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"chair" Tag


Birthday-Chair


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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

 

CHAIR HIERARCHY

 

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

 

CHAIR COMPOSITION

 

The ritual of a birthday was that the lucky birthday person stayed in bed while the rest was preparing breakfast and the living room with as finishing touch the ‘birthday-chair’.
The ‘birthday-chair’ means that one of the chairs was covered in garlands and, very important, the chair was moved to the head of the table.
The chair, a simple and comfortable design by Gispen, inspired by the tube-construction of Marcel Breuer, used in a school, than sold to my parents for 5 guilders a piece, is quite hard to decorate because of the simplicity. 3 days a year it felt like my responsibility to decorate the chair in an artistic and surprising way.
The goal was of course to make the one who’s birthday it was feel important. It was his/her special day. By placing the chair at the head of the table he or she was the boss of the day. By making the chair look special I tried to make the person feel happy and loved.

 

BIRTHDAYCHAIR

 

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

‘The Mosquito’


Friday, March 27, 2015

I am sitting behind a table, in my parents house, on a familiar, comfortable chair. I am used to this seat and it has been around for as long as I can remember. My grandmother got a set of four teak wooden chairs with a matching table as a wedding gift in the late fifties.  I have seen them in two different states throughout my life. My mother was given the set when she was about twenty years old. Feeling that the natural teak wood colour was outdated and ugly she decided to paint the chairs red. The table was not present until recently.

About a year ago my mom started to regret her decision to paint the chairs, and had them brought back to their original state. After my parents moved to a new house the chairs and table were placed in their newly furnished home, where they stand in full glory. Ever since then I keep admiring them more

 

family-around-Jacobsen_900

two generations sitting at the dinner table

 

The Danish designer/architect Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) introduced the munkegaard chair – also known as the mosquito – in 1955, in the Munkegaard school located in Gentofte, north of Copenhagen. The school is considered one of his most important architectural works, within which he designed everything from the light fixtures to the sinks [x]. The chair that belonged to it became an absolute classic. Because of the setting that the chairs were made for, the design is highly functional. They are very easy to stack, which is perfect in places where you have to deal with limited space. They are extremely durable and comfortable at the same time. The part on which your back rests follows the natural shape of your spine. The seat of the chair is made out of pressure moulded sliced veneer. The bases are made of chrome steel tubes. The thin wood is strong but flexible. If you lean backwards, the wood moves slightly with you. The chairs are more than just convenient though. The elegant objects have an inviting look. They are unique in their simplicity with an understated aesthetic quality, which makes them so brilliant. They will complement any decor or surrounding, and bring an edge to any interior. Having only been produced from 1955 until the late sixties (and for a short amount of time in the nineties), they are now back in production again. When you pay attention they appear everywhere. When I was on a holiday in Denmark, I noticed that the chair was used in many different places, from office spaces, to cafeterias, and from the fancy to the less fancy places. Everyone seems to appreciate them. See here a website made especially for the chair.

 

Munkegaard schoolThe mosquito chair

Munkegaard School                             The Mosquito Chair, Teakwood

 

Jacobsen plays an enormous part in the image we have of danish design, and maybe even design in general. Traces of his work are found worldwide, even now still, thirty years after his death. Jacobsen was a man of extraordinary vision, strong ideals and in his time was considered true avant-garde. He is not considered intellectual or analytical in a traditional sense. Jacobsen was a producer; even when he was not working he worked nonetheless. Relaxation for him meant a shift in the creative realm. His output therefore was enormous. As a designer he strongly believed in the ‘form follows function’ motto. Jacobsen was inspired by the works of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius, which is explicitly visible in his own early works. He was also inspired by the furniture of Ray and Charles Eames who worked a lot with bent plywood. Even though Jacobsen is most famous as a designer he never called himself as such, and it is said he had a strong dislike towards the word. A lot of his designs were created in the context of the architectural buildings that they would be placed in.

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

Here from ago


Friday, March 27, 2015

03/03/2015, 10:00 AM

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

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Chris Junge in the monodrama ‘ons ons’.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Melle_kill-your-darlings Melle_kill-your-darlings-1

Scale model(corrugated board chair) • Scale model(falcon board chair)

 

Example of customized print
Example of customized print

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

Through Melle’s story; the whole process of deciding about the material, way of production, and constant problem-solving, I have come to realize that designing chairs is one of the hardest tasks for its creator.

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Proving Prouvé


Friday, March 27, 2015

Starting our research trip through the endless material of chairs and endless amount of possibilities to wright a research about, we traveled to remote cities to attend group chair exhibitions. During this whole complicated ritual of coming up with a specific chair, I was always thinking of the simplest one. One that I could really describe because it would be just basic. And what is about basic that fascinates me is that anyone can imagine themselves on it. It might not be the most comfortable chair but for sure it will be one to spend some study hour on.
During these basic thoughts on basic chairs, my mind would travel to the chairs that I had been sitting on for 12 continuous years in my life, from the moment that I started primary school and finished high school.

13.thrania_metalika_gl

It is probably be the chair I have been sitting on the most. I have spend endless amounts of time getting bored on this chair, getting back pain on this chair and always trying to switch between positions as to find the right place for my feet. This would be in school, when I would bend my knees, place my legs under my butt so that I have a pillow on the basis of the chair with my feet coming out of the empty space, right under the piece of plywood supporting my back. Teachers would not allow non upright positions.
I remember I was then complaining to them on why they were using a comfortable chair with foam pillows for their desks in class, while us, a mass production of  students in a mass production education were sitting on mass production chairs.
This would be just four steel legs and two molded pieces of wood. Thin plywood.
On the group chair exhibition I found myself identifying with Jean Prouvé’s Standard Chair produced during the 1930’s-1950’s since it looked very similar to the school chair I was recalling at the moment.

jean prouve

Going through the background of Jean Prouvé and his architectural achievements I got informed about his fascination with mass production of machine-made furniture and his constant adaptation to the problems of his times through working in a collective union with fellow architects such as Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Sonia Delaunay. In 1930, Jean Prouvé  joined the French Union of Modern Artists(UAM), a groundbreaking movement who’s artists proclaimed ’We must rise up against everything that looks rich, against whatever is well made, and against anything inherited from grandmother…”.  Apparently, through this collective way of working, simple and basic furniture for collective use were produced. Educational furniture was some of them.
This is when I realized that my visual connection of his chair to my school chair was not random.  The name of it gives it away: “Standard Chair”.
Unfortunately I never got to sit on one of the Standard Chairs but I am convinced that it feels more or less the same.

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

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

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

A-001

 

Form follows fact


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cow chair was made in 1997 as a graduation project by the dutch designer Niels van Eijk. It is made from a single untreated cowhide which is stretched while soaking wet around a pre-consisting chair. It is left on the chair for a week until it has dried into a solid form. The idea was born when the designer looked down at his shoes and noticed how perfectly they were shaped around his feet. If this was possible, cowhide must have the quality to take on other forms, he thought, such as the shape of a chair. Van Eijk claims he is not a man of many words, he focuses on material and methods, which is clear in the case of the Cow chair. Despite that I think this chair is filled with relevant messages and comments on how we make and consume the objects surrounding us. It redefines the conventional use of familiar materials, It has strong relation to the discussion of using local recourses and it puts our attitude towards using animal products in context.

cow_chair_newmain

cow chair by Niels van Eijk 

The Cow chair does not try to conceal the single material used in its making. It almost looks like a newly skinned hide, having been laid on a chair at the tannery, waiting for further processing. Even the name of it has a very direct purpose, you are supposed to know that this chair was made of cowhide.
Normally, leather products have undergone such an intense working process that they do not remind us of they’re origin as much as the Cow chair does. As people of modern society, specially in the western world, have managed to distance ourselves from the source of the products we use that when we are exposed to the real thing a feeling of surprise or even repulsion arises. Sitting in a Chesterfield eating a fillet somehow feels more comfortable to most people than snacking on pigs ears and feeling the familiar texture of a cow behind your back.
Since 1997 several designers have experimented with the use of untreated leather or familiar animal body parts and taken the familiarity of they’re origin even further than Van Eijk. The artist Nandipha Mntambo uses the same method of stretching leather to form hides around her body as sculpture material. By leaving the hides unshaven she achieves feminine, yet animal like objects. She wants to address the things we demand of the female body, and how we want to change it, shape it, shave it bare.

1-Mirror-image cut-final-websize1
mirror image by Nandipha Mntambo • precious skin by Viktoria Ledig

Viktoria Ledig, a Swedish designer, used the tail, head and ears among other parts of the cow that otherwise would have been thrown away to make a line of products called precious skin. She tanned the body parts with a method that kept all the characteristics of the skin, so the final products had obvious wrinkles and blemishes along with a pale yellowish colour not so different from a humans skin. When describing the reason behind the project she asserts the following:
Leather is dead animal skin. This is perhaps the raw reason behind the human fascination with it. It is beautiful, precious and grotesque at the same time. We sometimes forget that touching leather is to handle a former living being’s hide.

The project and other similar ones for example Rachel Freire´s nipple dresses have caused a strong negative reaction, a louder outrage than is heard every time a designer puts out a more conventional product made from animal products.
When Jan van Eijk later formed a studio with his wife and co-designer Van der Lubbe, they designed a product with a more deliberate intention of discussing use of animal products. They used mole rats that had been killed on golf courses in order to make the experience of golf playing more comfortable. The product was a pair of loafers made from the whole body of the rat, hair, tail, nose and feet still attached. I think this work is a great example of putting our claim on nature into context. Although the making of these loafers used material that otherwise would have gone to waste, wearing them is an uncanny reminder of the animals fate. In the same way removal of an unwelcome animal only for increasing human leisure seems unnecessary or even cruel but it can easily be hushed or forgotten.

 

mole-4

moleshoesloka

leather football shoes by Adias • mole shoes by Van Eijk and van der Lubbe

The method Van Eijk used to mould the leather is very inspiring. The finished object is not soft and smooth but hard solid enough to stand on its own as well as supporting  a human being. I think it invites us to discover endless ways of using hide to construct objects. It isn´t too different from the way many nations made their first books, or the way old drums and other instruments are constructed.

By stretching the hide with water there is no need to use toxic chemicals to preserve the material and prevent it from rotting. This is on the other hand unavoidable when tanning leather, even if it is done in the most eco-friendly way. So in fact using the hide as done with the Cow chair and the other things mentioned above makes far much more sense than using it to make soft articles such as shoes and clothing.

 

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Making of prototype 1 by Garðar Eyjólfsson

Garðar Eyjólfsson uses a similar method of shaping leather while making lamps by pouring hot water over it. Instead of selling the lamp around the world he shares the way of shaping the lamp shade with a video. By using such a simple method and sharing it on the web he makes it possible for people everywhere to make use of it. He transports an idea, not a material, and therefor makes it possible to produce the lamp in different places with local materials. I see that same quality in the Cow chair as well.

In the times where our consumption of material is unsustainable and our sources do not renew themselves fast enough it becomes a part of the designers job to go out of his way to source new solutions. Contemporary experiments with bioplastics, biomimicry and new ways of recycling are a important part of this process. But I think it is equally important to reinvestigate our old materials, our old methods, just as Jan van Eijk did while designing the Cow chair. How can we use them or parts of them to create things in a better way than we are doing now?

Super Nice Witteveen High Chair by Gerrit Rietveld


Sunday, September 29, 2013

 

images

I have chosen this object  because I didn’t realize what was his main feature at first. Which made the object very mysterious for me. It looks like a chair but I thought it could also be one made for kids (the gate would protect them from falling and the table help them eat). And their is also a hole in the middle of the seat! So I have come to the conclusion that it is a high chair toilet. I love this object because of all the colour Rietveld used. I thought  the lines present on all the file of the chair  make it look very graphic. It reminds me of the tribal art which consists in painting their bodies with lines. As you can see on the picture represented below.

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My opinion could be a little extreme but I cannot stop thinking that this chair looks like an instrument of torture. It should be comfortable to welcome a child but it is raw wood, and there are no cushions to absorb to body. The vertical and horizontal bars also vaguely recalls the prison world.

torture wre

In fact, this chair was made for Hendrikus Johannes Witteveen Junior, the future minister of Finance who was born in 1921. It is almost identical to the original one, built in 1918.
According to museum experts the Witteveen chair is important because it is the first example of Rietveld’s use of primary colors, a key step in the development of his Red, Blue Chair, considered as an icon in Dutch art history. Even in our school, a lot of students have fun and try to make their own one. Some friends have it on their balcony! Rietveld designed it in 1918, under the influence of The Stijl movement that he has integrated in 1919. This chair is painted with the primary color palette added black, white and gray and a touch of yellow, so specific to this movement. Initially designed with a natural wood finish, Rietveld gave it these colors later, in1923, after officially joined the movement.
What’s The Stijl? It is an “avant-garde” movement, founded by Theo van Doesburg, with the active participation of Piet Mondrian. will destroy the Baroque through the use of colors and “pure” forms in dynamic equilibrium, as visually weightless.  According to Marek Wieczorek “most of its members envision a utopian environment through abstract art, universal harmony in the full integration of all the arts”.

 

In addition to being a designer, Rietveld was also an architect. I have chosen the Shröder house to illustrate it. I haven’t visit it yet but I already have some really good echos. It was Rietveld opinion that sleeping, eating, bathing (in short, whatever people do at home) should be conscious activities that require a certain amount of effort : letting down the table or making up the sofa bed. Rietveld also was of the opinion that the size of the room should be in agreement with the time spent there. The ideological approach of this house lead a strict view on architecture. Truus Shröder was the ideal client : after the death of her husband, she ask Rietveld to built her a new house. It was the first house of Rietveld which was an exuberant experience for him! He came to a type of design which does not strictly define a space, but instead lets it breath by means open and closed planes, varying lines, colour accent and incidents of light. In this from all sides asymmetrical composition, the transition  between inside and outside are fluently and surprisingly.

RietveldSchroderHuisPhotoErnstMorits   images (1)

Rietveld had deeply left its mark and is always present around us (I know it’s a little easy to say that because we are  studying in one of its architecture but whatever …). His manner to rethink the space make that he will be remembered !

Zig Zag Stoel


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ik zig/zag
een zig zelf
zittende
zichzelf zaggende
zig
zag ik zigzaggen.

Ziedaar de zigzagstoel van Gerrit Rietveld. Zag jij hem ook?

Zo zonder leuning, zonder pretentie zeer zeker van zichzelf?
Zig Zag
Een Zizag, ziedaar het woordenboek, is
een bewegende lijn die plotseling van koers verandert.

Zo Spannend, de Z, ik zou hem om willen draaien om zo de Z van alle kanten te bekijken.

 

Zo, van ziehiertje zie daartje en zo en zo.

Zalig zon zigzag!
Zo zonder aarzeling aanwezig, een bazige Zigzag- Z-stoel.

Zigge zagge
zage
zigge zagge zo
zigge zagge zage zonder
zigge zagge
zoooooooooooo
ziezo
zie zo

Zigzag,
ziedaar zo in de verte
zaagt de zigzag door de lucht
gelijk een bliksemflits

O zigzag, kartonnen design klassieker, zonder ondersteuning zeer zitbaar.

Test, Test, test, test,
Ziedaar iepenhout, bout en messing,

Zigzag in zicht.

Met Zwaluwstaartverbinding verbonden, zo zigzaggend aan elkaar.
Zonder benen, zig zagt zij als een zwevende zwaluw gier!

Zij is zeer zeker zwevend aanwezig maar ruimte neemt zij niet!

Zo is Z een stoel, of is Z een tafel,of is Z een Z
Zoals je wilt!
Zig-zag-zo-zoals-
je wilt!

Stijvolle Z,
Zakelijke Z,
Zinderende Z,

Zwaluwstaart, Deuvel, Lij, Schroeven,
niet piepend iepen hout:
Een Z, een Zwiepende Zig Zaggende Zag ik nooit eerder Zig Zag stoel

Ongetooid, Ongekleurd,
Z, Zomaar Zie ik Z Overal!
Zie hier, Zie daar,
z, Z, Z, Z

Het Zigzagje, zegt Rietveld,
Ik noemde het altijd het Zigzagje,
Zegt Rietveld zachtjes zigzagggend.

Zigzagje, schotje in de ruimte,
Zag jij haar ook, zo met je blote oog?

In Z, om Z, tussen Z,
Zigzaggend zag ik Z in
en om en tussen

Zigge zagge
zage
zigge zagge zo
zigge zagge zage zonder
zigge zagge
zoooooooooooo
ziezo
zie zo


Een ruimte om op te zitten,
te zagen,
te zwoegen,
te zo evenaren,
Zo nog eentje, Zo dezelfde Z


Ijzeren Z, Fiber Z, Bandijzer Z,
Z, Z, Z, Z, Z.
Oneindige ruimtelijke Z

Zigzagje,
Zag je Zigzagje?
Gebruik je zintuigen,

Zag je zigzag je echt
Zigzaggen?
Zag je hét
Zigzagje?

Zag je een zig zelf

zittende
zichzelf zaggende
zig
zigzaggen?

 

De Zigzagstoel heeft in de geschiedenis van de twintigste-eeuwse vormgeving niet voor eenzelfde doorbraak gezorgd als de rood-blauwe leunstoel1

. De Zigzagstoel wordt in de geschiedenis van de twintigste-eeuwse vormgeving veelvuldig genoemd als voorbeeld van de synthese tussen vorm, functie en constructie die door Gerrit Rietveld werd nagestreefd.
De zigzagstoel omsluit de ruimte niet, maar doorsnijdt haar met vier vlakken: rug, zitting, poot en grondvlak.2

Volgens Rietveld corresponderen de beeldende kunsten, schilderkunst, beeldhouwkunst en architectuur met de drie elementen van het zien: schilderen met kleur, beeldhouwkunst met vorm, architectuur met ruimte. De beeldhouwkunst moest zich concentreren op één zintuig: het oog. Via het oog kan de mens ruimte evenaren, aldus Gerrit Rietveld.

Rietveld citeert dichter Tagore:

Door begrenzing, van het onbegrensde wordt de waarheid werkelijkheid”.

De Zigzagstoel was voor Rietveld een oefenterrein, een middel om nieuwe ideeën, materialen en technieken uit te proberen. De Duitse meubelontwerpers en fabrikanten Heinz (1902) en Bodo Rasch (1903-1995) hadden al eerder een stoel gemaakt met een Z-vorm, de “Geiststuhl”, maar daarin speelde de ruimtelijke werking geen rol, zoals bij Rietveld zijn Zigzagstoel.

Ida van Zijl noemt in Gerrit Rietveld, de doelstelling van Rietveld consistent, “Hij wil een deel van de onbegrensde ruimte afzonderen en op menselijke schaal brengen om die ruimte als werkelijkheid te kunnen beleven. Dat is en blijft de essentie van zijn werk, los van alle experimenten met materialen en technieken en variatie in zijn stijl”.3

Gerrit Rietveld speelde met de begrenzing tussen binnen en buiten. Kleur is voor Rietveld een middel om de begrenzing van ruimte te structureren. Vorm en kleur stimuleren een actieve waarneming die mensen uitnodigt om het werk te leren kennen.

Als literatuurwetenschapper denk ik bij het aanschouwen van de Zigzagstoel direct aan de letter Z, aan poëzie en vooral aan taal. Ik schreef een gedicht. Waarom heeft Gerrit Rietveld voor deze letter gekozen? Wat betekent Zigzag eigenlijk, waar lijkt zij op? Hoe klinkt de Z, de laatste letter van het alfabet als je de Z voortdurend gebruikt. Wat voor ruimte ontstaat er als er een stemhebbende letter Z in een ruimte wordt geplaatst? Is er zo weinig nieuws over de Zigzagstoel geschreven omdat zij niet te vangen is in beeld of taal? Omdat zij zig-zagt? Beweegt? De Z wordt een kunstwerk op zich, soms ontsnapt er kunst, in Rietveld’s woorden. De Z wordt onderdeel van de ruimte, haar voeten raken de grond, maar zij blijft toch ook een object.

Peter Vöge noemt in The Complete Rietveld Furniture de Zigzagstoel conceptueel interessant en niet zozeer interessant als sculptuur. Vöge is van mening dat de Zigzag stoel zo interessant is omdat het een dynamische kwaliteit heeft door de diagonale vorm, “Like a crouching animal about to convert watchful suspense into vigorous action”.

Voor mij is de Zigzagstoel een ruimtelijk beeld dat autonoom wordt als letter, als Z, als bewegende vorm, die je van alle kanten zou willen bekijken. De Zigzagstoel als oneindige letter, want het alfabet begint na de Z weer opnieuw bij de A tot de Z en weer opnieuw. Voor mij is de Zigzagstoel een bliksemflits en een gierzwaluw zonder poten die ongrijpbaar in de lucht blijft hangen, zonder vastigheid.
De Z- Zigzag als kunstwerk, als stoel, als experiment, als overdenking, als trillend geluid, als zin, als gedachtezigzag. Oneindig veel mogelijkheden zitten er in de Z, zie ik, want na het zien van de Zigzagstoel zie ik overal Z, Z,z, z Z.

 salie zigzag stoelen

ZigZag- salie Tekeningen

 

1,2,3 page 189, Ida van Zijl, Gerrit Rietveld

Gesamtkunstwerk ?


Saturday, September 28, 2013

ARNE JACOBSEN (11 February 1902 – 24 march 1971) is a danish architect and designer. He was first able working as an architect, then mostly influenced by the modernist ideas. Typically, modernists reject decorative motifs, to emphasize more on materials, pure geometrical forms, function and adaptation to the industry.
Following the modernist philosophy, Jacobsen concieved buildings such as the Stelling House on Gammeltorv (left picture), or the SAS Royal Hotel (right picture), both in Copenhaguen.

old-square-gammel-torv-gammeltorv-_-6-k-c-3-b-8benhavn_700_0 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He went to design products because of his interest for the Gesamtkunstwerk concept. It concerned the preoccupation of building a place as a whole, every objects matter, one place (architecture, furniture’s, light…) is driven by one full concept, vision.
Jacobsen’s design products are therefore influenced by modernist ideals, but are more precisely a part of the organic modernist movement. This movement gave to Denmark and Scandinavian countries a particular place in modern design. Jacobsen played an important contribution to that.
The philosophy of organic modernism’s main concept is to emphasize on the harmony between human living and the world of nature, so that they are combined in an united, interrelated composition for a better living. Actually, it brings to modernism a humane element to its rationnalism. It’s to create clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body.

Kokfelt House 1957 Kokfelt House

The Kokfelt House (1957) by Arne Jacobsen is a representation of what organic modernism can be in architecture.

Jacobsen uses craft and “natural” materials to build his design works. Jacobsen combines aesthetic for a better living and adaptation to industrial production (social matter); which made his works a critical and economic success in the 50’s.

The Egg

            The Egg is a chair designed in 1958 for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen. It is manufactured by Republic of Fritz Hansen.
The chair answers to the project Jacobsen was commissioned for : designing the whole hotel. He could therefore fully following his interest on the Gesamtkunstwerk concept.
The Egg is considered as a triumph concerning Jacobsen’s design : the organic form of the chair constrats with  the building’s almost exclusively vertical and horizontal surfaces. Jacobsen searched for the perfect shape by first sculpting clay in his own garage. This shape offers to the user a bit of privacy in a public space such as the hall of the hotel. It also can be used in a private place such a home to lounge. The Egg is available in a wide variety of fabric upholstery as well as leather, always combined with a star shaped base in satin polished aluminium.
By combining pure organic form, industrial adaptation, craft (strong foam inner shell underneath the upholstery technique), and conception as a part for a whole; the Egg is an excellent representation of how was design conceived in Scandinavian countries in the 50’s.

 

Interior of SAS Royal Hotel Interior of SAS Royal Hotel

        This piece shows a particular vision on human living. A better living combining functionnalism (research of materials), human proportions (requirements of the body) and aesthetic (part of a whole, pure forms). It allows the user to take distance from the flows going through public spaces or even in a private one; to find again a bit of intimacy. In a world where we are constantly solicitated, this chair offers with a cleaned form the possibility to manage to deal with those requests. That doesn’t mean to disconnect, but to get better relation to our environment.

         I wonder if the search for better living through the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which was the main preoccupation of Jacobsen, can be found in our daily lives. What happens to interior spaces when they are not conceived by professionals, but by individuals. Can we find the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk in vernacular spaces ? Do the objects, the planning of the space allow the user to enter one full vision of it ?

IS GESAMTKUNSTWERK UNCONSCIOUSLY PRESENT AROUND US ?


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