my own perspective, it was lovely to sit on it, however it was bit difficult to get up due to the low position.


If we assume that the reason Rietveld made red and blue chair was respond to the De Stijl movement or explore De Stijl art movement in three dimensions.

As a properly design of a chair .is it zig-zag chair count, another chair by Mr. Rietveld.


The Zig Zag-chair was designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1934. It is a minimalistic design without legs. Its made with 4 flat wooden tiles merged in a Z-shape using joints.The chair with four rectangular sections, the seat and back are joined by a system of “dove-tailing” or a “comb-system”. This signature design was to become an important addition to many of Rietveld’s later interiors.

When we talk about the quality of a design chair, we cannot only consider the idea but also function. Modeling. Material and other factors are involved. Zigzag Chair as a designed chair was one of Rietveld’s most economic design. The chair is in fact quite sturdy and comfortable. With or without the additions of cushions. These chairs have proved to be very efficient and have served their owner over many years.So far, Cassina S.p.A, an Italian manufacturing company, is still producing the Zig- Zag chair.

Overall, Rietveld makes both Red &Blue chair and Zigzag chair. The same technology and materials; the different outlook and structure are leads to two completely different results


Lets suppose I have those two chairs at same time at my apartment. I would like to put Zig-Zag Chair in the living room and put Red&Blue chair in the study corner. Zig-Zag chair as a designed chair has many more functions. Not only can numerous pieces placed on top of each other but the chair removes the least amount of volume from a room’s space.In my opinion Red&Blue Chair is a piece of art similar to a sculpture. Which is to be admired and appreciated and not used as a functional day to day chair.




Made by material experiment

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I was thinking, writing 700 words about a chair can be really interesting but for me it had to be more than only writing about a chair.

Waste, material, life, renovation, structure, experimenting, design.

A few words were coming up in my mind seeing and researching this chair, so I thought this will be a perfect chair and designer to write about. To see how deep this designer can go into material research, waste and renewable energy. Marjan Van Aubel is one of the designers who stimulates this.



Marjan van Aubel is a designer that makes everyday objects with new innovative ways. She is trying to make people aware of the fact that renewable energy is everywhere. Normally there will be a waste of 50/80% during normal manufacture.  Van Aubel and James Shaw found a way how to use/incorporate the wastage during the manufacture

The well proven chair is a design what is made with a new kind of material. It’s made out of bio-resin and shaving, left over after production of making any kind of wooden furniture. The shavings with the bio-raisin will cause a strange chemical reaction and it will expand into a foamed structure. What gets 250% till 300% bigger than is own size.

By adding color dye and varied-sized shavings from different workshop
machines, a colorful, lightweight and moldable material was created, reinforced
by the fibers in the hardwood shavings.

When I saw “the well-proven chair” for the first time it looked like a normal chair because of the simple legs of the chair but when you see the back it becomes a object. For me it was hard to understand the material. I didn’t know where the chair was made of. The nice structure camouflages the fact that they are actually made of  shavings and sawdust. With her designs she try’s to combine design and technology. She strives for a more renewable life

Well-proven chairJamesShaw+MarjanvanAubel

For me this was a really interesting topic because i didn’t know a lot about this kind of experimenting with material. There are so many young designers working with this way of designing. They are busy with making new materials to make life more renewable. I think these new materials are needed because our resources are running out.

The sitting part is beautiful smooth and I think this chair is nice to sit on and really nice to see. It’s good that the legs are simple so the focus on the sit area.

As an artist/designer she always was interested in how things are made. For me that is the same, also a reason why i feel related to her. I  always want to figure out how it is put together

She was interested by solar panels and why they are so ugly and why they ruin a building. Why are the panels not integrated in the tiles. I really agree with her. When I look at houses with solar panels I directly don’t like the house that much anymore. At her collage time she started a research about energy.


When she graduated from RCA (Royal Collage of Art) as product designer with an inquisitive almost scientific perspective. She graduated with “the energy collections” a set of solar glassware that discharges through a matching bookshelf, which serves as a rather large battery. It’s a vaguely biological ecosystem: the tableware ‘drones’ gather energy during the day, ‘feeding’ the shelf, which can be used to power a lamp or charge a phone. There is so much light coming in, in our places why don’t we make use of it. The real magic lies in the physics: within each glass is a photovoltaic layer of dye Synthesized Solar Cell. This means that the properties of color are being used to create an electrical current Photovoltaic panels are made to transform sunlight energy into electrical energy, but it takes some conventional energy to make them as well. It is a technique based on the process of photosynthesis in plants. Like the green chlorophyll which absorbs light energy, the colors in these cells collect energy. I have a lot of interest in nature for me her work is really good because she interact nature with design. I have a few works i made a few years a go and the are also related to this. For me nature is a important way for making a work.



Her latest project was the current table which was also able to generate energy. For her it is  important that all the furniture she makes also look really good. Also an important part is the integration. Making something that is beautiful, useful and renewable is the main aim of Marjan Van Aubel.






Thread 53’’41’’43’’

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Like with a thread, it’s hard to find its top, it was hard to discover the beginning of this story.

A thread unravels itself on the ground
Its top is hard to find
Persistently strings are being pulled
Hooked on a state of mind
Fingers move on a virtuous trance
And yet no end is found


The thread starts to move around virtual spaces
Auctions and images
Prices and selling strategies
Long, thin and flexible form of material
Draws a series of messages
And sequence of connections


Flashes of images across my mind
From Hitchcock’s Rope dinner masterpiece
To Ernesto Neto’s suspended organisms
And Bjork’s Unravel portrait of decease
Besides, Garth Knight and Andrea Davies bondage motif


All these threads hold our existence together
Link memories to one another
Sprout canons of aesthetics
Create a language of composition

A fine line around the subject


Words like
Height 53’’
Width 41’’
Depth 43’’
Seat height 15.75’’
Starts to seem familiar


Slowly the string unravels into a ball of yarn
A triangular shape collects its pieces
Like a home for sailors ropes
A bow of Vikings boats
A tribute to a freezing place
And heroic seaman’s stories


Scandinavian blood runs through its veins
From 1935 to 2005
Award winning and acclaimed
Under the enchanting songs of the mermaids
Changed its powerful Viking name
To a meticulous fragile Harp sound


Depicted countless times
Spread out on different hands
Has long lost its original traces
Varies from site to site
Bleech, oak, ash, maple or walnut
As coulours come and go
As the costumer pleases


Preserved under the sacred power of museums
Or kept among the noble houses
Once a piece of art
Now a  prototype


Yet far from being familiar
To a southern soul
Where wild oceans and fishing ropes
Scatter along the coast


Hammock nets, swing along the breeze
Fill the air with pine-wood trees
With Hollywood glamour mixed along
A slightly pear shaped frame is born


Taking the name of the place on the globe
Anonymously design,
Acapulco becomes
With its recycled PVC woven cords
Tropical colours and metal structures
Gain its place has percussionist
The southern orchestra member of the Nothern Harp


Memories of gardens and beach
Come along……
White smooth sand, teaching you
How to sit in first hand


Or at the times you had
that white, blue, red, hand painted flowers
in the back of a tiny little chair
The size of half adult leg


With its straws and braided seat
Filled with the popular themes
Of a country of craftsman and traditions
Where you learn how to play hide and seek
At that moment you realize you can sit
Without anyone holding your seat
Unless you’re in a room filled with valuable chairs
And cameras everywhere


The Harp chants
Hypnotize my senses
That Viking treasure
That lays now among other chairs
In such a confined pointless room


I wonder how does it feel to sit on that chair
That same one that JØRGEN HØVELSKOV


Perhaps its transparency blends in
With my pale skinned shoulders
Perhaps my body will
Submerge into those strings
And stripes will be carved along my skin


Like that first chair
marked my silk buttocks
and drawn moving patterns
when I was a restless two years old child


I imagine how my back will melt
Into a flexible wave of relaxation
Like if I was made of clay
And my body shapes would assume the negative forms of that chair


Then those legs, spread out on the floor
like spiders using their glands to shape their web
Would invite me to cross my long legs
And play its imaginable pedals


The chair becomes wood
The ropes become thread
The thread becomes ………………………………………………………….



Who graduated as a Cabinet Maker and Architect

Exhibited for the first time in 1963
Award winning of best design at Copenhagen Company of Joiners
Manufactured and distributed by Koch designs since 2010


my thoughts about bird

Saturday, March 28, 2015


So many times I have seen chairs with an adjustable back; but I have never had any ideas where this design came from. To be honest, I was not so much interested in it, because I never liked it. However, a previous tenant of my flat has left a nice rush chair, which looks like a chair from the Van Gogh`s painting. Suddenly, I became more interested in it, I was wondering if I am having this almost original Van Gogh`s chair, a chair of one of my favorite artists, or at least a copy of it.

a van gogh`s chair

I was trying to get more information in the books and found out that this style was brought into fashion again by William Morris. I have never heard of his name before and became interested. I found amazing the way he looked at the world, how what he was making is directly connected to his perception of life. Suddenly, I found information that he was that person, who has created the first chair with an adjustable back, exactly such type of chairs which I did not like. I also found a picture of this chair and was so amazed by it. How is it different from all the similar latest chairs I have seen!

a chair with an adjustable back william morris`s chair `bird` with an adjustable back
What I liked a lot is that feeling of coziness which this chair gives me. Of course it is very old fashioned and maybe too fancy and frilly, but to me it seems so comfortable and inviting. Usually, I prefer using of minimalistic shapes and simple colours in art and design. But in case with this chair I feel like if I would have such chair somewhere in my old fashioned library, where I would have the same amount of books as Rijksmuseum does, for example, and where I could feel the specific smell of the books or somewhere on the attic, I would sit on it reading, thinking or just enjoying my sitting. It is making a special atmosphere for me because of the warm colors and a middle age pattern with a lot of small details. All its birds, fruit, flowers create a new world, when you look at it for a while. I can remember myself at the age of 5-6, watching the illustrations by Russian artist Ivan Bilibin.

an illustration by Bilibin

They were also quite simple, but because of ornaments it was a kind of imaginary travelling to the fantasy world for me. This chair gives me the feeling of infinite calmness. I think that only peaceful and calm person could create it. That was a reason why I have decided to get to know more about William Morris and what he has done.

Most of the times when I like a lot of some artist`s works I try do not read about this person and don’t see the pictures of his face, because sometimes his biography or facial expression ruins all my perception of his art and then I do not like it anymore. However, it did not happen in a case of Willam Morris. I found his art so organic and so suitable to his life, thoughts, home and even his face. I could not imagine another person doing such art. I also found him similar with one of my favorite Russian artist and writer of 19th century Konstantin Korovin, who was a good friend of Feodor Chaliapin.

a painting by Korovin

He is the second person of whom I was so happy to read, and who also, in my opinion, did not have any dissonance between his art and his point of view, which was quite similar to William Morris`s ideas. Korovin liked the nature and he also was trying to make everything around him beautiful, thinking that natural beauty has a huge influence on people, their lives and behavior.

william morris konstantin korovin

But continuing about Morris, I found his patterns for wall paper and the book designs so elegant. Once he said:
‘I began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye……I found I had to consider chiefly the following things: the paper, the form of the type, the relative spacing of the letters, the words, and the lines; and lastly the position of the printed matter on the page’.

a book design by William Morris

His book designs are so fairy and detailed, although not readable at all, at least to me. But it inspired me a lot and also reminded some of the old engravings depicting plants and animals. I felt like trying to do something similar, something really small and precise and I drew a silly painting depicting a beetle with a boy`s face. Of course it was not a serious work, but still after seeing William Morris`s works I had a lot of thoughts and ideas in my head, which I wanted to immediately realize.

a beetle with a boy`s face
What I found out later and what was quite expectable is that I was not the only person who was inspired by his book designs. So many people were trying to continue work in this style later. For example, such artists as Elbert Hubbard, Henry Nash, W. A. Dwiggins, however some of them had not the best reputation. For instance, a daughter of William Morris May believed that Hubbard was “an obnoxious imitator of my dear father.”

elbert hubbard`s book

It can be true, but I see Hubbard`s books more readable, although less decorative and precise.Anyway, I think it is not that bad, when one artist creates something inspiring other artists, who start using or copying this style in their works. It just shows again a genious of the inventor. Especially, talking about William Morris, who has definitely done a lot for an art in so many it`s fields.

That is very interesting when sometimes, as I wrote before, you could feel not desire of getting more information about something, however then this something can bring you to completely different field which can affect you.

The Egg – Perfectly Laid

Saturday, March 28, 2015



It’s always hard describing a well known person, a song, movie, image, object, etc. In my case it’s a chair. Not only any chair, but Arne Jacobsen’s famous, or should I say infamous Egg chair. So, to get the formalities over with, I will start with some less elaborate reading about Jacobsen’s history.

 Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), was a Danish architect and designer. Jacobsen graduated from the Danish Royal Academy of Architecture in 1927, where he later became professor in 1956. After graduating, Jacobsen quickly became a worldly name. He is internationally best known for his iconic chair design; Seven, the Ant, the Swan, and the Egg.

Jacobsen is one of the few who have enrolled in both design and architectural history .Arne Jacobsen’s breakthrough as an architect came in 1929, with the winning proposal for a competition, House of the Future. The proposal, which was realized temporarily in connection with a large housing exhibition represented the then 27-year-old Arne Jacobsen along with fellow student Flemming Lassen.

As an architect, Arne Jacobsen’s was truly an interpreter of functionalism, with it’s rigid geometrical lines, and white surfaces. Though the rigidness remains in Jacobsen’s architecture, he breaks with it in his furniture design, especially with the Egg and the Swan. His best abilities, are revealed in his way of integrating architecture, and design, what is also known as a Gesamtkunstwerk.

Jacobsen and Animals

I often wonder what Arne Jacobsen’s thought’s were on animals. Looking at his chair design, and especially the Egg from 1958. I can’t help but wonder about the obvious connection there is. Take an egg. Before hatching the chicken is protected by it’s shell, it hatches when it’s ready. And it is exactly the moment of hatching that for me embodies Jacobsen’s design. My first encounter with an egg, was seeing a baby chicken hatch, I was 9 years old. My first encounter with Arne Jacobsen’s iconic chair, was a school visit to the famous Royal SAS hotel in Copenhagen. The apparent connection was clear. Seeing the chair from a distance, brought memories back of the baby chicken hatching. Jacobsen’s egg, provides here the same sort of comfort and protection. The Chair is crafted as one piece, and in doing so, it has the ability, to hold you, almost like a warm hug. When you sit in it, the round, soft ,organic and universal shape closes around you, and gives you a sense of protection. It is a design that is made for comfort and for a aesthetic appeal, it’s truly sculpted to perfection.

The making of a chair



Arne Jacobsen was a veracious functionalist. Largely inspired by one of the main pioneers of modernism Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s. It was especially Le Corbusier’s simple white geometrical buildings with elongated windows that attracted Jacobsen at first.

When Arne Jacobsen drew the egg in the mid 1950′s, nothing like it had ever been produced before, so there was a lot of doubt about if it even could be done. New techniques were produced which succeeded unbeatable, and thus the egg was laid. The chair is casted in hard polyurethane foam, following with the cushioning, and then filling with fabric, or leather. In the first couple of years after production the chair was made without a seat cushion. On the other hand, the seat was more padded. Later on the Egg was applied with a cushion. In 1974 the Egg got a ”face lift”. The 4- foot aluminum was changed, so that it was put together by a aluminum base and steel tube column. Later on the shell was made with fiberglass instead of foam, and there was added a tilt function, which is operated with a discrete handle.

The chair was originally commissioned as part of the interior of the SAS hotel in Copenhagen. Jacobsen was commissioned to design every part of the hotel. This was where his ideas of integrating design and architecture truly were revealed. The chairs in the lobby of the SAS hotel, stand as a clear opposition to the other wise minimal and rigid construction of the hotel. The round curves of the chairs, oppose the straight and linear constraints of the building, which together dance in a beautiful symbiosis. 

Arne Jacobsen & SAS Royal Hotel

The Egg has an enormously attractive quality about it. There is something about the expression of the chair. At first glance, you already know the shape, reminiscent of a falling water drop, a female breast, or off cause an egg shell. It is a recognizable form, we have seen it before. But the eye doesn’t become sated by it. There are constantly new lines, new forms to gaze on. The egg is a true icon, it embodies and represents all aspects and criteria of good design, and just like the hatching of an egg, Arne Jacobsen’s design, and his egg will remain, it really is perfectly laid !

366967e465c15bcf6cc63146317849f3 760043d30d05dd906b1ca60370d78b44

Saturday, March 28, 2015

bruno mathsson pdf

it looks great

Saturday, March 28, 2015


i say glasgow


not the airport.

not the bin lorry crash.

not the coma scale.

not the distillery.

not the east midlands.

not the fishing megastore.

not the grin (interesting, though).

not the herald.

not the irn-bru.

not the jigsaw puzzle.

not the kiss (again, interesting).

not the library.

not the mortality.

not the nino.

not the outcome scale.

not the prestwick.

not the qmu.

not the rangers FC.

not the smile.

not the tragedia 2014.

not the university.

not the vikings.

not the whisky.

not the zip.



it is a chair – a stool – a taburett.



and it is not any famous one.


one of these pieces of furniture that catch your eye and (if you are a good listener of your inner instincts) you hear them scream get me, get me. you do not get it immediately, but time-to-time you stop by the store, to look at it, to walk around it, touch it and in this case – to sit on it – or not – rather be like – it looks great on this shelf. it looks great.

in the end you decide to get this perfect bargain for amazing 34,99 only, which could be easily the price for materials you would use for making your own (and maybe even better).


open the box 

unwrap it


to be honest, the very first sit was kind of problematic due to its construction – the three legs which you firstly have to screw in – oh what a mechanism - i could really make it myself - do not really support the whole weight of a normal adult human being.


it looks great, though.




when getting such piece of design in a big and ordinary furniture store you should be less naive than when shopping at the other places. you should expect the lower price which goes hand-in-hand with the lower quality. but do you ever think of the company or the person who actually designed it? do you think of the people who manufactured it? do you think of the person who cut the wood for it? (not the case here, not the wood, lies) and do you ever think of the driver who delivered your piece to the store?


i tried to think about it. i tried. and I tried to search. and I got to the dead point at the very beginning – who actually created this chair?


no names

no dates

no places


it seems like this chair just appeared to be. and it looks great.


some blunt information about the material and the size, more colour options and the list of the other places where to get it. but that is it.



another way around or a holy piece


the original is made by the american furniture design company called um project, founded in 2004 by Francois Chambard, who seems to be french living in the united states.

(the names of his wife and children in his bio)

UM stands for users and makers.

fch says -  interested in getting his hands dirty, but also by the recognition that the market was craving more personal, tangible products and experiences beyond the conceptual promise of brands.


their name for the chair is holy stool- why – and is not very different from my version – only the material is not some pieces of wood&shit&stuff&glue but pure maple. dipped into the paint (or at least that is how i imagine it) from the bottom up – while my chair is the other way around.


the other potential users experience as same instability as i do with my cheaper version of this stool, while the studio claims that the legs are far apart, which makes the stool stable and perfect for everyday use in homes or offices.

they said – users and makers. 



i am not sure how to feel anymore.

it looks great

saturday morning, mess around me, me in bed.

it looks great

glasgow close to me.

it looks great



confession – i never sit on it. 


piles of clothes dirty clean tidy laptop pills projector bags and purses boyfriend book jacket not me but it looks great


consumer society? are we greedy? or do we just get stuff because it looks great?

it looks great, though.


another confession – i will probably never sit on it. 


however, this has been the first chair that i have ever bought. the first piece of furniture that i have bought for myself only not because i need it but because i wanted it. 


and another confession – yes, we are greedy. 



i need to think about it all over again. 


(the absence of slow-chairs)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This is how I remember my grandfather’s chair. I remember how I used to watch him sit on it. Or, sit in it. The chair was big and my grandfather had then already begun to become tiny. It was as though this chair, with its plumpness, its doubtful green color and its leather cushions pushing into skin, offered him an escape.

Since then I’ve never seen anyone sit and disappear like him.
Maybe people don’t have the time.
Maybe people don’t have the space.
Maybe people don’t have the guts.


We human beings are standing beings; our muscles are constantly at work to keep us up, while gravity is constantly pulling us down. Having this in mind, sitting seems to be merely a way to discharge these muscles, to compensate for the unnatural posture that is ours as a result of evolution.
It is compensation that shows that even though we’re trying (as we are developing new techniques and exploring new ways of enhancement every day) we have not reached the state of super human yet. We are still in some state where we possess human intellegence, but are trapped in animalbodies.
To sit is to accept this animalbody.

- or is it?
It is easy to speak of only physical aspects in regard to sitting. However, as both the brain and the rest of our body are part of the same nervous system, there is of course a connection between our mind and body; these two influence eachother every second of every day.

Having the object ‘chair’ as a framework, I’m interested in how this chair can, being a  specific physical condition, extort or stimulate a specific mental condition. A desk-chair for instance has another mental state as a purpose than a dining chair; there is concentration on the one hand and relaxation on the other.


To explore this, I’ve been sketching chairs I’ve lately come across. Through doing so, I aimed to assemble a variety of chairs, carrying a variety of different appearances, to see what the similarities are.

mrs fast chairs 4


As it turns out, the designs of these chairs share quite some similarities (even though the chairs don’t all share the same purpose). You can see that none of them have armrests, for instance. Partly due to this, none of them seem to be ‘heavy’. All of them are quite small and all fitted in the place where I encountered them.


I feel like these daily chairs, that I will from now on refer to as fast-chairs, trigger two reactions in us;

Firstly, awareness of one’s surroundings: these chairs are in a way elongations of what is already there, instead of autonomous objects. This stimulates a way of living in which one is always cautiously aware of what is happening around him, and therefore less aware of what is happening within himself. Society tends to distract us from ourselves. As we are being placed in groups everywhere and also forced to function within these groups, we are reminded that it is these surroundings that matter; it is the society around you that you should play your part in.

Secondly, these fast-chairs stimulate fast-thinking: the lack of armrests, the light feel; all of these elements make that these chairs are only shortly used. As we rush through the day, we accept the world we live in and try to give the right answers to it. Who still dares to propose deliberate questions, though? Who still dares to sit alone, and be consumed by existential thoughts? Who still dares to disappear, like my grandfather would?

Considering the second reaction, it is interesting to refer to Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose book ‘Thinking, fast and slow’, was published in 2011.
In his book, Kahneman distinguishes two sytems of thought: “System 1″ is fast, instinctive, stereotypical and emotional; “System 2″ is slower, more deliberative, more calculating and more logical. System 1 is much more frequently used than System 2, explains Kahneman in the following interview:

As Kahneman distinguishes these models of thinking, you could also distinguish two types of chairs. Type 1 is the fast-chair I mentioned earlier and Type 2 is the slow-chair ; by this I mean for instance my grandfather’s chair. Because of its physicallities (pointing towards the plumpness I talked about before), this chair was something autonomous: it didn’t need my grandfather to sit in it to exist, my grandfather needed this chair to exist.


Sitting in a slow-chair causes the seemingly paradoxical situation where while surrendering your physical control, you gain mental control. The amount of slow-chairs is however,  shrinking and the level of critical, individual thinking follows the way down. This worries me, because it is just this critical, individual thinking that could possibly lead to new insights. It is just this way of thinking that is extremely important. > I’d say we have to give power back to the chair; and through that, give power back to the individual.

Read the rest of this entry »

In Sync, Act I

Saturday, March 28, 2015




The Mosquito

Friday, March 27, 2015

I am sitting behind a table, in my parents house, on a familiar, comfortable chair. I am used to this seat and it has been around for as long as I can remember. My grandmother got a set of four teak wooden chairs with a matching table as a wedding gift in the late fifties.  I have seen them in two different states throughout my life. My mother was given the set when she was about twenty years old. Feeling that the natural teakwood colour was outdated and ugly she decided to paint the chairs red. The table was not present until recently. About a year ago my mom started to regret her decision to paint the chairs, and had them brought back to their original state. After my parents moved to a new house the chairs and table were placed in their newly furnished home, where they stand in full glory. Ever since then I keep admiring them more.

The Danish designer/architect Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) introduced the munkegaard chair – also known as the mosquito – in 1955, in the Munkegaard school located in Gentofte, north of Copenhagen. The school is considered one of his most important architectural works, within which he designed everything from the light fixtures to the sinks. The chair that belonged to it became an absolute classic. Because of the setting that the chairs were made for, the design is highly functional. They are very easy to stack, which is perfect in places where you have to deal with limited space. They are extremely durable and comfortable at the same time. The part on which your back rests follows the natural shape of your spine. The seat of the chair is made out of pressure moulded sliced veneer. The bases are made of chrome steel tubes. The thin wood is strong but flexible. If you lean backwards, the wood moves slightly with you. The chairs are more than just convenient though. The elegant objects have an inviting look. They are unique in their simplicity with un understated aesthetic quality, which makes them so brilliant. They will complement any decor or surrounding, and bring an edge to any interior. Having only been produced from 1955 until the late sixties (and for a short amount of time in the nineties), they are now back in production again. When you pay attention they appear everywhere. When I was on a holiday in Denmark, I noticed that the chair was used in many different places, from office spaces, to cafeterias, and from the fancy to the less fancy places. Everyone seems to appreciate them.
Jacobsen plays an enormous part in the image we have of danish design, and maybe even design in general. Traces of his work are found mondial, even now still, thirty years after his death. Jacobsen was a man of extraordinary vision, strong ideals and in his time was considered true avant-garde. He is not considered intellectual or analytical in a traditional sense. Jacobsen was a producer; even when he was not working he worked nonetheless. Relaxation for him meant a shift in the creative realm. His output therefore was enormous. As a designer he strongly believed in the ‘form follows function’ motto. Jacobsen was inspired by the works of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius, which is explicitly visible in his own early works. He was also inspired by the furniture of Ray and Charles Eames who worked a lot with bent plywood. Even though Jacobsen is most famous as a designer he never called himself as such, and it is said he had a strong dislike towards the word. A lot of his designs were created in the context of the architectural buildings that they would be placed in.

I see Jacobsen as a visionary, as he played a huge part in designing the environment we live our daily lives in. From architectural masterpieces to simple things we use everyday, Jacobsen surrounds us. He makes things exactly the way I like them. His designs are the perfect formula of functionality, durability, and aesthetics. They are modern simplicity: all that it needs to be and nothing more. His mosquito chair will remain a timeless object that people will appreciate for ever. As for the chairs in my parents house, they are probably not originals, since the design is one of the most copied in the world. Nonetheless I am happy that I have grown up acquainted with such a beautiful piece of design.

Munkegaard school

Munkegaard school

The mosquito chair

The mosquito chair


Friday, March 27, 2015



This is my chair. My research is about the Tube chair designed by Joe Colombo in 1969-1970. First I will introduce the intentions of this designer as a representative architect of that period and shed some light on the ideals behind designs from this time. Colombo was mainly focused on the creation of living systems (Combi- Centre of 1963) that were made to become micro-living-worlds with dynamic, multifunctional living spaces. He was very interested in furniture systems (Additional Living System), as an example the Tube Chair that could be set up in several different ways depending on the users wish!


first impression


One of the things that caught my attention when looking at this chair is the shape. To me it is quite unusual and therefore appealing to think that a construction could be shaped by only using round cylinders. I also found quite interesting the fact that these shapes could be organized according to the position you want at the moment, which to me is fascinating.Also the color of this particular model is very present and strong, adding to the shiny material it is made from. All of these elements create a quiet eye-catching construction.

I would like to research more about the aesthetics of the sixties and early seventies and learn the meaning behind this particular aesthetic and philosophy behind this kind of design.



for whoever knows joe colombo


shiny tubes


shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny

perfect colliding cells of bodies, body parts inside parts of parts of bodies inside shiny parts of bodies, is this a body, is my body this, parts of colliding shiny cells colliding bodies?

or cold neglected manufactures of machines?machinery taped forcefully by robotic aggression or casually naturally beloved shapes holding, sustaining, lovingly enclosing tender body parts?

this is my question when sitting in the tube-chair.

both.none.both and none at the same time

because time is the reaction after this action.

orange tube chair.


I saw lots of similarities between the interior design that is visible in furniture design, decoration and the architectural use of space used by designers like joe colombo during the late sixties/early seventies. here are some pictures to show some representative interiors designed in this period!

Manu 6

Manu 5



some history lessons:

The 70s represented a reaction against against the sleek minimalism and simplicity of modernism and instead sought a  “playful embellishment and radical experimentation with form.” So this meant that functionality had a high importance yet still creating an exciting and almost utopian space. These spaces had unusual colors, shapes and functions as to move towards a successful future of living.Self-expression and individuality were defining for the time. Technology started gaining importance and spaces were used as organisms that were part of their surroundings.

The architecture of the time was also very innovative when it comes to light and space. In many ways, the 70s started the concept of “open plan living”. Many designers reacted to changes of how families were starting to be structured (women started working outside of the house thanks to  technological advances and overall economical growth f.e.) with double-height spaces, open planned living and grand entrances. Many homes had giant windows, spiral or “floating” staircases, interior and second-floor balconies. The kitchens were made to accommodate more cabinets and high spaces. Many kitchens had islands or breakfast spaces, bringing the family into a room that was once reserved only for women or staff. This was a symbol for the slight change in position women were starting to have during this period, that was to be seen in the way the living space was designed by the architects of the time.

During the seventies there was an enormous use of bright colors. Houses became very inviting and there was a lot of eclecticism when it came to the furniture designs and nearly every object had a bright color such as toilets, walls, furniture and decorations which came in several colors .

The 70s was a time of many advances in the design of chairs and office furniture. Designers began experimenting with ergonomic designs for the workplace and home offices. Many Italian Designers were at the forefront of radical and experimental furniture design, using high tech materials, tubular steel, bright colors, and polyurethane plastics.

1970s stuff

• Sleek plastics and high-tech materials
• Avocado green and gold
• Bold patterns and prints
• Stacked stone fireplace and stone walls
• Timbered ceiling beams
• Exposed brick walls
• Metal (chrome, polished steel)
• Geometric shapes and lines
• Thick and chunky masculine furniture
• Fiber optic lights
• Wood paneling
• Skylights
• Atriums
• Indoor gardens
• Fireplaces with elevated hearths
• Big windows and lots of glass
• Wall-to-wall carpeting
• Sunken living rooms
• Wicker furniture
• Shag rugs
• Earth tones
• Brightly colored furniture
• Orange


Manu 7Manu8



parallels to today:




Reading about the sixties/seventies really got me thinking about how much of the ideals and aesthetics I recognize in our contemporary culture today. Some of the things such as experimentation with form, eclectic interiors, technological advances (that are employed within living spaces) and individualistic approach to the design and embellishment of a living space are elements I strongly recognize in our culture today. The first place that came to my mind was Ikea because of the presence it has amongst nearly all of us, as well as its attracting quality it has to people today. Here are some pictures that I thought were representative for the similarities!

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 10.27.30 AMScreen Shot 2015-03-26 at 2.41.41 PM

Here from ago

Friday, March 27, 2015

03/03/2015, 10:00 AM

Fresh morning, makes me want to fill it with coffee and smoke and a nice story. And so we begin this day in a spacious room which is separated from the rest of the studio by this black wall which looks as if it fell from somewhere above and its destination happened to be this studio. It is interesting but Ok, nevermind. Let us sip our coffee from tiny soup bowls and burn it with some smoky inhales of rolled tobacco, as we further dicuss about this centrally positioned chair which put us together in this time and space.


I have first encountered this chair on 3rd of July 2014, during an exhibition and a theater play by Melle Hammer, who at the same time is the designer of this chair. Its cheap and grandiose look caught my attention and kept my eyes staring at it, although I never really bothered to further investigate or question its existence. It seemed cheap in terms of the material it was made of (corrugated cardboard), and grandiose for its physical characteristics and attitude.


As I sit a few steps across from it now, this switch from past to present keeps bouncing back and forth, making me want to finalize my opinion about this chair.  But then again, I know almost nothing about it. Although it is now standing upside down, it seems as if it hasn’t changed much, if at all. Cardboard still has the same brown color, its weight still looks cheap. Only this time, there’s more to see from what its interior structure offers, which is interior support consisting of two more cardboards connecting to form a plus-shaped structure.

And it’s Melle showtime, baby, feed me with words. It’s time for some real storytelling. He starts by describing the very first click he had for this chair, which was a theater play written by him. A monologue, or a dialogue should I say, between the writer and himself and so on which doesn’t really matter, but you get the idea. Anyway, the main point is that the he was trying to design a chair for this stage set which would give enough richness to the play, as if holding the whole scene on its legs.

We have a click. Good. And we have a direction/some kind of a plan. Good. What is the the hint, an inspiration, research, anything to grasp and begin with? A CHESTERFIELD CHAIR. Just some background information. Ok, now we are complete: a click,a direction and a sort of inspiration.

Let us continue with some starting points, you know, that time when you get your hands dirty and make some mess. Before Melle starts telling me how the chair came to existence, he wants to make sure I understand the term „problem-solving“ before anything else about this chair, which has its occurence before design and which was his method of designing this chair. As an example, he puts a fork and a lemon squeezer on the table explaining that both of them can be used towards the same goal, which is getting the juice, despite the fact that their functions differ. Lemon squeezer speaks for itself, while the function of a fork, in this situation, would be „problem-solving“. I couldn’t make a direct connection to the chair, but I could sense my subtle excitement for what the following information is about. And so he introduces me to the problem he encountered in the beginning of the process, that being the money. He could not afford buying one of them chesties only for a one night show, so how one dealt with the problem and tried to find a solution resulted in the making of this chair. Corrugated, brown board costs only 6 euros per sheet (inc.taxes). It’s nice, yes, sharp, but its lasting is not long. Let’s say one year long, which is still enough as it was meant to be used for a few hours. Inside, the board consists of fluted sheets which will eventually deform or collapse through longer usage. During this play, the point of the chair where most power is used is armrest.  At the same time, that’s where a lot of the chair’s strength comes from and it is double-layered. This armrest gives the chair a possibility to be used as a chair. However, real power comes from the interior of the chair which consists of two centrally crossing cardboards in order to support the weight. At this point of the story, I felt the pieces of the puzzle falling into their place, but Melle concludes it by saying that it is not a design, but a matter of problem-solving.


So far the obstacles encountered in the process were solved. Theater stage had its chair, it survived the show, and it met the budget conditions. Everyone is happy. The story goes on, however. It continues with Melle’s decision to take his problem-solving design further, from which breaking and overcoming more barriers followed. The goal is different now, that being to keep the model design of the chair which is strong enough to hold its ground without the interior support. And to last longer. Pure design. What is the key? Stronger material, which is Falcon board. It consists of standing up hextagons and doesn’t need to be double-layered in order to be stronger. It costs 9-11 euros per sheet(inc.taxes). Of course, it comes with disadvantages. Falcon board cannot be cut with machine pressing and immeddiately cutting down because of its high strength, but it would be possible with a plutter which travels slowly and precisely through the board. That said, it needs time and the production costs. However, this production would allow the possibility to print on the board, which further allows customized prints. This makes it into a more industrial product; it gives a furniture-feel and you can have it made with print preferences.

Scale model(corrugated board chair)

Scale model(corrugated board chair)

Scale model(falcon board chair)

Scale model(falcon board chair)



Example of customized print

Example of customized print

I go back to that summer evening when I first saw the chair. I try to recall my thoughts, but it seems like I hadn’t put any effort to study the chair. All I can remember is that it did trigger my amazement for it for the reasons of its cheapness and steadiness. And I wonder, if I were to gain this knowledge about the chair before seeing it on stage, would the amazement still be there, or at all? Would it change my focus on the play? At the end of the play, who would my applaud be forwarded to? I was never exposed to much information about the chairs and their existence but the information keeps being present all the time, either verbally or visually. It took two events to broaden my perspective and make me question what lies beneath their designs. Through Melles story; the whole process of deciding about the material, way of production, and constant problem-solving, I have come to realize that designing chairs is one of the hardest tasks for its creator.

Proving Prouvé

Friday, March 27, 2015

Starting our trip through the endless material on chairs and same amount of possibilities to wright a research about, we travelled to remoted cities to attend group chair exhibitions. During this whole complicated ritual of coming up with a specific chair, I was always thinking of the simplest one. One that I could really describe because it would be just basic. And what is about basic that fascinates me is that everyone can find themselves on it. It might not be the most comfortable chair but for sure it can be one to spend some study hour on.
During these basic thoughts on basic chairs, my mind would travel to the chairs that I had been sitting on for 12 continuous years in my life, since I started primary school and finished high school.
It should probably be the chair I have sit on the most. I have spend endless amount of time getting bored on this chair, getting back pain on this chair and always trying to switch between positions so that to find the right place for my feet. This would be in school, when I would bend my knees, place me legs under my butt so that I have a pillow on the basis of the chair with my feet coming out of the empty space, right under the piece of plywood supporting my back. Teachers wouldn’t allow non upright positions.
I remember I was then complaining to them on why are they using a comfortable chair with foam pillows for their desks in class, while us, a mass production of  students in a mass production education were sitting on mass production chairs.
This would be four steel legs and two molded pieces of wood. Thin plywood.

On the group chair exhibition I found myself identifying with Jean Prouvé’s Standard Chair produced during the 1930’s-1950’s since it looked very similar to the school chair I was recalling at the moment.
jean prouve

Going through the background of Jean Prouvé and his architectural achievements I got informed on his fascination with mass production of machine-made furniture and his constant adaptation to the problems of his times through working in a collective structure with fellow architects such as Le Corbusier. Apparently, through this collective way of working, furniture for collective use were produced. Educational furniture was some of them.
This is when I realized that my visual connection of his chair to the school chair was not random.  The name of it gives it away: “Standard Chair”.
Unfortunatelly I never got to sit on one of the Standard Chairs but I am convinced that it feels more or less the same.

Both chairs I am comparing take the stress on the back legs where they bear the weight of the user’s upper body. Prouvé incorporated this simple insight in his design for the Standard Chair: while steel tubing suffices for the front legs, since they are subject to less stress, the back legs are made of voluminous hollow sections that transfer the primary weight to the floor.

Feels like it is a chair to keep you aware and well-postured. I remember sitting on ugly yellow cubular steel  legs when new, clean and polished chairs arrived having tubular steel legs. A small detail I remember since somehow I prefer the cubular ones.
I can also recall the high pitch sound of these tubular steel legs when you would boringly move the chair in the classroom by scrubing it on the floor. It sounded like it is going to collapse, like all the rust-proof elements would finally get unproofed. But they didn’t.
They survived through many years, through many students sitting awkwardly on them, vandalizing them, chiping off the layers of the plywood one by one on your front classmates’ chair, wrighting nonsense with blanco pen in the back of it or making graffiti on it.
There was also this plastic black cap used to  block the empty space of the tubular steel at the edge of it. This cap that you could passiently remove during the boredom of the class, revealing the empty space, where you could dispose your chewing gum if the teacher would see you, where you could loose your pen or hide a cheating note.

I am mostly fascinated with Prouvé’s chair because it somehow summarizes all these memories in an official and prototype way. All these years of experiencing the school chair were brought to the foreground at my first encounter with Prouvé’s chairs, proving to me how I was sitting on it without even realizing it is him behind it.
It seems like his industrialized Standard Chair was indeed used in schools at that time and that it did inspire companies to copy it and send them to schools all over Europe by stalking them on each other just like a good mass production product would do.

La chaise vide – A research about a chair and design and art

Friday, March 27, 2015


   It seems to be safe for me to say that if you don’t know Charles and Ray Eames you are not really a cultivated person. The super design couple have been a major influence in the design and the art world in general making timeless designs as well as conceptual art works. In this research I wanted to analyze one of my favorite chair who was designed by the Eames and try to get to a conclusion on why I like it as much as I say I do or if I have just chosen an object that I call my favorite to make me sound more cultivated. This is it.

   To begin with I want to make a little historical introduction to this chair with a name of double entendre. La Chaise was originally designed in the year 1948 by the couple Charles and Ray Eames for a competition held by The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The competition was entitled “Low-Cost Furniture Design” and was really connected with the atmosphere of the United States at post World War Two times where a lot of immigrants were importing to the States and furniture had become a high priced luxury. So in a way to bring new horizons to inhabitants and introduce a new way of living the MoMA made the competition and invited world wide known designers to participate. The Eames got second place but for a different chair called the “DAX” chair. Although the La Chaise chair didn’t win any of the awards at the competition it got some attention for elegant design in the free form. The Eames were really interested in innovative designs and the plastic substance in general. They did a lot of experimenting with the shape of the new content in different but clever forms. Their rounded lines were easily transformed from the sketchbooks in to development and production. Ironically the chair was too expensive in production at the time so the chair was not manufactured again until the Swiss furniture company Vitra took over the production in the year 1998 with increasing interest from the public . The La Chaise chair is “Two bonded fiberglass shells, chromed rod base  with natural oak cruciform foot”.

The 'La Chaise' chair by Charles and Ray Eames

The ‘La Chaise’ chair by Charles and Ray Eames


   The name of the chair has like I said before a double entendre. In the French language the word la chaise means simply the chair, given that the La Chaise is a chair the first meaning speaks for itself but the other meaning connects with the artist Gaston Lachaise. In the year 1927 Gaston Lachaise made a sculpture by the name of Floating Figure which shows a figure which appears to be floating on water. It is a female figure with arms wide in a somehow a formal but welcoming posture looking upwards, perhaps to the future while her feet are laying horizontal but crossed as if she would be sitting in a sofa.

'Floating Figure' by Gaston Lachaise

‘Floating Figure’ by Gaston Lachaise


   When looking closely at the chair by the Eames and the sculpture by Lachaise. You can well see that the sculpture was an inspiration to the chair which right now in the year 2015 is still a great object both as a designed object and as an eye pleasing artwork in itself.

   Two years ago I was studying at a technical school in Reykjavik where I took a course called Design history and I remember seeing a picture of the ‘La Chaise’ next to the ‘Floating Figure’. At that moment which when I think of it now was perhaps kind of stupid of me not to have thought of before being 21 years old I for the first time saw how thin the line is between art and design. It really crossed me as a weird experience because for me the chair itself is as much of an artwork as the original sculpture by LaChaise only with more functions as it is supposed to be comfortable to sit in although I haven’t tried it myself.

The mysterious Endless chair

Thursday, March 26, 2015


What a great name for a chair, Dirk van der Kooij came up with the name the Endless Chair for his beautiful chair. When you look at it, it really is endless, not only the physical object is made out of One plastic string, but also the thoughts that you can create behind this chair are endless. When you look at it it immediately brings up the question: “How is this made?”

My eyes were caught by this chair in a chair exhibition, between all the other chairs, old and new ones, weird and boring ones this one stood out for me, its seemed almost from another planet and inhuman because of the texture, the shape and the color. The design is clean and very refreshing to the eye.

The color made me think of the sky, clouds passing by, a continuation of changing colors and shaded. I could see myself sitting in this chair and being on my own little cloud. The texture of the material was so soft but also so strong at the same time. The perfect combination for a chair. The most important thing is to be comfortable but it is also necessary that it gives you strong support.

Daydreaming of myself in this chair I started wondering how this chair was made. Was it made by hand or by mass production I couldn’t figure it out by just looking at it, When I saw the little sign next to the chair, it surprised me how this chair was made and from what materials. It looked so new and almost chemical. The sign explained to me that  it wasn’t made in mass production but also not by hand. There was an other technique that I totally forgot about.

This chair was made by an old robot arm from china, the designer of this chair created his own mega 3D printer. This chair is made piece by piece. No mass production but just one at the time.This was not all that the little sign explained, not only the chair is 3D printed out of normal new plastic but its printed out of recycled material. All the chairs are made from old refrigerators.

[click here to watch how the chair is made]

I’m always very interested in materials that you can re-use, this chair is the perfect example for furniture that is made out of recycled material, in this case you can almost see it as furniture that is made out of old furniture. Both very useful products that we are all are very used to. A house without chairs or a refrigerator would be a very uncomfortable place to live in. Both of these objects are not originally made to look good, but to make our daily life a bit easier.

Like I said earlier this particular chair is made out of something already used or you could also see the material as something old. There is really fine line between old and new, and not only between old and new but also between real and unreal. This is maybe what makes this chair very interesting and mysterious. You can’t really see the story behind this chair when you look at it. It needs research to be able to get to know this chair.

But still there are a few questions :Is it really made out of old refrigerators? There are no signs of that? Where does the material come from and what did it look like?

I guess we will never really know the answers to these questions, and is it really that important to know?. If we just have this chair at our dinner table do we really care where it comes from or hows its made?. It still is just a chair.


We all see and by seeing know that this is chair, you can sit on it and you can even just easily buy it online. But if we compare this chair to the general meaning of what a chair is, this chair doesn’t tick all the boxes. For example Wikipedia describes a chair as ”Chairs are most often supported by four legs and have a back”. With this chair that definitely not the case. Does this chair even have legs? in my point of view: no not really, but it does have a back. But what would happen if you took away the back? Would you still recognize this chair as a chair or would it become more of a sculpture?

Lets see what happens:



What I see happening now is that this chair turns into something abstract, something completely unrecognizable. It does still has some of the features like the seating and the four points that are touching the ground, but also as a sculpture this chair would’t be misplaced in a art space.

The Endless chair by Dirk van der Kooij has a sort of beauty about it that is hard to define. After looking at this chair a million times and being so inspired by it, I still can’t tell what so extremely appealing about this chair. It might just be the endless mystery.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015



I have chosen the Waterman Brooch from the series, combining a postcard of a Bruce Weber image with the diamond ring of the commissioner. Bakker bought the image as a postcard from a secondhand store in New Orleans, then embellished it with white gold and diamonds that resemble water droplets flowing from the bucket down the model’s muscular back. The movement and elegance in the original image was heightened by the placement of the gemstones. Bakker eventually created two additional brooches using the same image; one is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, the other in a private collection.

Gijs Bakker (1942) is a Dutch jewerly and industrial-designer, educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Konstfack Skolan in Stockholm. Over the years, he has taught at various European art academies and worked on numerous commercial collaborations, creating everything from furniture through jewelry to public spaces. In 1985, Bakker began to use easily available and recognizable images of popular figures for his Sports figure series.

Passing by these items in the museum has made me doubtful about if it’s serious or some sort of joke ending up in the kitschy result. I’ve found this contradictional impression interesting enough to deal with it a bit further.

But what is jewellery’s role in our modern and future lives?

In the late 1960s, Gijs Bakker and Emmy Van Leersum, created a furor with their avant-garde jewelry and clothing that fused fashion, design, and art. They were the first to make minimal jewelry out of unorthodox materials, such as aluminium and plexiglas. The pair set of a real revolution in jewerly design. Bakker and Van Leersum’s breakthrough came in 1967 when they presented their vision of a total concept of fashion and jewelry with a spectacular show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. It was a provocation after which jewelery totally changed,especially on the subject of the concept of beauty and functionality.


MS04foto_matthijs schrofer_lowres


The most famous item of jewelry featured in the show is undoubtedly Bakker’s Stovepipe Necklace (with matching bracelet), now an icon of Dutch design. Bakker was the first designer to create a piece of jewelry of such audacity and on such a scale. It was a provocation.





Afterwards his role in dutch jewellry design became really important in Holland, it changed the view on jewellry.


In 1993 he founded Droog Design, a Dutch collective of designers, products and information, together with design critic and historian Renny Ramakers. Together with Ramakers, Bakker was the selector and art director of all products within Droog. Droog works with independent designers to design and realize products, projects, exhibitions and events. During the Milan Furniture Fair in 1993, the duo presented a selection of sober designs made of industrial materials and found objects. The presentation was titled ‘Droog Design’, because of the simplicity and dry humor of the objects. The Droog collection is curated by Renny Ramakers and consists of around 200 products by more than a hundred designers. New designs are often developed and presented in relation with exhibitions “Saved by Droog” is an element of Droog design that buys up stock and transforms it into something completely new with a distinct voice and purpose. It’s more than sustainable design; it’s a “reflection of the designer’s creativity.


droog design [x]

In current design projects Bakker investigates the relation between craft and design. Since 2009, he is exploring this theme in his role as creative director for HAN Gallery, formerly known as Yii in Taiwan.His new series ‘Go for Gold’ emphasizes the importance of gold in the competitive world of sports, business and politics. By laser-welding gold on titanium or by laser-cutting gold under titanium, the brooches literally go for gold.


 „I am watching football in the same way as I am watching ballet”


The Sport figures series used copies of images from various newspapers of athletes in track along with contrasting, valuable materials like gold for example – to emphasize and highlight a particular moment. The practice of this clash of substances ends up in a playful tension that comes from having precious gems combined with an everyday object, bringing focus (or questioning) the borderline between „cheap” and „expensive” materials.

Does the use of valuable material makes something a jewerly (as the commissioner ask for it) or does it become a design piece driven by the vision of the maker himself?

Since he was fluently shifting through content, character, and medium it makes it hard to categorize the Sports figure series. Visual references from sports, automotives, and history are imbued with a trademark postmodern stance: sarcastic, ironic, and unsubtly nonconforming.

All of the works demonstrate his unconventional relationship with his discipline, as Bakker once admitted, „I dislike jewelry. I dislike the behavior of jewelry buying ladies. I dislike ladies jewelry. jewelry shops depress me. if jewelry is only decorative, I lose interest. I like jewelry because it is absolutely superfluous. I like jewelry because it is never a priori functional. I like jewelry because like clothes, it is closest to our body and says something about the wearer. a painting is hung on the wall and can be ignored. a piece of jewelry is worn and creates an impression.”




For the first look the Waterman seemed for me like objects what you find in shops selling useless stuff for tourist, ranging the weirdest combinations of taste and culture.  Yet Bakker’s main approach was driven by the concept over the final product. So instead of the craftmanship’s usual categories, he tried to focus on the driving thought behind the piece, which in this case was the clash of materials, a suprising marriage between the everydayness of the papercut picture and the stones. For me, this piece is still about the beauty itself (like all jewellery), just inviting a rather unusual form of it, at least within this field. But picking athletes somehow still tells about the beauty, so this piece becomes a celebration of the natural born beauty, combined and emphisized by the diamonds, which becomes a secondary tool for this purpose rather then the main „attraction” or message of the work. Like if it would pass it’s shine to the photo itself.

Yet I think that next to all the importance of conceptual approach, the visual and applied design principle shouldn’t be left behind too much, especially in an originally and historicly applied discipline like jewellery. I feel that it’s just not the right tool or way to mediate such a message. Let’s be honest, a jewel is made for wearing, but who would walk around in a piece like Waterman?


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