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"product design" Category


The Aesthetic Green


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Facing the future access to resources and the wish to preserve today’s climate, changes need to be made.
Looking at the world of design there has always been a tendency to broaden the horizon of consumers, buyers and users. Designers found ways to deal with daily life difficulties, which weren’t considered as a problem until there was a solution, but also ways to process innovative materials into aesthetic products and ways to deal with social and psychological issues.
In the last years the concept of sustainable design raised and increased, showing it’s today’s presence in plenty of remarkable projects with approaches diffusing across various disciplines as fashion, architecture, product design and even fiction.

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This is to be seen at exhibitions such as ‘Change The System’ in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where many projects were dedicated to sustainability.
So Eric Klarenbeek, called the designer of the unusual, who developed a 3D printing material based straw, water and mycelium, the threadlike vegetative part of fungus. Printed into a thin layer of bioplastic the material can gain stability through drying and – in Klarenbeek’s case – become a chair. He went even further and created possibilities to 3D print with only local materials as algae, potato etc.
Remarkable is the aesthetic presence of the final products. Cups, vases, bowls, which you cannot but simply want to hold in your hand.
And this might be what makes a researcher become a designer: Using the power of aesthetics to create a bridge leading from innovative development to the manifestation of the product in daily life.

Unfortunately many green designers are seen as criminals when it comes to aesthetics. Next to the pursuing of sustainability as something of moral value, aesthetics are sometimes seen as luxury and therefore unnecessary. The aim to save the planet appears to justify the ugly.
But here people seriously underestimate the value of beauty and the power of emotion.
Experiments in interaction design even reveal that people consider objects they emotionally bond to as more functional – and use them more likely.

In the end we conserve only what we love.”
Baba Dioum

Thus objects which don’t attract us on an emotional level, will simply not be used and kept.
If it’s not beautiful, it’s not sustainable. Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern – it’s an environmental imperative.” wrote Lance Horsey in his book The Shape of Green.
He is the first to write and examine the relationship of sustainability and beauty. According to him “beauty could save the planet” as in the end people consume and use what they love.
Horsey here uses the example of wolves and dogs to enhance his theory:

The fate of many things depends on whether they please people. Wolves might seem heartier than dogs, but there are 50 million dogs in the world and only ten thousand wolves. Which has adapted better? This view of nature may give you pause—should other species exist just to please us? But as a principle for design, it is essential. If you want something to last, make it as lovable as a Labrador.

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We personalize things we use – and we use things which are personal.
Based on this theses, Jonathan Chapman helps to create an alternative consumer’s philosophy, than our present ‘throw away’ society has. He developed a new design strategy, called Emotionally Durable Design.
Through the conscious shaping and strengthening of the emotional bonding between consumer and object, one can endure the using period and thus reduce waste.
According to him this can be achieved through the consideration of the following five elements:


How users share a unique personal history with the product: Narrative
How the product is perceived as autonomous and in possession of its own free will: Consciousness
Can a user be made to feel a strong emotional connection to a product? Attachment
The product inspires interactions and connections beyond just the physical relationship: Fiction
How the product ages and develops character through time and use: Surface

This results in products such as the Stain tea cup of Bethan Laura Wood – an object which gains character through being used. It builds up an individual pattern of tea stains, according to the personal ways of drinking tea.
To establish this design approach further, Lance Horsey asks the question:
What if we created a different approach to aesthetics, one based on intelligence and not intuition? Can we be as smart about how things look as we are about how they work?

Answers will lead to new aesthetics based on the complex connections of efficiency, sustainability, character, endurance, and the potential to develop with the users personal demand. An understanding of aesthetics which goes beyond an object’s physical presence.

How deep can we go? – The conflicts about problematic issues


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Deepwater – A work created in collaboration between Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck in 2016. It immediately caught my attention while I was walking through the exhibition of ‘’Change the System’’ in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The work is simple, yet very impressive. It has a strong design in contrast to the other works presented in the same room. Deepwater represents a vase which is a collection of the design ‘’Still Waters’’. Thomas Eyck commissioned Studio Wieki Somers to design a series of objects with the theme “water”. These series are five glass vases and each form a poetic interpretation of the water cycle. The vases represent a topical theme regarding the problematic relationship between humans and nature.

 

LTVs_WiekiSomers_05_Deepwater, Labadie

 

The Deepwater vase is made out of glass filled with oil floating on water. In the centre of this vase a stem with leaves is represented. The oil refers to the disrupted human actions like the results of the ecocatastrophe ‘’Deepwater Horizon’’, this was an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a big explosion of the drilling platform Deepwater Horizon. Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck wanted to show how conflicting the values are that ascribe our recourses.

But who are Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck? During this research I posed myself the question what the relationship is between them and why they want to make on the problematic issues of our world society. I also got so inspired by this specific work on the oil problem, that it motivated me to question and think of ideas on how to solve this problematic issue much further.

Back in 2000, Wieki Somers (Dutch designer, born in Sprang-Capelle, 1976) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. After her graduating she settled with Dylan van den Berg, with whom she studied together in Eindhoven. Together they started Studio Wieki Somers in Rotterdam. Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg focussing on providing an enlightened reading of the everyday movement. Focussing and making sensivity of materials, technological ingenuity and fantasy. They make objects that you as outstander at first have to guess what it is and what they are doing. That is the whole point of what they want, making an art piece with a functional state in it. ”Basically our work is one big quest, one big process. We look at things around us, what they can be and the associations people have. We study customs everyday situations, unleasing our own imagination on them. We make the uncommon common.’’ thus Wieki Somers

‘’As a designer it’s not my attention to make the world a better place, but I’m pleased if people look at the world differently because of my products.’’

People get ideas and inspirations from the work of Wieki Somers and that’s also how Thomas Eyck got involved. Thomas Eyck is a publisher and collector and he devide characteristic and exclusive design products from this time. He stimulate designers to come up with new objects for the daily life. Together they research for different kinds of materials and making new products out of it. This is how the Deepwater collection was made when Thomas Eyck asked Studio Wieki Somers to work together.

So how can you stimulate more people when you think about this collection? And in my case about the oil problem. Because using oil is something we should take very seriously if we think about our precious world. Our nature is capable of breaking down oil itself, but this is going very slowly. The quantities of oil that enter the environment through human intervention are so great that nature has difficulties with it. Of course the place plays a role, normally it is safely stored under the ground but when it comes into the water or on land it is just a strange substance. Just what happend to the Deep Water Horzion catastrophe. How can we clean up this mess if we constantly spill so much oil?

Thankfully there are many ways to clean the oil out of the water. I found materials and information and tried these out. Click in the video below where I used oil, sponge and cotton balls to clean out the oil:

 

REMOVE IT

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Of course this is not enough for an entire ocean, but it’s clearly that we could discover more with materials just like Wieki Somer and Thomas Eyck are presenting. We have to dig deeper and come up with much bigger ideas to solve the problem. There are machines or boats with different kinds of techniques by getting out the oil out of the ocean, but still there will be leftovers and we discover that years later by accident. Of course we think of other different ways to solve this for the future, for example; using electricity. The using of oil are mostly for machines and vehicles and these will run in the future with electricity.

So yes, just like Wieki Somers I would feel the same way by not making attention to make the world a better place, but to encourage and to let people think about these kinds of topics. I think we discovered already so much about materials, technologies and objects to improve our environment. Who knows what further will be discovered in the future.

 

Mondrian, Rietveld, Theosophy.. wait, what???


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Have you ever heard about theosophy?

We didn’t either, but check out this article because then you’ll know how it influenced Mondrian and Rietveld’s work.

 

Theosophy- what does this even mean?

 

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It is a unity of Religion, Science, and Philosophy that combines a variety of belief systems in its search for an underlying universal harmony. Basically, it is everything, therefore you have to be very focused to understand what specific ideas it defends and how is this shown or practiced in art and life in general.
It is also a doctrine of religious philosophy and mysticism (so it isn’t a religion itself), but holds that all religions contain elements of truth.
Theosophical writers hold that there is a deeper spiritual reality and that direct contact with that reality can be established through intuition,  meditation, revelation, or some other state transcending normal human consciousness.
Theosophy has influenced many artists among whom were Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Gauguin, Malevich, Gerrit Rietveld (and some others from De Stijl movement) and Pollock too. This beliefs played a crucial role in the work of this artists, whose works were seemed to search for the understanding of spirituality.
All in all, theosophy seeks to integrate perception and thought, the natural world and the spiritual work, science and religion.

 

How did theosophy influence De Stijl

 

De Stijl magazine was publishing the group’s design work combined with theoretical writings which also contained mysticism. Members were deeply influenced by theosophy which was also an important part of Bauhaus. You can see that in the way they rejected any form of naturalism in favour of a formal abstraction that connected the movement with Russian Constructivism.

De Stijl group wanted to create a new kind of art, architecture and design in order to raise a disillusioned humanity from the horrors caused by World War 1 and as many artists throughout Europe, they attempted to liberate the arts from tradition. They wanted to change art from individual to ultimate, universal. Their vision was based on deconstructivism – reducing the universe to fundamental elements and forms – the vertical and horizontal lines became the symbols of universal harmony, to which were added primary colours red, blue and yellow along with black, white and gray (considered non-colours). Even if you don’t understand the deeper meaning of theosophy, these are the things you can recognize in artworks of De Stijl movement.
Anyways, members were aiming towards geometrical and technical art which would be an experience as a whole. They were trying to give art a spirit of forms and mystification.
What was important for them was purity in architecture, the absence of organic and personal forms. Like theosophists, members of De Stijl believed in the presence of deeper spiritual reality, whereas a direct contact is established through a state transcending normal human consciousness. They brought a sense of material, intellectual and spiritual unity to art, architecture and design.
 

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Theo van Doesburg’s work related to Neoplasticism – a work from Vilmos Huszar

Mondrian as a member of De Stijl

 

His path to Neoplasticism

 

Mondrian intensified gradually his expressive manner of painting and began to have a more and more intensive use of colours, that eventually lead him to the need to depict the visible aspects of reality.
From 1908, Mondrian began to work in search for a truly form of painting. The artist came to the conclusion that the pure, intense, inner colours (the primary colours) and a simple manifestation of the line (horizontal and vertical) could help reach an abstract form of art that would be suitable to the spirit of the new modern age.
In 1917, Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg founded the group De Stijl. Mondrian used this magazine as a vehicle for his ideas on art, and it was actually in the magazine where he defined his aims and the term Neoplasticism. Though Mondrian established his only visual manifestation/painting style: Neoplasticism, based on philosophical and moral considerations associated with theosophy, this name was also applied not only for his work, but also for the art that the De Stijl circle practised in the different areas.
The intention would be to use the form and line to reduce the visible reality to its essence. So, in Neoplasticism, all the abstraction is connected with the reality. The elements are displaced from their visible form, but reflected in an abstract dimension.
As Mondrian himself considered:

”As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in an aesthetically purified, that is to say, abstract form. The new plastic idea cannot therefore, take the form of a natural or concrete representation – this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour. On the contrary it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour.”

Mondrian uses the basic elements of painting: line, form and colour in their purest, most fundamental state, creating compositions with different lines and planes, verticals and horizontals, neutral and primary colours in a universal visual language that everyone could understand intuitively.
Two years later, the architect- designer Gerrit Rietveld joined De Stijl, which had a significant impact on the Neo-plasticists’ ideas and production.
Influenced by theosophy’s ideas, Mondrian reduces all elements to straight lines that cross and form various sized squares and rectangles and restricts the palette to pure neutral primary colors and black, white and grey. This was his proposal to represent the universal order, rather than the physical meaningless world.

Mondriaan in Stijl 1         Mondriaan in de Stijl_950

Modrian’s texts on Neoplasticism

How is Neoplasticism connected with theosophy?

 

Piet Mondrian was raised in the protestant church and later on, in 1909, joined the Dutch Theosophical Society, which was one of the main spiritual movements in the Western society at the end of the 19th century. This Society was founded in the United States but quickly spread throughout Europe and had an immediate influence on art, particularly in the Netherlands. In fact this influence was so visible that forty Dutch artists participated in the exposition organized in 1904 in Amsterdam for the Theosophical Society’s International Convention.
From this time on, theosophy was to be a major influence in life and work of Mondrian.
In the journal De Stijl [x], Mondrian published some articles about the influence of Theosophy. In this articles, the artist analyzes the role of traditional art that he considers as a consequence of the lack of harmony inside of man (conflict between matter and spirit) and the imbalance between man and nature. For Mondrian, theosophy was the answer to this imbalance. Theosophy principles could, in his ideas, bring consciousness of the self, and as a result, bring the harmony in this relations.
For him, when the consciousness of individuality or, in other words, the concept of spirit emerges, two conflicts emerge with it. The first one would be the conflict between this individual spirit and his physical body. The second one, as a consequence of the first one, is a confrontation between man and nature, generating a ‘disharmony between man and his surrounding,’ or simply ‘the tragic in life’ as the artist considered.
In this way, we can consider that Neoplastic art arises from the same principal as traditional art does- from the perception of an imbalance inside of man. However, Neoplastic art tries to represent an absolute truth directly: the idea that if the artist represents it, is because he knows it, and not just some partial and accidental truth as traditional art seems to do it.
The aim of Neoplastic art is the representation of the absolute, almost like religion. By reaching this goal, he would be able to help the common man finding his inner balance. How? Modifying the external world to another one capable of bringing some inward balance: by transforming the surrounding environment, he would transform the man itself, and consequentially the society.

 

“Art –although and end in itself, like religion– is the means through which we can know the universal and contemplate it in plastic form.” (Mondrian, 1918)

 

Neoplastic art’s objective is to restore in man a balance with his environment, lost when man gains consciousness of his own individuality. Neoplastic art should be dissolved and fused into and with life.
For the artist himself, neoplastic art shouldn’t be limited to painting but rather extends to architecture and urbanism, and in this way make a real change in the environments. Mondrian considered that each artistic disciplines should perform a specific role, and together they should reflect the common harmony of the universe.
Therefore, for Mondrian, painting’s task would be to act as the guide for the rest of the other disciplines and eventually be dissolved, if the task is successful, into architecture, urbanism, life.
We can consider that theosophical beliefs are expressed in Mondrian’s neoplastic work, both, theoretically and concretely, in a constant demand for a true theosophical art.
Art is, in this way, a reflection of the absolute, “the Radiating Center” (as Theosophy calls it), which is the original force, creator of everything (idea that nature and spirit are manifestations of the same original whole: universal/cosmic order).
The artist, thereby, is the “translator” of a higher reality, and his works must repeat the representation of this “Radiating Center”.
Art should reproduce the conflict between opposing elements and the solution for that same conflict. The image of harmony cannot be static, but represented by multiple dialectics: two levels of elements, among which, simultaneous oppositions are produced (line/plane, vertical/horizontal, female/male, color/colorless…) The universal force/cosmic order/ the harmony, is so expressed in the duality between this contrasts.
While searching fot the harmony between opposites, Mondrian aims to help common man access his own inner harmony. By transforming the entire natural environment, the artist would establish the balance and reflect the image of the common origin of all creation: of the absolute. In this balanced environment, the common man can reach his inner equilibrium.

 

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 Composition A, Piet Mondrian (1920)

 

Gerrit Rietveld as another member of De Stijl

 

He was born in Utrecht in 1888. His father was a cabinet maker and when just a little child, Rietveld joined the family workshop. His apprenticeship was steeped in the traditions of the Arts and Crafts movement which can be seen in his early work (first attempts of furniture design).
In 1911 he opened his first shop in Utrecht and started studying architecture. As many others, he was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. By 1919 he became a member of De Stijl and became friends with its members Huszar, Theo van Doesburg, Robert van t’Hoff and others.

 

What influenced Rietveld’s work?

 

Theosophy played a major role in Mondrian’s art, but since Rietveld was a member of De Stijl too (although he never actually met Mondrian), we can also see the influences of the proclaimed philosophical ideas in his work.
In De Stijl architecture and design, Cubism was again influential but so also were Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House designs, with their asymmetric free-flow of interior and exterior spaces. Despite all that, Rietveld’s ideas were more down to earth and less philosophical that the ones of Mondrian and Doesburg. He didn’t speak frequently about his work. Therefore the interpretation of it is based on the more philosophical tenets of the other De Stijl artists (members were very different considering a way of thinking) and it sometimes seems as if the designer’s voice may have been overshadowed.
Rietveld’s painted Red/Blue chair became the archetype of the movement, it was also the first time that the De Stijl colours, usually used 2D, (on Mondrian and van Doesburg’s paintings) were applied to a three-dimensional object. It was the first major piece of furniture to accord with the movement’s principles – conceived as a spatial composition, conspicuously disregarding comfort, traditional construction techniques and concepts of decoration (built on a series of horizontal and vertical planes, provides a clear expression of the group’s ideas).

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Gerrit Rietveld: Red and blue chair

 

With the Schroder’s house Rietveld created a totally original vocabulary in building construction and in the treatment of interior living space. The complex, asymmetric cubic construction of horizontal and vertical planes and lines encloses and releases space in a three-dimensional equivalent of a Mondrian painting. Linear elements are red, blue, yellow or black; surfaces white or grey.

 

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Gerrit Rietveld: Schroder house

 

A major effect on Rietveld was also Frank Lloyd Wright’s work who was a functionalist and a part of an International style. The most influential details from his work were the flow he produced between interior and exterior and also the use of verticals and horizontals. You can also see that in Rietveld’s last work, Gerrit Rietveld Academie where glass surfaces are made in a way you can see through the building, therefore it merges with surrounding nature.

 

Fallingwater

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Frank Lloyd Wright: Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Wright: Robie house

 

While quickly recognized as a major contributor to the development of Modernist architecture, interior and furniture design, Rietveld’s later work was largely confined to furniture design. Most known examples are his tubular steel and wood Beugelstoel chair, wooden Zig-Zag chair and wooden Crate chair. Among his other design work was the Netherlands pavilion for the 1954 Venice Biennale and a sculpture pavilion in Arnhem, Holland, built in 1955.
His furniture was designed for a mass production to be available to a large audience, even though at the end is wasn’t mass produced nor standardized – no two versions had the same dimensions.
It’s funny how when you see buildings, you mostly don’t think about the theoretical background of their form. Until we started making this research, we were more focused on functionalist features of buildings and which movement or era they belong too, but now we find ourselves thinking: ” Do this shapes represent some philosophical ideas?”

 

To conclude …

 

It’s interesting how the abstraction of Mondrian and Rietveld’s work seems to be so far from theosophical ideas – when you see the chair or a painting you don’t make an instant connection.
Mondrian and Rietveld both seems to try to make art that could reach the majority of people –a painting that would have an universal meaning (Mondrian) and a furniture that would be available for masses (Rietveld) – Art for everyone, art that would make life better. In a way, one can consider it an utopian idea, since the majority of people does not really understand the theosophical thinking … So the question remains: How educated should someone be when experience their art? Or in other words, to what point do you have to be aware of the purpose of the work to have the full experience of it? [x]

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Now you know. Awesome, isn’t it?

a cooperative research by Neza Kokol and Carlota Bóia Teixeira Neto

Composing Chaos


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Composing the chaotic mind

  meeting Hendrik Kerstens

 

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Sound file: music: Dimitri Shostakovich Piano Concerto no.2, Andante

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Meeting people in an age of the internet and social media seems not romantic at all, which I can assure you it isn’t. When we got the assignment to meet a person we admired and make out of this experience a design object, I made a list of artists I considered as being interesting and admirable. Starting with the first name, I did not get any response and waited for a week. I tried another artist but also he gave me a radio silence. Choosing another artist seemed just as interesting and I send another email.
But having to present my progress in the project and having no responses yet, made me feel a little isolated from the world. ‘The inner monologue’ took its place in my mind.
Thinking about this brought me to the feeling that I wanted to make an isolated space which resulted in a mock-up of a room, made out of four wooden walls isolated with foam. The idea was  that a person would be able to stand inside of the isolated space and was able to listen to my spoken inner monologue without the outside world being able to hear it. Of course for me this was not the best idea and I was far from content…

 

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inside my box I got a vision….

Then something great happened. In my inbox appeared an email from the management of Hendrik Kerstens. I have been intrigued by Hendriks work from quite a young age. Interested by the pure combination of modern vision and classic interpretation of the composition of the portrets he has made.

He wanted to meet me. I got into a back and forth communication with his assistant by mail, which resulted after rescheduling and answering questions into a date. Hendrik invited me to his photo studio in Amsterdam.
When I came there at an afternoon he let me in. I was struck by his big black glasses with the kind eyes and the clean and sharp looking white studio with black furniture and equipment.
The room was filled with the sound of classical music which comforted me and everything was organized and clean. We started talking, I asked him questions and he told me a lot of inspiring things. When I asked him about his clean, organized studio, he told me that this was necessary for his chaotic mind to run free. So his surroundings would not interfere with the creative processes in his mind. He said that the process of making a picture was as composing a piece of music. This process he also addressed as sometimes hard to let go when it’s finished and ready to leave the studio. He quoted:

“Art is never finished, but only abandoned.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Hendrik Kerstens surprised me with his enormous power of persistence in his new ideas and projects. He spoke of his desire to bring sculpture and photography together, which he is currently experimenting with. And a future project where he wants to create a close connection between painting and photography. In his vision, one I would want to live by, everything you can imagine is possible.
Hendrik gave me advice in the end and I gave him a print of a pinhole picture that I had made which he accepted with a smile. When he let me out, I felt light and encouraged.

My conclusion after this meeting was that I had to rethink my idea of the isolated space in total, I had been to quick to give in and this good experience deserved a good outcome.
Thinking about my experience the subjects of ‘composing’ and the ‘chaotic mind’ kept running in my mind. Letting this be, I started developing an interest in the material epoxy and especially in its clearness after molding. I made several try outs by molding the epoxy in different plastic, glass or porcelain cups and Tupperwares. The idea was to take the chaotic aspect and function away from the object and create by molding a simplification of the shape.
After drying the objects, some were easy to come out and some I had to break out, some had air bubbles or even cracks which for me became interesting aspect in the idea of a ‘crack in the mind’.

 

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Interested by the molds of the epoxy as well I made molds of clay, to create a connection between the mold and the epoxy. The epoxy in the clay mold gave a watery effect, even after drying it seemed liquid and shiny but would not come out of the clay mold. I disposed two epoxy objects from their clay molds and this created a look which reminded me of the glass smoothened by the sea.

 

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For my last experiment with my epoxy objects, my interest was captured by making an epoxy mold for an epoxy object. My expectations were by filling a bigger Tupperware with epoxy and hanging the already dried epoxy object in it, that after drying I was able to take the object out again and this would leave me with an epoxy mold. But it didn’t, the epoxy object and the fresh epoxy
into the Tupperware had melted together in one totally new object. The ‘melting together of ones thoughts’ created its own existence.

 

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Looking at my experiments resulting in a collection of epoxy objects, a simplification of chaotic objects, the thought arose that I wanted to recompose or rearrange the different objects, creating ‘the recomposing of the chaotic mind’. Therefore creating a grid in which every space had the same measurements (except a special one) so the objects could be recomposed in any position.
My doubt was with the material of the grid: metal or plastic sheets. But fate took this decision from me when I was not able to work in the metal workshop for it was closed and so it became plastic.
The plastic sheets I glued together, creating a clear construction. In retrospect I was satisfied with my decision to use plastic, because of the subtlety, clearness and connection with the epoxy objects itself.

 

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In the end, recomposing a chaotic mind is creating something clarifying. I’m not sure if I would address my final outcome of the design project as ‘clarifying’ rather than ‘clear’. In my opinion I made a composition, in which every object is a ‘clearer’ form of itself.

 

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PINK GHERPE


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

gherpe-lamp-by-superstudio-for-poltronova-1968

Walking through the design collection of The Stedelijk Museum, this weird pink object in a glass vitrine caught my eye. A lamp designed by the Italian design studio ‘Superstudio’. The lamp was designed in 1967 and went in production under the name of GHERPE. This lamp is one of the examples of the ‘antidesign’ movement. This was a movement against the commercial and functional design of Italy in that time. To get a better idea of this movement,  the text by Elena Martinique gives a good view on ‘antidesign’. It made an ironic reference to the mass production. Considering the exhibition ‘Designing the Surface’ at ‘Het Nieuwe Instituut’, you could connect this lamp to the chapter: ‘In which nothing is as it seems’.

Nowadays, and probably back then, the lamp gives a cheap feeling, the feeling that is easily connected to Kitsch, also a feeling ‘Superstudio’ wanted to evoke.  A lot of futuristic aesthetics all combined in one object. The aspects of this object are screaming to the audience. The color wants to jump in your face and the material wants to fall down to show that it is not breaking. So the surface of this object is there to raise questions and false assumptions.

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The shape fools your mind as well. It wants to tell you I am everything but a functional object. But of course this pink unit has a function. It gives you light in the dark and most of all a subject to talk about when you have nothing to say anymore. ‘I would never say this is a lamp’, is the sentence you hear the most when you show this object. In this case ‘Superstudio’ did a great job in their mission to create antidesign and a reference to kitsch and mass production. You do not know what it is, you do not know if it is cheap or expensive and you do not know if you like it or not, because your eye keeps caught by it, but you certainly have an opinion about it.

You could connect this object to a previous text I wrote for the Supplementary Surface Show [x]. A text with the subject ‘surface that changes‘, it changes by light. This is of course also happening in the case of Gherpe. First, Gherpe is an object without a functional look, but as lamp (light source) it changes to an object with function. In the previous text it is about Albedo 100, a reflective spray. It is completely not functional without light, so impossible to see a function. When it hits light, the function starts in a split second. Two different objects, with a lot of similar characteristics.

Faux Mucus Vases


Monday, February 27, 2017

 
Wanders Wonders Wanders Wonders Screen shot 2017-04-29 at 12.43.46 PM

'Ozaena, Sinusitis and an other vase from the Airborne Snotty series

 
This collection of vases is an example of the creative possibilities of digital production methods, such as 3D scanning and printing.
This series is a materialization of human sneeze, and they’re all called after nasal cavity diseases. The products are made out of enlarged three-dimensional mucus particles emitted during a sneeze. They’re constructed from layers of polyamide powder.
The holes to hold the flowers were made during the process of fabrication to give utility to the object and make it functional.

Trying to relate this with the subject of ‘surface – Act III – faux’, nothing is what it seems. Nobody would ever expect these vases to appropriate the form of mucus and human sneeze, and nor either to be a vase, that holds flowers.
The surface in this case is important due to the fact that it would have been impossible to create such form with another material, like clay, wood or metal.
The fact that is microscopically scanned and printed after it makes it precise, an exact copy or big reproduction of a molecular substance.
 
The Airborne Snotty Vases names and where they come from.

Ozaena: A discharge of fetid matter from the nostril, particularly if associated with ulceration of the soft parts and disease of the bones of the nose.

Coryza: A runny nose. The word coryza came from the Greek koryza thought to have been compounded from kara, head + zeein, to boil=boiling over from the head.

Pollinosis: An inflammatory response in the nasal passages to an allergic stimulus. Often includes: nasal congestion, sneezing, runny or itchy nose. Also known as Hay fever.

Sinusitis: Inflammation of a sinus. The condition may be purulent or non purulent, acute or chronic. Depending on the site of involvement it is known as ethmoid, frontal, maxillary or sphenoid sinusitis.

Influenza: An acute viral infection involving the respiratory tract. It is marked by inflammation  of the nasal mucosa, the pharynx and conjuctive and by headache and severe myalgia. Fever, chills and prostration are common.
 

The making off : Airborne Snotty Vases : Marcel Wanders Studio 2001

 

To sum up, both of the text I wrote relate somehow to light. Light that tries to imitate the original. You can also read it in my first text here [x].

 

Extravagant kettle


Monday, February 27, 2017

bollitoredesignblog

 

This kettle has been designed by Richard Sapper, a well known german designer. Richar Sapper started as a designer at Daimler-Benz, then, as he wanted more freedom in creation, he moved to Milan and started working for Alberto Alessi  in 1958. He had an obvious proximity with the Italian editor. Alberto Alessi is one of the most influent designers, he especially worked on “emotional kitchenware“. (see more of his works: Alessi index)

The first Bollitore 9090 was released in 1980 and was the first to be exposed at the Moma in 1983. The Same year, the Bollitore 9091 with melodic whistle came out [x].

Alberto Alessi's presentation of the Bollitore 9091.

The Bollitore 9091 has the same design as the 9090, with a very reflective silver surface, a golden spout and a black handle.

By placing a golden chorister whistle (little tubes meant to tune wind instruments) on top of the spout, Richard Sapper is adding a poetic aspect of a melody to the very materialist function of boiling water.

In both editions, the design of the kettle is not the most influent element but the surface is the most important. The materials completely transform the kettle, the meet of silver gold and black makes it extravagantly popping out, and seducing.

Using the minimalistic aesthetic, he is making the viewers wonder about the object itself, its design, its function.

« For him, the form follows the function but his notion of function is going far beyond pure material aspect. In his projects, he is always aiming for a sort of «  spirit function, he loves when his objects have a soul » Alberto Alessi.

Richard Sapper is here seeking for a poly-sensorial object, that appeals more senses than a regular kettle.

Sapper’s Bollitore is also making us reflect about the function of our everyday items.

The kettle has been completely transformed by the material covering the surface of the object, the match of shiny silver and gold has a very attractive effect which directly disturbs the perception of the object behind.

The luster of the Bollitore is perfectly inappropriate to a regular kettle situation. A surprising feeling I also felt with the Fordite, when I realized it was just paint layers component of a precious stone look.
Both of the Fordite lustre and the Bollitore lustre are disturbing because it’s making the perception of the object more ambiguous.

 

Reflection


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bildschirmfoto 2017-02-26 um 15.56.29

Since I moved to Amsterdam I regularly visit the Stedelijk museum. The last time I was here it was different. Normally I just wander around but this time I was looking for something. A surface that would be interesting for me.
The last Text I wrote on the design blog was about the Iridium coated Oakley glasses with a colorful reflective surface. The object I want to write about this time, Slaapkamer-ameublement, is very much related to the previous text. It is a bedroom mirror designed by Elmar Berkovich in 1930.
A mirror is a reflecting surface, historically made of obsidian , silver, bronze, or aluminum. Today, most mirrors are made of glass, with a silvery, metallic, or amalgam backing. They serve many purposes, ranging from personal grooming to exploring the universe and they are also a common theme in art and Philosophy.[x]

 
Berk106-01_1000px
Elmar Berkovich: slaapkamerameublement, 1930 [x]

 
At its simplest, the mirror reflects what is positioned before it. In viewing ourselves in a mirror, we see what we recognize as self although this reflection is an image reversal of what others see in looking at us.
Sometimes I have some weird experiences when I look into a mirror. You know that you are looking at yourself but sometimes it feels like it is not you that is looking at yourself but rather yourself observing another person. We recognize ourself but actually, we do not know how we really look like. We only know how other people see us with the help of a mirror.

Bildschirmfoto 2017-02-26 um 15.57.04

The philosopher  Jacques Lacan, based his ideas on the human infant’s response to its image in the mirror.
Lacan’s theory is not about the mirror as a reflection of self, but about the mirror as the constitutive element in the construction of the self and self-recognition. This theory is interesting in my opinion because it suggests that we define our selfs by what we see in the mirror and therefore what others see in us. We describe ourself for what we are, but we cannot describe ourselves from outside or in formal terms. It is not us, it is just a reflection.
 

Plaster My Emotions to the Surface (faux)


Sunday, February 26, 2017

I like to own a piece of design from Memphis group design studio.
A piece of design from Memphis group is a shoe.
A shoe is from Adidas.
A shoe is covered in a Memphis group surface. 

Adidas ZX9000 Memphis Group
Adidas ZX9000 Memphis Group

The many times I’ve been visiting the Stedelijk I always end up at the same part of the permanent exhibition. The Memphis group’s furniture and lamps. The reason for my interest is not the actual artwork but rather a particular colorway.

A couple of years ago I was in Berlin on the hunt for some new sneakers. I found myself caught in-between big names such as Adidas and Nike.

The question I would like to answer with this essay is, if Memphis group this day managed to tip the scales in favour for Adidas (ZX9000 Memphis Group) would it be just as a matter of style, or was it actually the essence of capitalism in the shape of a surface.

Is the shoe an imitation of an artwork or actually one by itself? If you plaster a stone with a Picasso painting is it then not still a Picasso painting?

This depends on your point of view, what did you lay your eyes on first? When I found interest in the shoe covered in the Memphis surface we have to keep two aspects in mind. First: I did not know that Memphis group was behind the design. Second: I did not know what Memphis group existed.  All I had in my mind was a wildly designed Adidas shoe that was like something I had never seen before. Does my perception of the shoe change now as I do know these influencial factors. Do my impressions of the shoe change under the influence of these two qualities, as the changing colors of the object in my previous text change under the influence of heat [x]

I brought my piece of Memphis covered Adidas mock-ups back home with me. I like to view them as a piece of art, hence I have not been wearing them until this day. They are still in the same shoe box I bought them in, resting in the archive of my parents basement to be looked at but never worn.

 

Memphis Group
Memphis Group furniture

I like to own a piece of design from Memphis group design studio.

A piece of design from Memphis group is a shoe
A shoe is a piece of art from Memphis group
I would not step on an artwork from Memphis group.

Future Lights


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I wrote about the 3D pipes screen saver (Windows 95) and how that connected to surface . Now, I want to write about ‘Ashoka’ by Ettore Sottsass. I think I keep picking works that make me feel nostalgic in a way. This work reminds me of the furniture my grandmother had and the sports equipment we had in the gym at my old school.

Ashoka

  ''Ashoka'' - Ettore Sottsass

Ashoka is a lamp made in Italy and is connected to the Memphis art group. The name Ashoka, Comes from an ancient Indian emperor who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from 268 to 232 BCE. After fighting an insanely destructive war, Ashoka (who’s name means ”painless or ”without sorrow”) converted himself to Buddhism. Connecting to the artwork, H.G Wells wrote in his book The outline of history fittingly: ”… the name of Ashoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star.” Learn more about Ashoka here.

The work is made by Italian artist and designer Ettore Sottsass. In connection to surface I think this work shows a combination of surfaces that already existed to show a surface of the future. Sottsass was influenced by pop art and the fact that even poor people wore bright colours. When he came back from a trip to India, he was determined to make a new futuristic style of furniture which we now know of as Memphis Group or Ettore Sottsass

The lamp has a lot of movement in its design and looks cheerful and humoristic. This is mostly because of the colours that the Memphis group used. Critics once called it: ‘‘A shotgun-wedding between Fisher-Price and Bauhaus’’. Since the object is a lamp, the light from it is covering all the surrounding surfaces and makes its presence inescapable when it is turned on. The actual surface of the lamp is shiny and plastic looking. This is interesting, because the actual material is painted metal. The lights used in the lamp are E14 light bulbs and halogen up-lights. Interesting is to read about how Sottsass suggests the flow of electricity in it’s design . To quote from the text: ”Consider the Quisisana ceiling lamp, by Ettore Sottsass, from the Memphis collection. It also uses metaphor to suggest the flow of electricity and makes an ostentatious display of mechanics, but it engages users in a broarder argument that expands the idea of function in everyday life.”

Slim – ‘In which the future is superficial’

With its cheeky design and colours, speaking about futures that are made up from a colourful past, this object connects perfectly to the theme Slim. The future is superficial and completely seen in this object. No surprises or unexpected events will happen. The future is just a sum of all things past and this is the prime example of that. When turned on, all the surfaces near the lamp will be covered with the presence of the lights from the future. In my previous text, I wrote about a screensaver that also connects to the theme Slim. Both of these items have an exciting connection since they are so futuristic and they both want to break loose of their surroundings. Ashoka and the screen saver also both create a surface that is futuristic but not practical at all. The forms of both the subjects are here to excite and make for nice design, which shows a superficial, shallow future.

Designing the Surface Supplementary Show /New Institute


Monday, February 13, 2017

bieb_15029_mahoniehout-03_950

Gebr.A.R.& P.van der Burg /wood and marble painting examples in color 1876

 

Supplementary Surface Show Under Construction

 

20 students of the Rietveld Academy’s Basic Year visited the exhibition “Designing the Surface” organized at the New Institute Rotterdam (2017).
The intriguing aspect of surface, an issue that is generally avoided in a discussion about the context of content, raised our curiosity.
The exhibition and the accompanying publication was inspiring as were other additional exhibits like ‘Screen Savers’ or various shows in adjoining musea.

/FAUX /PATINA /LUSTRE /TEFLON /AGENCY /SLIM

Curious for our reflections on these subject?

Chose an image and click on it.

We assembled this small supplementary research show for you to enjoy.

 

PastedGraphic-4

FelineH VanilleOugen

SimonMarsiglia Screen shot 2017-02-13 at 12.05.50 PM CeliaNabonne

KaanKorkmaz JimKlok

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 11.43.35 PM

KimLang OfiaBaytocheva FelineHjermind

NadjaSchlenker JohannesZ

Parelstrik vantablack

blauw_400

 

 

Meeting with a shape explorer


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Olivier van Herpt is young Dutch designer from Eindhoven, he graduated in 2014 form the Eindhoven design academy. We discovered his work at the “Dream Out Loud” exhibition in the Stedelijk. Both of us were strongly attracted by the 3D world and process in the show. Therefor van Herpt’s work seemed like the most instructing of all regarding his process but also due to the final objects themselves. The other aspect that catches our eye was the combination of brand new technology and crafts, (3D printing/ceramics, weaving). Van Herpt’s work consists in making ceramic shapes (vase looking shapes) with 3d printing machine that he engineered for it. We were therefor even more fascinated not only by the shapes but even more by how he got there. We had the opportunity of meeting him in his studio and ask him more about his work and work process.

The conversation immediately focused on his work process.
It all started when he was still a student at the academy, he was already interested in 3D printing and was taking ceramics as minor. He also mentioned that he had always been interested in the technical part. But was quickly limited by the technical possibilities of the machines at the academy, size wise, material wise and so on. This is when he started thinking about making his own. His approach was also mainly to combine different techniques. He therefor though about a machine that would combine man action and machine made. He wanted to have an interaction with the machine. That combination also takes place in the process of designing the object and making the object. Van Herpt had some help from student friends at the beginning but not from manufacturing industries. He started with a small machine and they got bigger with time. He designed and engineered the machines himself and learned the technical part while in the process of creating them. Also as a designer, unlike an engineer, he already had an idea about what the machine had to look like from the start. That give it a different approach but of course he had to adapt to technical issues and the machine had to adapt on what he wants to make. « It’s a parallel process between the object and the machine. »

3d-dripping

3d-printing-ceramics-1

After graduation he focused on experimenting with the machine with different techniques all about randomly approach « dripping » with different materials, such as wax, and bee wax. At the time he was experimenting with soft clay by softening it with water but had quickly explored all the possibilities with it so he then decided to focus on ceramics, dive deeper into it and use hard clay for which he had to build a new machine. Again we can see the close relation between the process of making the machine and the object, how one is to the other, and the constant need to develop a machine that is adapted to the material (hard clay).

IMG_8799

The second machine he made for the hard clay is basically like a pomp, he described it as an ‘extruder’, the innovative aspect to it is its openness and the possibility to interact with the machine that works with any kind of hard materials : « the machine is really like a tool » that he uses to make objects with. He explained that there were two ways of working with the machine. You can decided to interact with it or not. The most basic shapes are hand made. Some of the shapes are design then put into the computer and then when a machine prints it then it is machine made, or you can shape it yourself on to the machine because the machine is not closed.
This is it’s way of renewing an very old craft (ceramics). It is a human versus machine collaboration. The shapes of the products are all unique you cannot make one twice. Because of the use of clay it is also fast to make and always reusable until you cook it. It is then possible to make a lot of different try-outs and and shaped it until you are satisfied with it. Meaning that there are endless combination of shapes possible to explore. He also sees it only as the beginning and very much as an on going process of experimentation.
«It is only the beginning » as he said « it can be really random but also really controlled » which gives a bigger range of possibilities, also with the use of different colored clay, creating very different kind of shapes. He also told us that he recently started to experiment with new materials such as porcelain.

IMG_8795 IMG_8790

He is in process of creating a new machine, even bigger, to have the possibly of making bigger shapes and objects. Having the possibility now of collaborating with different fields, which was his idea in combining techniques, he is enthusiast in working not only with designers but also with artists, architects, interior designers and even industries. for example industries ordered his machines for other purposes.

This research project by Daria Nakov and Raphaelle Hugues is based on the "Dreaming Out Load" design exhibition curated by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Hella Jongerius and the in-between-state of Design.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Within a era where design industry has been mostly focusing on how-to-reach at quickest the largest market possible by basically allowing marketing and communication departments to take the lead and most companies are sales-increasing-oriented, there’s a figure I’ve been admiring a lot for a certain capability to break this kind of mechanisms. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has been an attentive observer of the industrial production process and its weaknesses and I could think of her as a designer capable to give the design industry a remarkable, somehow playful response.

Chicle Project, material experiment for The Nature Conservancy, 2009

 

By having a broad look here and there to her work, I could figure out that the strength of her designs lies in their between-state for both caring about details and imperfections and still being able to fit into an industrial production rhythm. In her work I see some sort of generosity which looks up back to the past (not just to appropriate herself – as most designers nowadays would do - of principles such as authenticity and sustainability) by giving it a further value as a result of her never-ending research around life and ”afterlife” of objects. What strikes me about Jongerius’ design approach is that she pushes design to an almost imperceptible limit which oscillates towards an artistic process. Hers seems to me closer to an art-related way of processing research, brain storming, sketching ideas and projects themselves starting as sketches, always caring about some imperfection which can emerge through unexpectedly magic come outs. This is at least what it means dealing with handicrafts. Something that she has discovered already in the 90s when giving the design industry imperfection as an answer. Concerning to Jongerius, design should firstly be communicative. This is what design is about. Its function lies mainly in its communicative power which can be measured at different levels of meaning.  Even ugliness can be very a strong means of communication. Since handicrafts primarily deal with the impossibility to produce perfect finished products, she has considered it as her own vehicle to face the anonymous perfection that industry has been producing for more than a century. In most of her works, she is been playing with the imagination of the user, by creating fore ex. a ”frog table” which is basically a frog seating at the table itself and a question which comes along with that is: why do we need imagination for (a specific) utility? isn’t use already enough?

 

Frog Table [Natura Design Magistra] 2009

According to the Dutch designer, there is a persistent prejudice concerning the essential difference, drastic separation between designs that are made to be purely functional and expressive designs which are able to tell stories which go beyond themselves as objects.

Once again the function of design has assumed new meanings and contents. It cannot be formulated strictly depending on terms of use or comfort.
Sometimes the core signifier of design can actually be its paradoxical non-functionality > animal bowls < a project started in 2004 for which Jongerius is been selecting different pieces ouf of the Porcelain Manufacturer Collection of Nymphenburg – as a celebration of age-old crafts and treasures found within the Nymphenburg archive, in Germany.

 

Bowl with hare / Bowl with fawn / Bowl with hippopotamus

Some other aspects that I really appreciate about Hella Jongerius’ work are the experimentation with the more diverse materials and her deep passion for colours I feel somehow very close to.

In 2009 she’s been leading a project for The Nature Conservancy [x]. In this particular project Jongerius is been experimenting with the natural material of chicle, derived from the rain forests of Mexico. The project itself consisted of a group of internationally renowned designers who have been participating, initiated by the American Nature Conservancy, an organization which strives to protect sustainable materials for use in contemporary art, design and architecture. The results of the project were shown for the first time at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

Chicle project [x]

 

Argali Rugs, 2015

For this project Jongerius has created – within a palette of six colours typical of Nepalese yarns – Kilim rugs which have been hand woven from special Tibetan wool from Argali – a wild sheep breed that resides in the Himalayan mountains. The yarns themselves have been hand spun by local weavers, and their naturally faded colours and irregular character lend each rug a truly individual appeal. Each rug incorporates several design details, including a hand-embroidered area with silk yarn – a reference to an old tradition of repairing the rugs. The fringes are braided, a practice that also refers to an old custom in Nepal – this for its decorative appeal.

 

argalic0231©danskina

Argali for Danskina [x]

 

There are some many things which should be told about Hella Jongerius, that comes almost difficult to make a choice ouf of the huge amount of her research. Jongerius has been the Art Director for colours and materials at Vitra for many years, during which she has developed Vitra Colour & Material Library together with a quite recent book ‘I don’t have a favourite colour’ which basically refers to the establishment and +further development of an intelligent system of colours’, materials and textiles that make it easy to create inspiring environments in offices, homes and public spaces. It is definitely an interesting book since the Dutch designer has been illustrating her method of research and the application of its results to the Vitra product portfolio.

 

'I don't have a favourite colour' [x]

 

Jongerius way of dealing with the design experience is very fascinating for me since I’ve always felt quite far away from the design process, very related to super appealing – almost perfectly finished products.
Her installation/selection within the textile archive of KLM company for Dream Out Loud exhibition at the Stedelijk has been so inspiring for me. It confirmed me further my pre-existing love for textile matter. It immediately brought me to a sort of aesthetics that I personally feel pretty much related to. By reading part of her book Misfit and her .Manifesto. Beyond The New written together with Louise Schouwenberg so many exciting questions came up – concerning the contemporary era – where are we going to? design/art? this over exploited back to the roots feeling and the over flooded quantity of emerging designers. What can design add to the world of plenty? and What is functionality in the here and now?

 

Can high-end designs have any social significance?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

On first sight I loved Formafantasma’s designs, they held a certain elegance and beauty in their simplicity, the back to basics materials, gathered from the natural world juxtapose themselves, feeling both strong and delicate at the same time. It brought out my childhood fascination, I recalled scavenging for treasures on the British beaches of my childhood and taking them home to make new creations or to merely bring a glimpse of the natural world into my home in the dense, man-made city. These designers took this fascination, a primal human action of scavenging/collecting to an industrial level, contemplating the natural world by sampling, casting, weaving, reshaping their materials, making connections between unlikely materials to form a delicate balance between the rough and smooth, fragile and strong.

Formafantasma -Craftica
Bone Jug, 2012 (Cowbone, leather, mouth blown glass) from Craftica series

Their work is fascinating also because of the delicacy with which they deal with their subject matter, not only with the physical properties of the materials but the symbolic and historical meaning. Their project Craftica for instance is an investigation into leather, highlighting our ancient roots of hunting for food, tools and body protection. They channel prehistoric tools, durable tools for survival made of bone and stone, combining the simplicity of these ancient tools into a modern aesthetic.

Tools of bone were originally a practical use of materials but are now becoming a design statement, a hark back to our ancestral heritage, a sign of simpler times within a society too lazy to source sustainable, durable materials, instead opting for the cheap, easy version –mass produced materials with processes which are quickly damaging our environment.

formafantasma_craftica_6 formafantasma_craftica_14
Wolffish stool, 2012 (Wood, vegetal tanned wolffish leather)
Bladders water containers, 2012 (Pig and cow bladders, brass, mouth blown glass, cork)
from Craftica series

It is designers such as Formafantasma who are questioning this use of cheap, destructive materials, replacing them with more sustainable/unique alternatives. With each piece you can see where the materials came from and you question the story behind each material; the fish skin leather –a by-product of the fish food industry, in Alaska alone there are 2 billion pounds of fish by-products every year including fish skins which are often dumped into landfill or back into the ocean, left to pollute the water and kill off species’ (x article on an Alaskan start-up using salmon skin leather), or the cork leather –by harvesting the species of oak tree, Quercus Suber of their bark to form cork every 9 years rather than harming the trees it helps them live longer. Therefore, these designs are refreshing in a society where we don’t know where so many of our products come from.

However all of this comes at a price, an unlabelled price, a sale inquiry at a high-end gallery. Does this step into the elite then diminish the beauty or sustainability of these objects? These products, inspired by those that were once precious items necessary for survival then become an expensive showpiece. The matters of sustainability aren’t so important, it then becomes about the recognition and the money. Is it enough that they are potentially inspiring a next generation of designers, or inspiring the people that visit the Stedelijk museum to think more about where their everyday products come from? This engagement with the issue of the way we deal with our resources engages the viewer but it doesn’t solve the problem, instead it benefits the designer, giving them the recognition of being a sustainable designer making unique products.

So, are there sustainable, affordable designers out there who are actually impacting the way we live? Of course there are many design companies trying to come up with solutions to these problems, a good example is material science company, Evocative who have developed Mushroom Materials, a sustainable building material made from agricultural byproducts and mushroom Mycelium; these provide a natural alternative to common synthetic packaging and the company have experimented with using this as both packaging and a material for product design, producing stools and tables, as well as offering an affordable DIY pack. This opens up a way of buying products that are good for our environment, in addition to encouraging people to make their own products. A number of different designers have experimented with Mushroom Materials, for example architectural studio The Living built an organic tower Hy-Fi for the annual MoMA temporary structure, a biodegradable material was therefore perfect for the temporary building. By creating this innovative material Evocative have opened a door to a new future material that could replace the depleting materials that are destroying our environment.

giy-bag_1024x1024Hy-Fi-by-The-Living_dezeen_784_0

Grow It Yourself, Mushroom Material from Evocative $10
Hy-Fi, 2014 The Living Pavilion made with Mushroom Material

Another example of innovative sustainable design is the Paper Pulp Helmet designed by Tom Gottelier, Bobby Petersen and Ed Thomas, who made use of the many discarded newspapers around London’s transport system and recycled these to form helmets which would potentially cost £1, thus a low-cost environmentally-friendly solution to bike safety in the city. The design was just a prototype but the cheap and recyclable material/process is a perfect example of the future direction of design we need to take in order to preserve the planet.

dezeen_Paper-Pulp-Helmet-by-Tom-Gottelier-Bobby-Petersen-and-Ed-Thomas_1

Paper Pulp Helmet, 2013 Tom Gottelier, Bobby Petersen and Ed Thomas

In my research I found it very difficult to find these examples, searching for ‘sustainable product design’ offers a lot of high-end designers with very expensive products or similarly to Formafantasma prices aren’t shown and they are presented in galleries more as a work of art than a sustainable design, therefore they aren’t presenting an immediate solution.

Perhaps we need government schemes to encourage designers/bigger companies to use better materials and to sell these products at affordable prices so they can compete with the mass-produced products that are often badly made and harmful to the environment. In recent years we have seen many countries across the world introduce a charge for plastic bags in supermarkets. This due to the fact that around 8m tonnes of plastic makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, posing a serious threat to the marine environment. The charge was introduced by the government to try to influence consumer behavior and the result is massively affecting the amount of plastic waste, in England the number of single-use plastic bags was reduced by 85% over the first six months. If governments enforced similar rules on other products; introducing taxes to products with harmful materials then perhaps it could influence consumers to opt for better sourced products.

We, as consumers have brought about this problem, being so materialistic yet simultaneously too lazy to source sustainable products; we are struck by the aesthetic of a product and buy it without thinking where it came from or the ethical implication, just as I was struck by Formafantasma’s work in the Stedelijk, not considering the possible downsides of the designs. If there was a large scale enforcement of better quality, environmentally-friendly products then maybe consumers would think more before they buy.

Since books can’t fly, lets angle them instead


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Since books can’t fly, lets angle them instead

I’m usually a patient and thorough person. My apartment is always in an acceptable order, I iron my clothes, I bike at an average pace, I don’t lose my patience when I stand in the slowest line at the grocery store. If I start reading a book, I always finish it sooner or later.

But; whenever I visit a bookstore or a library, and I get confronted by thousands of books, I completely lose my patience.

I know that there is a very clever and simple system to find what you are searching for, and that someone carefully placed every book in alphabetic order, neatly lined up on the bookshelves. But when I stand before the books, I get the same anxious stomach ache as when someone asks me a simple mathematical question that I usually can answer in one second, but in the stressed situation I turn red and stutter that I don’t know.

So how could I avoid this brain-freeze related paralyzation in the context of books?

Solution:

So lets start with the order of the books. The order is usually determined by the alphabetic order of the authors name or the title, which makes sense since it’s both practical and logical, which I’m a big fan of.

Now imagine that you stand before the alphabetically organized bookshelf, turning the pages in Hendrikje Koersen’s poetry collection De witte boot. You are now amazed over the treasure you found, and start to eye the bookshelf after more poetry.

Here is the interesting part:

Imagine every book containing poetry, magically hoovering in front of the bookshelf, making it easy as a piece of cake for you to find.

Sounds good right? Unfortunately I’m not a wizard and therefore not in a position to change the laws of nature, but I can however physically highlight a category of books, by tilting the short-side of them, so they hang over the bookshelves end, pointing out in the room, without actually falling down.

To angle these books, you could use a very simple wooden tool as in the illustration below.

angler

Left picture: Angler, viewed from the side

Right picture: Angler, viewed from above

How:

I have chosen to call this tool an angler, since it is used to literally angle books. (Angler is also the word used to describe a person who is doing angling, a kind of sport fishing, which is fitting since you hold your fishing rod in a angle similar to my wooden tool.)

angler and fishingrod

Left picture: The Angler

Right picture: Fishing rod 

The angler-tool is made of a very simple construction of wood. It can both be used in singles or in groups, but in the context of bookshelves, I will describe the usage of multiple angler-tools.

To use it you first have to fasten it to a bookshelf, and then put it in the angle that is needed. You can choose from five different angles, each representing a different category.

I have chosen to represent poetry, architecture, design, photography and fine art in this scenario, since I study at an art school where these subjects are the most presented in the school-library. In theory, you could add even more angles to the tools design, but I believe that that would affect the clarity of the category’s in a negative way.

anglers angles

Picture: The five different angles that can be used

The tool has five angles, each representing on of the category’s above.

The angles are:

90

110

130

150

170

The angle 170 will be most far out from the bookshelf, and thus also highlight the book. I want to use it as a category for Poetry, because I believe that poetry it is an underrepresented subject that is read the least in art schools in comparison to other subjects. Having this subject highlighted could direct more attention to poetry and maybe influence someone to take a look in the book, even if this person usually does not read poetry.

Angle 90 would be used for books about Fine Art, since I believe that Fine Art is the subject with the highest quantity of books, which therefore makes it important for them to stay further back so they don’t block the view of the angled books, hanging out a bit from the bookshelf.

It is also a category of books that are often used for research in an art university, so it is important for their title to be visible to make them easy to find.

Angle 110 would be used for the Design-category, for the same reason as Fine Art.

The 130 angle would be used for Architecture, and angle 150 for Photography.

 

visualisation

Picture: Illustration of how a book-shelf using the angler could look.

Result:

By using this angler tool system a modified bookshelf will look like a relief due to the books protruding in different angles. If you are looking at the bookshelf from a distance, you should have an easy time recognizing the different categories by the angle of the books. Looking at the bookshelf from a closer distance, you would be able to find your book by using the alphabetic order.

By making the bookshelf look like a relief instead of a plain overview, it will invite the viewer for a more tactile experience of the books, because you are not only able to touch and see the spine of the book, but also the front and back side, the material of the cover and the colors of the pages.

The tool may only be a small object, but it would affect not only the angle of the books physically, but also the viewers visual perception of the bookshelf, both from  far and close distances.

 

Design Holland and Belgium


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The composition of the ceramic vases Belgian artist Rogier Vandeweghe and vases Dutch artist Jan de Rooden.

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Firstly, I’d love to explain why I’ve chosen ceramic vases for this essay. I imagine how the fingers are buried in soft brown slimy mass when I am thinking about creating a vase. I remember a few stories associated with clay from childhood. I grew up in a village. I loved poking around in the mud, but I had a special passion for the mud formed after rain on the roadway. Vehicles in the village – trucks, and the land under the wheels was pressed carefully because of heavy machine. As a soft mass, it was very pleasant to touch. Mud was becoming really strong as soon as it started to dry. I loved to do the round cakes of this manure. A day after i used to threw them on the floor and watch them breaking into pieces. This is the first thing I imagine when I’m thinking about ceramics. It seems to me very important to understand people, what events have affected them, how their personalities formed. An artwork produced by the artist containes all the information about his life, sensibility, condition. That’s why I’d love to highlight some events in the biography of Rogier Vanderwede and Jan de Rooden.

Born in 1923, he was the youngest son in the family. They moved a few years later to Beernem. From 17 to 23 years old, he studied at the Art Academy in Ghenthe. In the year of 1974 he was followed by a short internship at Joost Maréchal. In 1948 Rogier formed a business with his elder brother on the basis of fathers larger company. Their studio was named ‘Perignem (Latin for “through the fire”). In 1954 he married in the Church of St.Anne in Bruges on Maryanna Pyck (the collection vase that i chose called: Rogier Vandeweghe en Maryanna Pyck). Maryanna worked since 1952 as a ceramics painter at Perignem. As soon as regular production was established, Rogier decided to change direction towards a more modern product. The cautious, rather conservative attitude of Laurent and especially of Cecile Roets, which is in complete contrast with the radical and total renewal sought by Rogier, are the direct cause of the rupture between the two brothers in the summer of 1956. In 1957, Rogier Vandeweghe didn’t pay much attention to make his first ceramic production. In some cases, his wife Myranna Pyck painted the initials “RVDW”, eventually adding “Sint Andries”, with cold enamel after the firing. Soon however, Rogier adds this mark with glaze. In 1960, the workshop is named “AMPHORA».

Jan de Rooden Born in Nijmegen in 1931. When he was 5 years old his mother died. From 6 to 14 years old, he was admitted to Elementary School of the Heilig Landstichting. The landscape around us formed a beautiful country to grow up in. “In November 1944 I left home for the Passionist monastery in Mook September 1952 I became novice in the Passionist monastery in Pey, but after nine months I left the novitiate forever. Ultimately I could not reconcile myself with life in a monastery. I found that life too cut off, too safe and too well-provided for. ” As autodidact he started working in the studio of ceramist Lucie Q. Bakker in Amsterdam in 1956, and in 1958 started his own studio with Johnny Rolf with whom he later married.

Rogier was studying in artistic school and Jan at theological collage. But the story of the two artists is like when they meet their women and begin to follow their way.

I feel a similar sense when i am looking at the vase, I find something natural in that. Vases Jan de Rooden remind me about the forest, the surface of the vase is like a bark of a tree overgrown with moss and seabed, shells overgrown with silt. Vases Rogier Vandeweghe remind me of the mycelium, or forest spirits, or rocks. I like that he used black clay, I’ve got a association with caves and coal mining. From vases is completely different. Jan de Rooden used a simple sealed form. It gives a sense of confidence and stability, which in combination with glazing, creates the effect of natural stone. Rogier Vandeweghe several vases connects one composition and shape of these vases is like a bottle, but shorter, with a thin neck and a narrowing nizu.eta composition looks like a beehive. The Rogier Vandeweghe vase can be used rather only as an object, and the Jan vase may well accommodate some flowers.

In conclusion I would say that the facilities are beautiful.

BIG CHUNK, little purpose


Saturday, October 10, 2015

When I first heard about the task of choosing a pair of compared design objects in the Boymans van Beuningen exhibition “Design Derby” –where Dutch design is being compared to Belgium design– I thought it was going to be a long and painful process since I have never been interested in design. Especially not in furniture design which I know nothing about. It was a relief when I found out that the exhibition was well organized and the objects presented were described in an understandable manner. At first I had to take several strolls through the exhibition before I realized what my choice should be, and it was no other then the Grandfather clocks. Seeing them made the choice so easy that I even didn’t think about how hard it would be to compare them. That turned out to be difficult, since only later I realized I know nothing about the styles of design and even the point of owning one is completely unclear to me.

002_rb-image-1778000

So these are the clocks that I ended up choosing, The one on the left is Designed by a Belgium artists Georges Hobe and architect Antoine Pompe in 1902 while the other clock at the right is designed by a Dutch designer Christiaan Wegerif also in 1902. You can see that both of the clocks are made at the same time, yet they are completely different. The Dutch designed clock is much more masculine and solid, also it has more detail and decor in general. The Belgium clock meanwhile is famine and is more about the function, It hasn’t been overly decorated and is just as complicated as it needs to be in order to serve its function. To have a general idea of what similar types of clocks look like and how they are the same or different you can visit this link that sells german grandfather clocks or this that sells grandfather clocks in general and has some background info as well.

So after the exhibition I thought to my self what the reason was of making this, (now seemingly) foolish choice that seemed so easy and clear at the moment I made it. Suddenly it clicked to me; my grandmother, she used to have several Grandfather clocks, and only now I started understanding how sad it is that I never paid attention to them. I never had the chance of asking her why does still keep them. My grand mother was very old and as I noticed, the clocks just became closer to her with time, after she got moved to an old people home, she took only few belongings with her, few pictures, bottle of cognac and one of the grandfather clocks. I guess there it served as a reminder of past and the overall importance of time.

So due to the lack of information on the specific Grandfathers clock’s of my choice I decided to do a general research and the first thing that was unclear to me was the origin of the name “Grandfather clock” why not Grandmother clock or just Tall clock? Once again it all comes down to pop music, its named after a song “My Grandfather’s Clock” performed by an American songwriter named Henry Work [x], who wrote a song about a clock which stopped working the same minute of the day when the last surviving owner died and happened to be a grandfather, you might think that this is a made up myth but let me surprise you that the chances of this actually happening are pretty high since the less expensive clocks at that time needed to be wound every day or they just stopped working. The Grandfather clock is usually 1.8 – 2.4 meters tall and is a weight driven pendulum mechanism that is located in the tower or the waist of the body, this kind of clock was first developed in 1670 by an English clockwork William Clement.

Longcase_clock antique grandfather clock Friese staande klok

Until early 20th century these were the most accurate time keeping technologies so they were often kept by huge businesses and rich households. Now they only serve as decorative objects since it needs a lot more maintenance then a everyday wrist watch and most people now don’t have the TIME for that. Since I have a very limited interest and knowledge of history I decided to take a look at some modern day grandfather clocks, and I was rather sad to find out that with few exceptions they are not made by hand anymore and they have all become electronic. So I found very few companies that still make handcrafted clocks but only this Kauffman’s company offers to make a clock costum made just for you and how ever you want it so it has a much higher value and can relate to a specific family which in this case I think is very important. Though I must admit that the clocks made by hand then and now are not pleasing to my taste, and I find the modern ones more aesthetic and visually appealing for example this black and simple clock.

BLACK_CLOCK_1

At the same time by loosing the need of a huge item that serves only the purpose of showing time they now serve new purposes that previously just couldn’t fit in the same casing with a pendulum mechanism. They can have built in drawers or be used as book shelves a and probably many other new purposes could be thought of. Here you can see the same clock as previously but opened and instead of the pendulums you have a set of drawers, that could be used perhaps for your dirty underwear that you wish to hide from the public eye.

BLACK_CLOCK_OPEN

Another great function but a rather ugly outcome.

CLOCK_BOOK

I think the shape of clocks should not be forgotten, they just need to be redesigned to serve more purposes then showing time or they can just as well turn in to art pieces since they have such a strong image and meaning as a thing on it’s own, for example artist Maarten Baas has done few works that relate to grandfather clock directly or to time in genera. Most related to this subject would be his work “Real time” where instead of the usual clock face there is an LCD screen within the clock that shows a human inside the clock drawing the time on the clock face. Read about three contemporary artists that explore the general concept of time.

I personally don’t like clocks at all since they just keep reminding me of the amounts of time I have wasted on useless activities. So I would need a grandfather clock that goes backward and is constantly fooling me or doesn’t show time at all. Something like this…

CLOCK_FOR_ME

 


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