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"anti-object" Tag

A Completely New Shape

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Starting Point – Ted Noten “Chew your own Brooch”

Chew your own Brooch is a project by the Dutch designer Ted Noten, who is known for his jewellery and bag designs. It was started in the late 90‘s in the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, where visitors were asked to sculpt their own brooch with a piece of chewing gum which was afterwards cast in either gold or silver.


At first I could not see the connection between the golden shapes and the chewing gum above, still wrapped in its paper. The package was designed to resemble a regular chewing gum which seems to emphasise the close relationship between design and commerciality.

Having a concept for making own designs which is accessible to a wide range of people is a valuable thing. It enables somebody to adjust and shape a product instead of making use of a pre-designed model which may not be as suitable to an individual‘s needs but is more representing a general trend.

Even though mass-designs have their perks, people have always been striving for individuality – and they still struggle to find ways of expressing their ideas. Opportunities like Ted Noten‘s Chew your own Brooch are therefore a great enrichment to the world of design.

The beauty of this concept lies in the idea of creating completely new shapes by using everyday products. If the common purpose of an object is being put aside, new ways of applying its materiality and construction can be discovered.
To me looking at everyday objects without bias becomes more and more important since I realised that too many doors are being closed by focussing too much on what something already is instead of all the things it could be.

Taking this project as a starting point I want to investigate more on “new shapes”.


Experiment – Creating New Shapes

One way of creating a new shape is to exchange an objects material and see what it does to it‘s shape.


cup1 cup2 cup3 cup4

Ceramic to Chewinggum (aprox. 60 pieces) 

In this case what hapens is, that the reproduction does not want to stay in the original shape. The softness of the chewinggum allows the cup to collaps as time passes which leads to a unfunctional, and yet new shape.



Elastic to Polyurethanium

Something very different happens if you replace a strechy material with a solid one: the reproduction breaks into sections, creating different pieces with individual shapes. It almost seems as if by changing the material, the object has been dissected and therefore can be looked at from new angles.



Plastic to Polyurethanium

The original shape is almost not visible in the reproduction which, with its massive and clumpy look, is quite the opposite of transparency and lightness.


Another way of making new shapes it to detach the process of creation from personal intentions or standardized movements that were learned before and to use the element of chance.

This has been done by many artists and also musicians (John Cage, “Number 14” and “Indeterminacy)

Simple elements could be the use of dice or outer influences like nature or spontaneous reactions of people.


What does a new Shape bring?

Art World

There are several examples from the Art World where the replacement of an object‘s material leads to a dysfunctional reproduction. In the case of Claes Oldenburg‘s Soft Toilet creating an „anti-sculpture“ or an „anti-object“ was the aim, functionality did not play a role. Also Ted Noten changed an everyday object like a bag into something which cannot be used in the classical sense but is being used as a transmitter of a message or opinion.



Shapes constantly change in nature, everything is shifting, adapting, evolving, it is all about survival and therefore must be functional.

In colder regions of the world, animals have a different surface-to-volume ratio than animals living in a warm climate, meaning that the size of their extremities and the compactness of their body depends on external influences. Compared to a regular Fox, a Fennec has extremely big ears which enlarge his body surface in order to lose more heat. Even though both animals derive from the same family, the shapes of their bodies changed due to different needs.


New Shapes as Solutions

In the end, whether it is making a statement, forwarding a message or personal view, adapting to new circumstances or improving a present situation, it is always about a problem that requires a solution which can be found in a different shape through evolution, reflection or experimenting.


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