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Building Blocks: De Stijl and Type design – Personal Impressions


Friday, October 20, 2017

22690376_1546366338788966_1273982821_o   Spending an afternoon using an old letterpress I experienced what it would have been like to create printed text in the early 20th century until offset printing took over almost completely. This was a nice way to immerse myself into the subject of de stijl and its relation to type design.

The de stijl movement which was founded in 1917 consisted of artists and architects who started building a new world, presumably as a result of the war that was just coming to an end. They literally started constructing their ideal world out of furniture, buildings and artwork.It seems to me that they tried to clear up the mess they saw around them by creating perfect straight lines and rigid blocks. Using primary colours, black and white, strict rules and useful functions they began portraying a ‘perfect’ world. In a way, they brought everything back to the basics while simultaneously making basic things more complex.

When researching de stijl’s typeface design the first thing that comes to mind is the magazine published by Theo van Doesburg. The front cover, designed by Vilmos Huszar particularly caught my attention. Specifically the way the same exact rectangles create both the image and the type.

It seems to me like a practical method to create text, why not use the same structures used to create image, kill two birds with one stone kind of thing, and seeing as the spacers of the letterpress are perfect rectangles why not use those…?

This theme of using the same ‘building blocks’ to create image and text alike

began to be a recurring subject in my research on de stijl’s type design.

0307201710510198   0307201710510199

Another fine example of this, is the book (the fairy tale Het Vlas (The Flax) written byHans Christian Andersen) illustrated by Bart Van Der Leck. What really struck me about this piece was how the entire book is constructed out of straight lines, both the text and the images. One can see the strict guidelines that Van Der Leck stuck to precisely.

To me it would not be the default decision to use little straight lines when drawing a person or flax plant, as I guess is the case for most. It seems as if this rigid rule was almost created as a challenge… To push further into the non obvious, the non default way of drawing things, the abstract and to also challenge the viewer. In the literal sense as well: the text in this book is not necessarily easy to read.

If I imagen coming across this book as a child, lying among all the other softly illustrated fairytales it would definitely stand out, I would have had to focus extra hard on each letter for it to make sense and watch as the lines constructing the letters merge into the ones creating the images. This principle, the way the image and the text is created in the same way, out of the same blocks is what stands out most about the typefaces designed by de stijl. To take this one step further, it could be said that it is all the same, all the creation made by these artists is the same, for they use the same rules and guidelines. Which if broken result in a quarrel with the other members of the movement, which in fact happened to Van Der Lack when he started adding diagonal lines to his works.

The buildings, the furniture, the paintings, the typeface, all a creation from the same lines, forms, shapes and colours. This element is what I tried to explore in this little animation, the way the same ‘building blocks’ can create image and type.

On the subject of people, speaking on the subject of furniture…


Thursday, October 19, 2017

 

Furniture has a specific relationship to the individuals it is used by and to the space in which it resides. The space in which we live in is determined by the shapes which fill the negative space.

When put under a micro-lens it becomes clear that furniture is a response to the time in which it was created.

Understanding this concept allowed me to begin to understand Gerrit Rietveld’s furniture. I first saw them as purely aesthetic objects, created for a specific class of artists that could admire them as pieces of art, rather than functional pieces of furniture. After some research; I realized that his intentions were actually the opposite, he actually intended for his furniture to be reproduced and used. I realized in order to better understand Rietveld’s furniture I needed to understand his motivations and relationship to his own work. I did this by attempting to understand other people’s relationships to his work. I interviewed people who own Rietveld furniture and asked why they have it, where they got it from and the role it plays in their space…

 

Henk Groenendijjk

Henk: This red and blue chair came from my father, he bought it in 1963. He got this just in time to make it a real Rietveld chair. The models he made, you could say were almost prototypes, he just tried out all sorts of things. He made a few for the houses in that time and these are considered  very original and are now very expensive, most of them are in museums.

Me: So, this exact chair could be in a museum?

Henk: Yes, because everything is considered real on it. It is his design, made by his carpenter.

Me: Do you know why your dad wanted to buy it?

Henk: Ja because he was fascinated by it. He was a very good friend of the director of the Stedelijk at the time and he was an art collector.

Me: But did he use it, as a chair?

Henk: Yes, he always sat it in it. He had it in the corner and always sat in when he was reading. He said it was very comfortable. But now I have it, and I don’t know I’m just more careful with it.

Me: Maybe also because it comes from your father, and it is such a collectors’ item now.

Henk: Yes, I think so. I don’t know. I don’t really dare to sit in it. But maybe if I had a bigger house or more space, less children. But yes, that’s it, it’s nice no?

It’s really special to have something that’s so original.

label chair bill henk me and redblue chair 

Ben Zegers

Ben: At home I have the so called Steltman chair. And it was made here (Gerrit Rietveld Acadmie) by Eve, and she also makes these zig-zag chairs…Rietveld of course, was very interested in simple constructions. But most of all he was interested, not so much in the object, but in the space, and how the material defines space. A chair is often symmetrical, this Steltman chair is not.

Me: Where do you have the chair in your home?

Ben: He draws a map, and points to a room… Sometimes I’ll put it in the middle of the room… Rietveld doesn’t care about sitting at all, if he did he would have done it completely differently I guess. But what’s important is the size, because that’s what relates to our body and it’s an easy way to deal with space in a limited site. But what is so interesting about this chair being nonsymmetrical is the way it connects to the floor. Like many of his other pieces, it’s all done from the same piece of wood as it were. Its cut up in different lengths and put together in a certain way. But it’s all describing space as it were; up, down, around, through, etc. Originally for Steltman Jeweler it was hollow, but I have a solid version.

Me: And do you ever sit on yours at home?

Ben: Yes, I do. Because it’s quite low, and it’s not a big chair. But it’s not very comfortable to sit in for long, it’s a good one to make a phone call. I can imagine it being next to a phone, an old-fashioned phone which no body has anymore.

What is most important in this Steltman chair, is the void, the space. There is a big difference between the chairs, the Crate chair is especially made so that everyone can make it. You don’t need anything, just a few screws.

crate and zig zag

Frans Oosterhof

Me: So, this is your red and blue Rietveld chair.

Frans: Yes, and it’s a perfect chair for reading a book. Because somehow if you’re reading here (on a sofa) you slip away, but on the Rietveld, you remain somehow a little bit more alert.

Me: Where did you get it from?

Frans: I knew Groenekan the carpenter of Rietveld, and he gave me the drawings and then another carpenter made it.

Me: Why is it important for you to be surrounded by this style of furniture?

Frans: It is open, it is light, you can look through it. It’s not an obstacle. Its rather comfortable, but you still remain a little active. And for the eye. This is why I like the Rietveld chair, the construction is so visible. So, you see how it has been constructed… (The word) design to me has a little bit a bad connotation. All the design that you see now is all Edelkitsch. And what to me is very important, and what to Rietveld was very important, is this visibility, openness, and that you can see the construction. Now design is very much decorative.

Me: It’s about the relationship between form and content.

Frans: Exactly, never divided.

red blue frans

  

Through these dialogues and conversations, I came to a critical understanding about Gerrit Rietveld; his furniture is a visual representation of his ideology. Space, light, and visible structures were meant to bring a working class of people into a better, brighter way of life. His forms reflected and supported his content; his ideals. And this relationship between form and content is the underlying support system in Rietveld’s work. The way his furniture is perceived today is an intrinsic paradox; a paradox anyone can see if they only ask the right questions.

Colour Coding Space


Thursday, October 19, 2017

When we paint we create compositions, shapes and forms from colour. The colour choice is important in our spaces and on our walls sending messages to the brain, different colours evoking different emotional response. Colour is engrained in literature and film like ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ where yellow connotes to madness and insanity or visually in ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ (where blue features in every scene) we can see it as freedom in deeper tones and a depression as it becomes more diluted. Red, the third primary, is represented in cartoons as the evil villain and day-to-day we see red road signs as danger. Each colour resonates, we have an emotional response, and this is why the psychology of colour is intrinsic to human life. I am interested in each personal response that is hard to calculate further than a personal level, branching from a personal response to the world around.

Piet Mondrian

In De Stijl we saw a reduction in form and simplicity of colour pulling back to these three primary colours. This movement strived to strip back the chaos of war and the ornate elaborate architecture of 1917 as painters Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg took two dimensionality into the three dimensional architectural form. What I am drawn to about this movement was the way I felt in their spaces or looking at the paintings. In Mondrian’s paintings the lines move out almost from the canvas to enter the viewers own space and pull you in to the squares of colour. In the recreation of Mondrian’s room I felt the same pull, there was a flow in the space that I enjoyed, the room was awash with white but had these fleck of colour that mirror his paintings. The freshness and purity was achieved through colour that I had not experienced or noticed before, awakening my eyes to a new experience to colour. It opened up a window to my experience of colour and its effect on the soul, first looking at these three staple colours and then then into the wider sphere of the colour wheel.

 

Blue

My room also is predominantly white to promote a clean fresh feeling but is splashed with blue in curtains, cushions and rugs. Blue is said to promote a feeling of creativity in a study by the University of British Columbia. This creative blue is represented as something that is not tangible, the sky, the horizon, the sea. Where sky meets sea it is a point of contact that can never be reached and this adds space to an environment and seems to give depth to a room. Rudolf Steiner’s schools used colour as a vital part of the formation of a child and blue was especially key. For the 6th, 7th and 8th grade the classrooms where painted blue because Steiner believed that we undergo a 9 year old change, finally seeing colours for what they are. Before the classrooms where painted in warmer reds and oranges because at this age the child sees the colours for their complimentary match on the opposite side of the colour wheel. So, in both cases the cooler blue tones calm the child down and add space for the child to focus, promoting Steiner’s non-suffocating environment to set free their thinking and ideas.

Yellow

Yellow reminds me of my childhood as I had yellow curtains in my bedroom with scenes of the Pied Piper printed on, whistling a tune for the children to follow. It was in a space I loved with fond memories however these curtains felt sinister. Yellow makes babies cry so maybe this is a reason why I didn’t like the scenes, I felt irritated by yellow because it is an invasive colour. For this reason yellow is used to paint restaurant walls, irritating the eye and stopping people from staying too long and taking up valuable space. Where I live now the walls are drenched in a bright sickly yellow pressing a sense of forced constant optimism. This is enhanced by the fact that above the front desk there is a sign that reads ‘EVERYBODY SHOULD LIKE EVERYBODY’ reiterating this theme of constant joy that is simply unrealistic. The text is irritating teamed with bright yellow as it reflects more light, which excessively stimulates the eye making it understandable that yellow can fatigue both eye and optimism.

Red

 

The Pied Piper

The Pied Piper wears a red coat on these curtains and red screams danger. The red of the teacher’s pen or the small poisonous berries in the forest, both act as a warning. If we add white, however something different happens and this pink can be used to calm. ‘Cool down pink’ is widely used in prisons in Switzerland to calm down the inmates because it is believed to be physically soothing. This soft feminine colour has spread through prison to Texas where prisoners are dressed in pink jumpsuits or drunkards being locked in pink cells to calm down. It is interesting how diluting such a vivid colour of blood, passion and anger can alter its effect on the human spirit becoming something to pacify a patient.

Pink Prison Cell

The psychology of colour influences how we decorate our homes, institutions and environment. Tonal variation, hue and complimentary colours all play a role in how each day is coloured. De Stijl reduced it down to a purity and simplicity of colour that opens up new ways of seeing colour transforming our space into something painterly, making the two dimensional into the three. We connect to colour through conditioning and through tone playing a part in each moment. Colour responds to the spaces we move in and alters our perspective on how we see our homes and world.

What i know about social design and how i have engaged with social design


Thursday, October 19, 2017

 

What i know about social design and how i have engaged with social design

 

 

 

What is social design to me?

 

Social design is about creating with or for a community. It’s about creating design through dialogue where ideas, belifs and rituals should be discussed in order to design a solution or an object that benefits or helps a group of people. The designer should be able to connect with a community in a way, where the designer fully understand the communitys request(s) and need for change or a smarter solution. Social design is about humans, not the society.

 

 

 

From my personal experience, i have learned about the importantness of social design, from working at an institution for disabled children, throughout and after my years in highschool. The residents at the institution called Tjørringhus are all multihandicapped children between 4 and 18 years old. They need constant support, including personal hygine, feeding, getting in clothes, brushing teeth etc. In order to help the child through its daily chores, as easily as possible, my coworkers and i, where deeply dependent on the resources and tool remedys we had. The same were the residents! Those resources were specially designed, to make daily life as convinient for both staff and residents, such as the childrens adjustable wheelchairs and lifts to move the child around and special designed cars, where wheelchairs would fit in perfectly, and could be secured safely. All of these indispensable resources have been made in close cooperation with designers, who have visited the institution, met the residents, experienced their daily needs, talked with the childrens parents, had talks and discussions with the staff at Tjørringhus. From those talks and experiences, the designeres have been able to make the best possible sollutions for both the residents and the staff working for and with the children.

 

 

 

The institution were at one point, over a period of one year where i was working full-time, involeved with a danish design school, who made a project about social design and designing social relations. The aim of the project was to give the residents at Tjørringhus more and better relationships with the surrounding community. Neighbors, family, friends, and volunteers should be involved in the project and inspired and well dressed to take co-responsibility for their fellow citizens, at Tjørringhus. So in that way it was not only the public represented by the employees on the institution, who should be responsible for the citizens’ social relations.

 

 

 

The result of the project, was a great succes. In fact the residents at Tjørringhus, now got more relationships, in the form of volunteers, taking the residents to activities and arranging activities in the home. In this way the institution has become a part of society and society a part of the institution. The more volunteers have also given the employees of Tjørringhus more time, which they can use on residents who need extra support. I felt it myself, while working on Tjørringhus. It was a huge opportunity for us, as imployees to have more time with an individual child and get to give the child caring attention while doing activities.

 

 

 

The methodes that were used by the designers, that i understood, and the other staff got to know, while the project was ongoing was;

 

 

 

-       Empathize, where the designers create understanding for the user.

 

-       Define where the designer formulate insights and find an understanding of recognized and unrecognized needs and longings.

 

-       Idea where the designer draw up as many ideas and suggestions as possible in several different directions.

 

-       Prototype, where the designer build a model or kind of tale of the change they want to introduce.

 

-       Test where the model is put into a context and evaluated by the users.

 

 

 

As part of the process, the designers completed field studies at Tjørringhus. Through a month, citizens and employees attended the home to gain knowledge and gain an understanding of their respective situations, challenges, wishes and needs. Based on field studies, the designers developed a number of so-called “social prototypes”; ideas for social relations with the residents and ways to create them. The prototypes were tested on stakeholders and further developed into the unifying concept: “Guest Bud” – How do you receive guests and how will you be a good guest at Tjørringhus?

 

 

 

With the "Guest Bud" as a starting point, the designers developed three solutions:

 


 

-       A communication tool for Ipad for the children on Tjørringhus. The tool allows the residents to present and tell about themselves. The residens at Tjørringhus have no language and therefore can not present themselves in a "normal" way. The ipad can always be used by the resident and they can then start an interaction - and a relationship. A tool we ended up having great use of at Tjørringhus. It gave the children the opportunity to explain themselves in a way, that haven’t been possible for the children before.

 


 

-       An activity tool for employees and guests at Tjørringhus, which shows what activities and forms of interaction that are meaningful for relatives and outsiders to involve the resident. The childs handicaps require that you as a guest find ways to be with the them in addition to the usual ‘everyday talk’. Lots of volunteers who, as mentioned, involved the residents in activities in society and involve society in activities with the children at Tjørringhus. The designers found several ways to do this, but what we ended up using the most was a simpel solution with ideas for activities in a big box, that were special made, in colaboration with the designers, and some pedagouges working at Tjørringhus.

 

 

 

This experience of being a part of this project, or at least be able to stand on the sideline, observing how the project evolved and included both residents, staff at Tjørringhus and volunteers showed me the importantness of social design and designing for and with people to improve their lifequality.

 

A feeling that reality can be heightened


Thursday, October 19, 2017

With my roll of freshly drawn papers I step out of my house on a rainy day in the direction of Rietveld. I see my neighbour throwing away a stack of paper rolls. Another unfamiliar face to me of the many people living in the city of Amsterdam. The rain is too bad to go out without protecting my papers, and I manage to put my roll of papers in one of the tubes.
Satisfied with the abundance of the trash of the city I cycle away. Smiling because I realise that sometimes a problem can be solved unexpected, quick and easy. Many times the world around me seems too complex and too unpredictable to find suitable solutions. This complexity and unpredictability often gives me the idea that the world around me is imperfect and far away of any ideal world, any fantasy world or any utopian world. I start to wonder how artists and designers of different times make an attempt to get step by step closer to for them a more perfect world.

Opening my paper rolls at Rietveld I see there is still a poster in it. A well protected and kept poster. A poster that once was a solution to a certain question. I try to figure out the question that lays hidden in this poster. Why and based on which principles is this made? As an artist and designer myself, I keep on questioning this to the material world around me. But many times, I find myself in getting shallow answers and understanding of the material world around me.

A day later during a dinner at my place a friend tells that he had been in my neighbours house. He was inspired by the man. A lot of chairs were made by himself. Made from cheap wood and using every part of the wood. He described the place as a little utopie for creators. For me to grasp a small vibe of utopianism is to be in a place were someone is an active creator of his direct surroundings. That someone takes control over his or her surroundings with a certain inspiration and wish. A feeling that someone is living in their own fantasies, and go into the direction of making their fantasies realities.

I send him a mail and we meet up the next day. Melle Hammer tells me how he is creating mainly by necessity. He says “The difference between art and design is ridiculous. The underlying principle is just the creating, nothing else”. Creating is not to create a nice fancy tool, not to have something decorative, but just to serve a certain function. He tells that his girlfriend had a birthday party but didn’t had enough space to let all the guests sit, so in one day he made a table and extra chairs so all the guests had a place and a table to eat from. In making his decisions certain things are important. Such as recycling, using everything from the material and not creating waste, and using simple material options and using the maximum of working with the qualities of the material. In hearing his story of his years as a student and as an professional designer you hear mainly his eagerness. The eagerness in his hands, the eagerness in his ideas, the eagerness in his eyes and the eagerness in giving smart solutions to the world around him.

He tells me that he just moved out. He is now looking for a new place to live and recently went to Almere to visit the project called The Fantasy and The Reality. Thise project I consider as Modern Social Design.
Modern Social Design is a new term used in design. A group of people is attracted by it to shape reality. Examples of principled they work from are: search a connection with the society, design social, sustainable, connect ethics with easthethics, strife towards involvement, be critical , be transparent, be humble and serving, be dedicated and radical and last is take responsibility together. All these principles I see part of this project.
Melle explains to me that Almere knows two experimental neighbourhoods, The Fantasy and The Reality. These two neighbourhoods are a result of a contest. On a place of 450 m2 people were able to design a house with fantasy, with a temporary character, this was the assignment for The Reality. The designers did not had to take construction rules, destination plans and quality requirements. The seventies winning designs are realised with a subsidy with tenthousand gilder. Just as The Fantasy, did the buildings get a temporarily character. The place is now functioning as a holy place for people that love experimental architecture. The inventive solutions on energy, price and recycling are serving recent issues. The first experimental neighbourhood in Almere was the neighbourhood The Fantasy. In 1982 a contest was send out with the name “unusual living”. The idea was to break down the neighbourhood after 5 years, but the project was a great succes and got the status of high architectural appreciation. After 5 year it was decided to keep the neighbourhood. A second design competition started after the succes of The Fantasy. To develop diversity was the theme “temporary living”. The participants didn’t had to be a designer or architect. These days a lot of Dutch and foreign tourists visit the neighbourhood on a yearly base. In this story as well, you hear that the initial plan is adapted and new decisions are made. This is again the research and the questions again that counts most.

Giving, creating or claiming empty spaces to let something new emerge is essential for the development of the world around is. This is a great example of a place the government gives to let something new emerge. A answer to a question of how should the world look like when designers get the freedom to create? A realised fantasy, a small utopian answer. These places of creative explosion are essential to create and keep a creative class in society alive.

This wish to develop works for a future utopia is alive in a lot of human beings. To my own surprise, I relate the word utopie in the first place to social and economical issues. The word utopie is first used by Sir Thomas Moore in 1516. He used this word for an ideal community or society possessing perfect socio-political-legal system. In this definition I don’t hear much about architecture or design. Utopian visions are of all times. They keep embarking of new creative solutions and ways what it means to be human and live in a society. Societies can get stuck in patterns that are harmful. How can you give people a mechanism to escape from that trap and make real progress? In many famous utopias, design and architecture are not the main focus but the condition humans live by. Although, the fact that De Stijl exists this year (2017) for hundred years made me realise how much designers work from an utopian idea just as much as social and political change makers. I always believed that the material and shaped world around me is less important than the situation. Diving into the stijl actually made me aware of the fact that this goes often hand in hand.

Where Thomas Moore uses Utopia as a perfect place, diving into how design works. I come closer to realise that the perfect place is an illusion to live up to, but creating a perfect research and process will give in the end more output.

In that sense, the developments the Stijl made are fascinating to follow. The Stijl stands out because its aspirations were as social as they were aesthetic. By ostensibly removing the individualism of the artist in favor of precision and universal harmonies. The De Stijl (Dutch for “the style”) group was one of several art and design movements that responded to the chaotic trauma of World War I with a “return to order.” Their aspirations were total: in order to reform society, their aesthetic aimed to eliminate false distinctions between so-called “high art,” “applied art” (such as graphic or product design) and architecture.
The fascinating aspect is that De Stijl artist made a huge impact on modern designers: minimal simplicity, establishing tension and balance between solid and empty space, the grid. The style has been a katalysator for innovation.

The most remarkable way of creating was the way of Mondrian. He was applying his utopian rules in his own lifestyle. Other people part of the stijl were focussed on shaping other people their surroundings, but on a less rigorous way in their own life. With Mondrian it was exactly the other way around. It speaks for itself that in his interior only his own paintings were there. In the end, he is one of the most radical de stijl interio designers. By 1909, he felt sufficiently self-confident to depart radically from 19th Century traditions – as witnessed by the way he transformed his studio. He got rid of some old-fashioned furniture, as well as several fusty carpets and drapes, and painted the walls bright white. For the rest of his life, Mondrian always arranged his working environment sparsely and meticulously, in a way that chimed with his abstract paintings – as journalists who came to interview him often noticed.Between 1921 and 1925, Mondrian created in his famous studio in Paris at Rue de depart 26 an environment that corresponded exactly with his idea of the the new plastic, as he called his extraordinary art. A famous quote of him is: everything is expressed through relationships. This is made directly clear by everything that is in his work space with a reason. Carefully placed and thought of. In his mind a radical world of an artist takes place, that works on new art for a not yet existing outside world. The desire for the style is entirely satisfied in it.
Slowly I start to see the profound relationship between utopian ideas and Mondrian’s art. His art can give a feeling of heightening reality. And that’s what Mondrian was searching for in his paintings: a heightened experience of reality. Certainly, his abstract paintings have a sure grasp of a visual utopia.

In the stories of Mondrian I hear his obsession for modernity. Sometimes he gets criticised that he did not had a relation to the real world. Some people assume that he was living a monk-like life, who devoted his life to abstract paintings with no relation to the real world. Although, throughout his career, he engaged with, and fed off, aspects of modernity that he encountered in the cities where he lived. He loved music and clothes, always kept up with the latest developments in popular culture. From this I learn that sometimes it is necessary not to have a close relation with the real world and withdraw from it, to give a new answer on the question what it means to be human.

In hearing the stories of these designers, they seem to have a sharp analysing ability in questioning the world around them. Plus being aware of their dissatisfaction and being able to react on that with a new solution, a new answer. In the work of these people I sense a strictness to the principles they work from. A certain sincerity, directness and clarity to that what they create.

In the end designers and artist can focus on shaping and creating the world of people around them, but most essential is shaping your own direct world. Next to really doing the deed of creating, it is of importance to share stories and moments of an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. For me the creators that take the effort to make a change in their direct surrounding the most true to themselves. From their way of decision making, we can learn that working, creating and implementing your own utopian ideas in your direct surrounding are essential to let your own utopian ideas become more realistic. It is necessary for people to learn that the acces, the freedom and the impact people have on their direct living surrounding is always present. It is the direct space people live in and have the freedom to shape it.

After the conversation with Melle, I realise that he was the owner of the cardboard cases. The poster designed as well by a great photographer lady from Rietveld that committed suicide. As sad the story can get. This reminds me to even share more stories of hope that an uplifted version of reality is possible. The last week was full of expected and unexpected relationship with humans and objects. I used them to get new inspiration and to express my insights. I look at the cardboard case that came into my live by necessity and I look at the poster that came into my life by coincidence. Realising now, that the unknown face of last week and the unfamiliar and meaningless poster for me, now became a familiar face, with a name and a story. And that an understanding in me was born that where the poster, the font, the colours and the layout came from. I smile realising that with being eager to understand the simple question “Why is this made and based on which principles?” gave me an unexpected answer back that helped me to develop further my own design and art principles. The accessibility to smart solutions, can in this case, and in many others, literally be found on every street corner in Amsterdam. Many designers create from their own inner utopie. Everyone has moments that they experience something or hear something that sparks our imagination that the reality we currently experience is heightened. This drive to keep on searching and creating for a heightened idea of reality will keep people and the material world moving forward.

IMG_5791

 

Sources

http://gemeentemuseum.nl

utopia, Thomas More, 1516

https://www.mellehammer.nl

Documentary, Utopia – The Perfect World
Creating Utopias: Visions of Tomorrow Today
The faber book of utopia
Utopia of Sound: Non-Simultaneity and Immediacy

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170710-mondrian-the-joy-of-being-square

Vilmos Huszar as a turning point between architecture, object design and independent visual arts


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Where is Harderwijk? What is Harderwijk? I left the train station in Arnhem, not so ready for a two and a half hour travel to the museum of Harderwijk. There was an exhibition of Vilmos Huszar I had to visit, but I just couldn’t think of where Harderwijk is on the map. Is it a city or a village? And why would Vilmos Huszar want to work there?

Vilmos Huszar was born in Budapest in 1884. In 1904 he started studying arts in München where he met Anna Egter van Wissekerke. In 1905 they moved to the Hague, the city that would become the center of De Stijl. In the next few years he was travelling a lot and in 1908 he decided to build up a life in the Netherlands and he never went back to his home country. Anna’s parents would not accept a marriage which led to his marriage in 1909 with her best friend Jeanne van Teijlingen with which he also got a child.

After only half an hour in the train we stopped; For your own safety please leave the train at the next station, our apologies. I am very used to these situations with our Dutch train companies so I stayed calm. After waiting half an hour in the dutch cold and rainy weather the train arrived. Off course this train had some delay which made me miss my next train.

Vilmos Huszar

Vilmos Huszar

Vilmos Huszar was experimenting with many different paint styles from 1906 to 1917. A few examples of these styles are divisionism, fauvism, symbolism, futurism, expressionism and synthetism. He referred to this period as the modern period. In 1912 he had his first painting exhibition in the Netherlands. After three years he started meeting artists that would influence the turning point in his art. These artists were Bart van der Leck, Theo van Doesburg, Jan Wils and Chris Beekman. In 1917 the first edition of the magazine of De Stijl was created of which Vilmos Huszar designed the famous logo.

de Stijl magazine

de Stijl magazine

New building materials like reinforced concrete and steel, and the principles of prefabricated construction helped change architecture in the late nineteenth century. Design tended to lag behind technology, however. The architects of De Stijl also designed in the traditional way at first. It was not until later that they began experimenting with new materials, using a new architectural form language, as evidenced by their square, geometric structural volumes, often with rendered walls and flat roofs. Huszar and Rietveld’s space-colour-composition can be regarded as one of the most successful of De Stijl’s interior designs. The radical example of total design can be read both as a plea for the integration of painting, furniture design and architecture and as a manifesto concerning the intimate relationship between colour and space.

Space is experience, spiritual experience. De Stijl sought to deliver a spiritual experience, albeit more universal. The designers of this generation tried to achieve this with huge, monumental spaces that nevertheless had clear architectural boundaries. To them, colour was an effective means of achieving a new spiritual living environment. The idea was to allow the new abstract style of painting to merge completely with architecture.

Eventually I arrived at Harderwijk, still not sure where I was. I went to the bus station and waited a while. After ten minutes I realized none of my busses had arrived yet. The bus station looked abandoned besides the few people in red and black working clothes. I realized they work at Walibi World, a luna park in Holland. A bus showed up, not the bus I had to take. It was going to Walibi World, just like the next three busses. I still didn’t know where Harderwijk was but I knew it was close to Walibi World.

abandoned bus station

Abandoned bus station

Developments in the industrial production of paint made the vibrant colours used by artists available for architectural interiors, too. The artists of De Stijl made colour ‘separate from the structure’ to ensure that the building was liberated from its conventional enclosed character.

Most art pieces Huszar made in the period he was working at De Stijl have been destroyed after his request. The few art pieces that remain untouched are now situated in big museums around the world.

Finally a lot of busses arrived, most of them going towards France and passing the city center of Harderwijk. Wait what, France is not close to Walibi World right? Or is it? Now I was completely disoriented. I thought my topographical skills were pretty good but after that day I gave up on them. I got in a bus, the woman behind the wheel looked at me, didn’t say a thing. She appeared to me as someone who is tired of living, she was driving like that as well.

In 1920 Vilmos Huszar left De Stijl, it is not totally clear why but some people state it was because of a fight with van Doesburg about the colour scheme Huszar designed. He had enough of the traditional way of painting, he stated it was just a easel painting to fill up museums. We think Huszar’s diversity in his artworks was also a big influence on his leaving of De Stijl. We take this letter he sent to his formal art teacher Bremmer as an example;

“I believe that I am too much of an artist to assimilate what I learned from you in my art works. I write you this so you don’t make any useless efforts. I cannot leave my path but maybe proceed, that means seeing my own way as a tool. I hope to stay in contact.”

When I got to the museum I still had half an hour until closing time. The two and a half hour travel turned out to be four and a half hours. Fortunately this was enough to see the exhibition about Vilmos Huszar and even get a private tour by a guide. When walking back to the station I realized Harderwijk was actually a very cozy city (yes it’s a city). It apparently has a beach and it was once a craft city. The people were very kind and helpful. When I got in the train to go back to Arnhem I saw an old man waving to the train. Harderwijk is the city where Dutch children visit their grandparents for a few days and then wave each other goodbye at the train station. I was told Harderwijk was the end of the world, a place where you wouldn’t want to be found either dead or alive and that it had a great coffee shop. I believed it but now I know it’s not the end of the world.  

After Huszar left De Stijl he got many commercial art requests from C. Bruynzeel and Miss Blanche. He made many artworks in different styles, often with small details referring to De Stijl. He would for instance put a red line in a realistic painting. In December 1939 he and his wife Jeanne moved to Hierden, a small village near Harderwijk, because of the war danger. Here he had the chance to go on with making art. During the war he was active in the resistance Migchelsen. In 1945 Jeanne died and not even one month later he got together with his housemaid Anke van der Steen with who he got married in 1953. Jeanne’s parents were very rich, but after her death Huszar was left with only his atelier. Anke, Vilmos and his kid moved to the atelier. They were very poor so Huszar started trading art for basic needs. For instance the still life of a bottle of Hollandia Water to his housemaid.

still life with bottle of Hollandia water 1946-1947

Still life with bottle of Hollandia water 1946-1947

In the last few years of his life he went back to painting like he did when he was still in De Stijl. On 8 September 1960 Vilmos Huszar passed away in Harderwijk.

 

 

In with the out


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

After viewing the exhibition « Architects and Interiors » in the Gemeentemuseum of the Hague we questioned ourselves on this new ideology De Stijl was confronted with, the notion of inside and outside in architecture. As we found out by researching aspects of the Stijl there is a significant new way of looking at architecture in that period of time. Architects wanted a style that was more connected with their own time and ideology, traditional architectural rules were no longer significant. When we look at the Rietveld Schröder House, constructed in 1924, we can see the transition of walls that flow from inside to the outside. Trying to dissolve lines but also creating a way to incorporate the outside into the building. Another interesting factor at the time was the creation of big windows and the opening up of space, which created a deeper connection to the exterior.

Another example from around the same time is the Schindler House built in 1922 in Hollywood. By creating a massive wall that can be opened up between the garden and the living room, Rudolph M.Schindler created a space that can connect the inside with the outside.

Schindler House

Schindler House by Rudolph M.Schindler

 

Our next lead took us to the Case Study House project (1945-1966). A project consisting of 36 planned houses that were published in Arts & Architecture magazine. After the war there was an advance in technology and material. Architects worked together with the magazine to create new ways of seeing and constructing liveable homes during the population boom. Even though not all houses were actually build, these plans were a hot topic among American architects at the time. These Houses were characterised by flat roofs, glass walls, modular design and steel frame construction. They neatly integrated into the sites with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living. One of the first examples that can indicate a fusion of inside and outside is the plans for the Greenbelt house, where the architect tried to create an open space in the middle of the house that could be used as a place to store crops and other vegetation. Another project is the #21 case study by Koening, where an irrigation system that surrounds the steel construction helps cool off the house itself. The design emphasise harmony of materials and balance between interior and exterior through the use of terraces, water, glazing, and skylights. Many more of these projects were about the connecting and fusing of the outside with the inside. You can find some interesting information about this program here.

Case study 21 Pierre

Case Study House #21by Pierre Koenig

 

If we look back in time structures that connect the inside with the outside have already existed for a long time. We can take the example of the engawa in Japan, having the entire house surrounded by a ledge and being able to open up all doors and windows creates a connection between inside and outside. Recreating these structures and ideas. It’s almost like there was a necessity to be out in the open again in the 1900s and after. Today we can still find traces and marks of this ideology strongly present all around us in our contemporary world. What is being outside? What is being inside?

In recent architecture we can find a lot of traces leading back to this ideology of bringing outside and inside together. Big windows for example are still a highly used aspect in a lot of houses. However, not all modern houses really look into the effect of this blending of an outside and inside. And there also seems to be a genuine difference in houses that have the the possibility of indoor and outdoor blending and houses that are created for the soul purpose of bringing the outside inside continually.

In the OZ House, the south facade made of glass opens up all interior areas allowing it’s openness to the views of the surrounding vegetation. It has the possibility of creating an outdoor/indoor connection by opening the doors, however it may or may not use it’s features. This way you can choose to use the outside.

OZ house by Andrade

OZ House by Andrade Morrettin Arquitetos Associados

 

A great example of a house that tries to bring the outside in continually is the Inside Out building by Takeshi Hosaka. In this house there is only a few spaces that are able to be closed off to the outside, the rest of the building is open and connected to the wind, rain and sun. The ones living in the house have to adapt and live with these weather conditions and live accordingly. Another less extreme house that takes the outside in is Casa Ilhabela by Studio MK27. By creating privacy in the front and backgarden, using walls and plants, they were able to take out the walls of the lower level and create one big space that is inside and outside.

takeshi hosaka inside out

Inside Out House by Takeshi Hosaka

 

Up to now it has been about building houses and bringing whatever is outside of those buildings inside. But there are also lots of houses that are build to be enveloped by nature, by building into already existing structures like mountains, hills and trees. These give you a feeling of literally living in the outside. Some of these houses also have the ability to use their natural structure to create effects in the inside of the house. For example they can control warmth or certain weather effects.

Designers, architects and artists are also questioning the idea of bringing the outside indoor by bringing the nature into the interior space, incorporating scenes of nature. This transition with the natural world blur the lines and barriers between inside and out.  Bringing trees and other elements of nature inside, these projects question what is possible within the confines of erected walls. The artist Jean-Marc Navez incorporates trees that reach the ceiling and occupy the whole space to underline the bringing of outside into an indoor space. Through the incorporation of indoor trees the divisions between the home, office, landscape and environment are blurred.
Another important aspect that is quite popular and important in our most recent history is that of sustainability and our carbon footprint. From this thinking comes a new way of creating houses, so called ecohouses. These houses can generate warmth and energy by themselves and don’t leave any negative traces. Mostly build out of natural and renewable materials, for example by using mushrooms they build the Hy-Fi brick tower. A few of these new structures even have the ability to sustain growth of plants. By doing so the house itself is creating a connection between itself and the outside.

moma1andinteriortree

Left: Interior tree by Jean-Marc Navez / Right: Hy-fi by David Benjamin

 

So how will we adapt to our new ideologies in the future?

Will we see self-growing houses or constructions that don’t depend on traditional aspects like walls and floors? Structures that blend the inside into the outside? In this technological era we might be able to control all these aspects of living a bit more and we have a broader understanding of the outside forces. But as nature is always changing, it’s still not certain if we will be able to control the outside and be truly able to create an outside environment that is at the same time our inside.

 

 

We are in this together


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Writing for the sake of writing

Make a blog post about nothing or whatever

Here are random connections to random posts on a blog that everyone is obligated to update. Why? Just because. Do you ever read anything because you have to? When does it happen mostly?

School? Aren’t you studying what you like? Aren’t you supposed to study what you like?

Work? Yh you had to work somewhere. Those readings are probably boring but you need to eat and pay rent so here we go. Capitalism. Sigh.

Government mail. Can’t read those though, they’re all in Dutch. “We killed the tree now it’s your turn to struggle. Folded in half. Eight fold. Figure it out somehow. Or don’t. Whatever. Couldn’t care less. Careless.

I am sorry if you’re reading this because you have to. I wish you didn’t. But bear with me. We can power through this together. We will come out of this different. We will learn something.

I am not going to teach you though. You can only learn yourself. Ask yourself questions. Or don’t. Don’t ask questions if you don’t feel like it. Listen to your body. That pressure you feel on your chest? That fire you can’t put out, your back burning, pay attention to it. Relax. Use this moment to listen to yourself. It is hard, Everything could be hard. Sometimes its hard to leave your bed, I know that way too well. Sometimes working two shifts in a row is not as hard as making yourself some breakfast or picking up that paper from the floor, that has been there for a month.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Accept your weakness. You don’t have to love yourself. Its great if you do, but don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t. One day you will. You don’t have to love yourself in order for someone to love you. I love you. Just for you. For you fears and struggles. For your carefree attitude. Or absence of it. It’s ok to care. Its hard but you’re gonna be fine. You’re special. You’re unique. You’re so cute when you laugh. I don’t have anything funny to tell you right now, though. Kinda feel guilty for it, sorry. But I will learn to accept it. One day. One thing at a time. Or after ten thousand times. Lets change together. Its ok if you don’t want to. It’s ok if you did. Every thing is different. Every day is different. Every day you’re different and the same in a way.

All the bad and good is in you, you don’t have to look for it anywhere else. Just take a look inside. You also can take a look at someone else. Its fine to look up to people. You’re someone’s hero too. Somebody looks at you and realizes they could be better. Sometimes they don’t believe it because of how awesome you are. They should read this post too. But only if they want to. It is also ok if they have to. I hope they feel better after reading it. I hope it could make you feel more at ease. It’s ok If it couldn’t. Sometimes we can’t help but worry about things. This world is stressful enough. We just have to navigate through it. Do you know that just looking at you could make somebody’s day better? You look so radiant when you feel inspired! It’s contagious! Its ok if you feel shy for people looking at you. Don’t worry, they are in their own heads. It’s ok if you feel shy anyway. It’s ok if you don’t want people to look at you. I respect your desires. You’re a great person. But you don’t have to be great to be respected. You deserve love. You deserve peace.

It’s ok if you like when people look at you, you deserve to be the center of attention. You’re such a fun and outgoing person when you feel like it. Sometimes you don’t and I appreciate that. Everyone needs time for themselves. Some people probably don’t. But you do you! It’s important to recharge from time to time. For you it may mean all the time. Maybe you need to reach out for support. I hope you have your support system. It sucks if you don’t! Let’s try go through this together then. I am so glad we met like this. Through our eyes. Or ears. Maybe fingers. I hope you are having a good day. Or that it’s a little bit better now that we spent some time together. I hope you know your worth. It’s ok if you don’t yet. It could take some time to get there, especially living in the system that is thriving from you not knowing it. Remember it when you feel like you’re not enough. You’re more than enough, you have everything you need to be you. I am sorry if you don’t! Please, reach out for the support. You deserve every bit of it. Please, do. You are valid. You make this world so much better. I love you.

Observation


Friday, May 5, 2017

A day of observation ; visiting a museum.

To see, watch, perceive or notice

Visiting a museum always end for me daydreaming about other artists. Influenced by the atmospheres of the art and people visiting the museum. So I wrote down my observation and daydreams of an artwork in the exhibition of the Kunsthal te Rotterdam.

Cars, motorcycles, egg, hamburger, portraits and colorful vanitas. Walking into a hall full of pictures; was my first reaction of the exhibition of hyperrealism in the Kunsthal te Rotterdam. Coming closer to this images; amazed by the fact that these where paintings.
In front of a painting there was a man saying to his wife; ’Yes, you can really see that this is a painting, because the artist did not paint it perfectly.’ Pointing out all different kind of lines and spots which where not perfect according to him.
My observing of these paintings was also absolutely triggered. How is this possible? Is this a picture painted over? Is it really not a picture? Also searching for spots to confirm that it are paintings.

Rod Penner Rod Penner

Rod Penner 

 

Passing all the work I noticed all the American subjects. Especially the landscapes of Rod Penner ; painter. Staring at his work I found it very intriguing how he translated the light so beautiful in these paintings. Every shade, light stripe and reflection he paid attention to. He is not only painting the landscape itself but also the atmosphere that is connected to the landscape. Not only the houses/signs are giving a clue to the American landscapes but also the atmosphere itself is very recognizable.

The beautiful light and atmospheres of Rod Penner reminded me of two photographers ; Gregory Crewdson and Tod Hido.

2077 Tod Hido Tod Hido

 Tod Hido

 

Tod Hido is photographing landscape/houses in America. He got a amazing series of photographs called ‘Homes at night. Tod is using long exposure and most of the time the only light source is the light from inside the house. He is also searching for very specific moments and houses that are making this series so great.

Gregory Crewdson  Untitled__Merchants_Row__08large

Gregory Crewdson

 

Gregory is photographing cinematic landscapes in small towns of America. He is making beautiful images where he is influencing the light and the scene. It is very interesting how he and his team are building up these scenes and you can see that in his documentary Gregory Crewdson : brief encounters.

Inspired by a day of Kunsthal te Rotterdam
Hyperrealism ; 50 years of painting.
Exhibition from the 25th of January till the 5th of June 2017.

cyber and (un)aware


Monday, December 1, 2014

 

Jacob Jensen’s 1997 waterproof Beowatch (produced by bang & olufsen) was designed as a personal, unisex timepiece that makes telling time convenient and accessible. additionally, it also functioned as a remote control that controlled the volume of later bang & olufsen music centers. this design prompted me to question its present-day relevance in the design exhibition at the stedelijk museum, Amsterdam. over the last two decades the technology industry has undoubtedly grown and so has the way in which people engage with methods of measuring time. it is noticeable that less people wear wrist-watches everyday and the norm has adapted to using smartphones or other multifunctional devices to keep track of time.

this research will further discuss the design of the Beowatch in relation to the myriad of social questions it raises such as today’s security in wearable, intelligent technology and the aesthetics of unisex design.

b&o-image1

few wearable objects are designed to be unisex, particularly jewellery (if we classify a wristwatch as jewellery). i am drawn to the statement this wristwatch is indirectly raising about society’s perceived aesthetics of gender. the design is created as ‘neutral’, an object that is seen through its own entity- regardless of preconceived ideas of masculine and feminine beauty. throughout history, wearable objects or fashion, has had a very divisive characteristic – creating standards and room for assumptions. this design forgoes these notions and is created as its own autonomous form.

balancing aesthetic and (multi)functionality reiterates how the Beowatch was very modern for its time;.Jensen’s approach to design drew my attention as he states “…we expand our concept of…what a watch should look like. the sight of an object does not necessarily have to show its function…” (1994, Jacob Jensen design [paperback], Paul Schäfer). this relationship between functionality and aesthetic is a core issue that designers are faced with.

however, it is a challenge nowadays between technology and its external design. technology is becoming increasingly intelligent with wristbands/watches that gather data to measure heart rates, count steps, give directions, forecast weather, play music, interact with other devices, predict the position of the moon etc  and the visual appeal of wearing this technology. for example with the recent design release of Apple’s iwatch and Google’s glasses there is already considerable criticism on this ‘cyber-human’ image and artificial intelligence we are sometimes reluctantly and often unavoidably accepting.

b&o-image2

Jensen redesigned the concept of a remote control in the Beowatch by making it multifunctional (acting as a remote control and timepiece). similarly, designers today are changing conventional objects into ergonomic designs that fabricate, sync or react together with the human body. there is an evident focus from the technology industry to attach these gadgets and lumped plastic to people especially by getting them onto wrists. of course there are many benefits of having such tools; they are accessible, readily available and can make tasks faster. however, the fact that these devices become so quickly absorbed into the culture of everyday society is blurring the boundaries of our true basic needs.

they are also perhaps just purely adding insult to injury- for example do people need to know how little sleep they are getting? or if they have eaten too much on one day compared to the next? or if they have skipped a day of exercise? this data collection that these devices provide may give us information but it is still not enough, what is more important is the reasoning- why we slept/ate bad and missed exercise, for example. simply knowing these facts without reasoning is the added ‘insult’ to the injury/damage that has already been created. for instance if your watch tells you that you haven’t exercised enough, things that you probably know already, would you change your routine just because your watch is telling you? in most cases, not. there are versatile calculations everywhere, but the problem is what to do with this information and how to interpret it.

it is irrefutable that the pace of technological advancement is remarkable; but this also affords the risk that people will develop a better reading of their technology/ wristbands and lose their sensitivity and awareness in reading their own bodies.

b&o-image3

since the Beowatch, wrist technology has advanced further than the individual, as over the past decade debates have risen over personal security and privacy. it is unknown to the individual how much is known about them through their digital dossier. we are uncertain about where our information is stored or if it is being used for analysis; examples we have witnessed recently include the NSA files, cyber-hacks with phone applications and celebrities, Facebook scandals, Wiki-leaks and much more. these personal items have the potential act as a sensor or tracker, they constantly collect data which are ‘invisibly’ fed to different networks. though this subject may seem far fetched from the design of the Beowatch, the design is relevant as it marks part of the evolution of our technological reliance and dependence. it is uncertain where this line is between the personal object and a device that is actually just a form of data to a bigger establishment.

b&o-image4

the Beowatch nowadays represents a certain phase in design (1993-1996) as well as the literal time. it represents the start of multifunctional, human-fitted technology. though now the object is more about its face than its function, being presented in a showcase at the Stedelijk Museum, it is still highly relevant and raises many direct and indirect issues. As the son of Jacob Jensen said in an interview: “a product which survives the test of time, even when it has been out distanced by technology, contains a concise idea carried out at the right time, and with an aim of thorough reworking” (Timothy Jensen in Jacob Jensen design, 1994, Paul Schäfer). though technology has definitely distanced since 1997, the design of the Beowatch has survived by providing a mark for its time as well as offering insight into how we should speculate the future of cyber-human technology.

 

‘beautiful morning’ ( comment)


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When i saw this tag, i felt i needed one. A beautiful morning.

the text described various things, but the interesting part i got out of it was, live life slow, and you will enjoy it the most. when you get fed up by everything else, you should just focus. focus on what is there, and see what it brings you,

what is really there (?) always that question that is there. is it that, what we feel, what we see, what we touch, maybe even what we miss. a slow beautiful morning, will pass by. what will attract our eyes? dirty dishes, stains on the windows, some old clothes on the floor,  the things you knew that you had to do? the things you thought they would stay away, the things you don’t want to see coming, the crack in the wall, crumbles on the table, the flowers next to it, the people outside, the blue sky that is there, the birds who are nesting in the tree next to your house, your nephews birthday that is coming up, your birthday will be soon to, the sun that is getting up, your breakfast that taste’s much better now, the things you accomplished yesterday which you don’t have to do again, your favorite shirt clean and on again, your music on the background, the realization you will have to go outside to go to school, the sun on your face, the train you manage to get this time, and the school that starts your day again. the people who you missed during holiday, the tea in the morning, fresh baking smell trough the school,

Eventually it is the way you look at it, the way you remember it, will feel it, recognize it again and again.

‘Just look at the bright side of life.’

about those…


Sunday, April 13, 2014

uncategorized?

like not black
not white
not even gray
why can’t you define this time?
define define divide define
no category
what about you?
what’s your favorite category anyway?
well, what’s your category anyway?
feel better while categorizing, not this time
no gender, no nationality, no ideology, no what, now what?
no nothing
nothing
nothing
something
some thing
some think
thin thin thin thin thin
line between defined and undefined
they are neutral, they are lost, or just hard to define
that’s it

in the end not such a bad category.

Calcite Stalactite


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In the Wendingen issue, Kristallen Wondervormen der Natuur from 1924 i found this picture of a calcite stalactite. I choose the picture because I did not remember to have ever seen anything like it and that made me curious.  After a bit of research I learned that a stalactite is a type of formation that hangs from the ceiling of caves, hot springs or manmade structures such as brigdes and mines. Limestone caves, where most stalactites are found, are mainly composed of calcite, a rather common mineral found in sedimentary rocks. Stones and crystals have been a huge passion of mine, for as long as I can remember. The interest started in an early age, as my parents took me, my brother and sister for long walks up and down the coast-line in Denmark. We were looking for fossils, amber, seashells and stones. We never really knew why we were doing it, but it soon got competitive. Who would found the most exquisite one? The biggest? The funniest? And we would carry large heavy amounts back to our house and place them carefully, in an order, on shelves or window sills. My mother keeps collecting and my parents house have turned into what could be called an exhibition of stones and stuff. My father sometimes forces her to get rid of some of the stones, because he says “it doesn’t make sense”, but my mother took me to the farthest place of their backyard; a wilderness of weeds and showed me where she get’s rid of the stones. The pile is enormous. When asked why stones are so fantastic, my mother says: because they are ordinary and exquisite and they look beautiful in the rain. Later I started making animations where I would scan some of my favorite stones and give them simple movements. Maybe they would turn around, or switch back and forth between a crystal and a flintstone. I too like the normality of stones and I embrace that my love for them doesn’t make any sense at all.

m

Wendingen 6-11 1924 Rijksacademie Amsterdam

It’s All About The Spine


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Looking through the aisle of books in the library and trying to find that one book out of hundreds that I could be interested in was a difficult task. So instead of picking out every book and inspecting it in detail, I chose to find a book that I found interesting purely from the spine. This meant I was looking for a unique bind, or a unique choice of material. Both these criteria are too often ignored in my opinion, for example if your book is in amongst thousands of books in a library, with only the spine visible, I think it is essential to give your publication that little bit extra to set it above the rest.

So I came across a small book crammed in at the end of an aisle called ‘Mechanisme’ and it stood out for three reasons. A) It was bound with a traditional Japanese binding. B) It was so much smaller than all the other books around it. C) It was made from a very textural recycled card. It’s no bigger than a CD case, yet it has more character than the majority of the books in the design section. There is something personal about it, as it is almost definitely handmade, so it has a delicate quality to it. So delicate in fact that it is falling apart slightly. To be honest I was slightly disappointed when I decided to check out the contents of the book, although it was made using very nice materials it’s design was far too bland and the actual purpose of the book wasn’t clear, as far as I could tell it was a book explaining the contents of different materials. The cover and general outer appearance gets 10/10, the content however 5/10. But at least it was interesting enough to stand out from the rest.

Rietveld Library cat.nr:

Research of Kaba ornaments


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Research of Kaba ornaments 

 

 

 

Misinterpreted


Sunday, November 13, 2011

This article is about my research into the alien spirits collection by Walter van Beirendonck.
First of all, it isn’t designed as a collection, the outfits are picked from various collections from 1994 up to 2011 for his exhibition in the fashion museum in Antwerp. He picked outfits with a common theme; “Alien Spirits”.

And that theme can be described as a theme with alien and indigenous influences. As Walter describes it:

“‘Alien Spirits’ references my interest for all things alien but also the spiritual like shamanism.”
-Walter van Beirendonck

But to describe it like that would be too easy, there is more to it than that. To me it is more about interpreting certain traditions and habits and using them in new outfits.
But Walter isn’t a scientist, he just looks at clothing and traditions of certain indigenous tribes (Like the Maori, the Masaï, the Hopi Indians, the Pende people etc.) and uses some of their accessories and clothing in new outfits. But he isn’t looking at what the purposes of the accessories are, so he uses them in a very wrong way.

And I think he does that on purpose, he likes to radically change the way the indigenous pieces are used. For instance, he uses the spiral eyes of masks used in traditional burial ceremonies of the Tolai tribe in Papua New Guinea in several of his outfits.

And just as he likes to deliberately misinterpret indigenous traditions he also likes to misinterpret our traditions. For that misinterpretation you need somebody who doesn’t belong in a culture to look at their habits with a fresh and unknowing eye.
And just like Walter uses himself as an outsider of indigenous cultures, he uses Aliens as outsiders of our western culture.
In 1999 he made a movie about two aliens coming to earth and scan the world. But he lets them misinterpret certain of our habits. For example, in “relics from the future, 2006” he uses jewelry which is still attached to the small black cushions on which they are presented in the stores. And in “Welcome Little Strangers, 1997” instead of a small flower behind the ears of the models they have wigs made of grass.

    

The misinterpretation of our traditions is a theme that is used in more things. A lot of big Hollywood movies and television shows use the same idea:

In “the gods must be crazy” (Jamie Uys, 1981) a cola bottle is tossed from a plane in the Kalahari dessert and believed to be a sign from the gods by bushmen.

video fragment The Gods Must Be Crazy

In Mars Attacks! (Tim Burton, 1996) Aliens come to earth and think a white pidgeon that is released as a sign of peace, is a threat and begin shooting people.

video fragment Mars Attacks!

In the TV-Show 3rd Rock from the Sun the misinterpretations happen a lot. It is a show about Aliens living on earth disguised as normal humans. They cannot figure out human basic emotions, they believe gelatin pudding is an evil creature and so on.

These are just a few example, movies like, for example, Men in Black, coming to America and almost any other Hollywood science fiction movie use the same idea of misinterpretation.

Whereas the big Hollywood movies and shows use that idea more for a comical purpose, Walter uses it for a different reason. To me his works are more about trying to have us look at our clothing and traditions in a new way and questioning them.
Why do women wear dresses and skirts and men don’t? And so on. He really wants us to look at our clothing again, because how crazy and extravagant his designs are, they are still intended for sale and to be worn in the street.

“Clothing is to me something to sell and to wear – that is its function. Of course you can tell stories and communicate with fashion, and that is something I definitely try to do in my collections. But essentially it’s a consumer product.”
-Walter van Beirendonck

So after my research the definition of the Alien Spirits ‘collection’ is:
“The deliberate misinterpretation of traditions in other cultures” with the goal of having us look at our clothes with a fresh eye.

Pastry


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

design by Philippe Apoloig

When I saw this poster from far, I thought it looked like a well-made textile (like a table cover) or graphic poster, made through usage of computer programming. Therefore, Its not a hand made textile.

Then Seeing it in detail, I found that there is small text in the big text, I can see the shade of letters. Black, red and white colors are being used. It also seems that a lot of layers have been used, even in small parts. Like a pastry.

It also looks like an exotic letter. These layers have each a repetitive form, different for each part. It seems like a  letter or piece of textile, such a in mixed layer. Its an intentional item, but really unaffected. I think Its like an artwork, not a design poster.

artwork by Hyo Seop Kim

I thought about gravity during the drawing.

A book’s weight is about 500g. But books include different photos, with according happening take each date. I think it’s a huge mass, if it is in the size of the book. So I completed the painting, through finding of picture in the book that inspired to me. Perhaps, This poster is similar in the way how it is using layers to create its form, I Think its interesting.


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