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"construction" Tag


i see, i see what you don’t see


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Walking into an environment filled up with design items is interesting and tough at the same time. It is interesting to see how the items communicate with their surroundings especially because they were never meant to stand next to each other. Of the many design pieces i liked there was only one which both attracted my attention as well as my imagination.

A piece that is part of the cubic structure collection from 1964 by Jan Slothouber and William Graatsma.

Jan Slothouber and William Graatsma - cubic structure (1964)

Because the plastic material is transparent, the colours are being mixed on the white textile. For a moment i could not recognize if the textile was dyed or not. It was a sort of visual illusion and in the meantime i asked my self why is this soft and kind material locked into a hard plastic box? Is it design or is it art?

jan slothouber

William Graatsma together with Jan Slothouber began to work for the Dutch State Mines (DSM) in the beginning of the 1950′s. Their job was to create and develop packaging, product applications, advertisements and exhibitions, thereby establishing DSM’s corporate image.

cubic constructions p139_515pxcubic constructions p205_515pxcubic constructions p203_515px

They experimented with cubic constructions, developing them for applications in exhibition design such as the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels. They limited themselves and decided to use almost only the cube as form or starting point, thus they tried to determine the principle of cubic constructions.

cubic constructions p158-159_1000px

Jan Slothouber was opposed to individualistic movements such as the painters of Cobra, and preferred a more ‘democratic’ artistic form, whereby the cube was the universal shape that everybody could understand and use. In fact he was an architect, he believed and practiced what Louis Sullivan [x] said in an article in 1896; “form ever follows function“.

Slothouber and Graatsma went on to found the Centre for Cubic Constructions (CCC). In 1966, CCC won the Sikkens Prize (jointly with Peter Struycken [x] and Johannes Itten [x]), for their innovative contributions to art and design. Their approach to commercial exhibition design earned for Slothouber and Graatsma an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1967. Design, dimensions and experiments in colour and lettering, all in relation to the cube, were being displayed under the title ‘Four Sides: Size, Shape, Colour, Letter’ (Vierkanten: maat, vorm, kleur, letter). Three years later, they represented the Netherlands with their Cubic Constructions at the Venice Biennale in 1970 (GRA Library).

cubic constructions p408_515pxcubic constructions p409_515pxcubic constructions p407_515px

After all this success, they were known by the public as artists instead of architects or designers. This became very visible when they were asked to design the post stamps for the former PTT in 1970. The profit from selling the stamps went to a charity for children. During that time, the PTT had a lot of critique for choosing such an “avant-garde artists”. The charity was afraid that the designs were to abstract for the bigger public and the stamps would not have been sold.

ccc_postzegels_515px

After his carreer at the DSM, in 1970, Eindhoven’s Technische Hogeschool invited Jan Slothouber to set up a Faculty of Form Theory in the new architectural engineering department. Together with his students, he developed ‘new cubic constructions’ (nieuwe kubiese konstrukties).

As professor of the new faculty he gave several lectures on a regular base. In 1971 one of his public lectures was “The form of our surroundings“, where he explains that our surrounding is built up by creatures, objects and happenings, and they are visible because of their shape. Our surrounding exist, because we see, experience, think or execute it, but everybody experiences it differently, because everybody’s awareness of the surrounding is different.

Therefor we are unable to talk about it as something common, it is only an apparent similarity because we perceive these shapes the same way, but it doesn’t mean we experience them on the same way. Sensory observations like sight is measurable, but our personal emotions change the result. Our feeling can influence our perception of the surrounding and that is why our surrounding can occur differently for everybody. The emotional perception is highly underestimated in architectural design, only invisible form aspects can be experienced. But for pleasure both (visible and invisible) form aspects are important.

Furthermore he explains the importance of the usefulness in our surrounding, whereby he mentions that the architect has to distance himself from artistic ambitions. These ambitions make the livability dissimilar for every levels of society. The best thing to do is to create an understandable form language, a base for our communication with the constructed surrounding. Human perception should be the priority of design. To achieve this, we need to cooperate with science, technology and art.

The object i have chosen was a result of a series packaging whereby he experimented with different materials inside the cube. The relation between the materials and the transparent, sometimes colored, plastic cube. His research has been shown in the Stedelijk Museum and the Venice Biennale, so what is this object? Art or design? Is it important?

Slothouber has done a lot of different things in the past so it is difficult to say where this object could be categorized. His design research has been shown on art exhibitions and his designs has been criticized as too ‘avant-garde’ art. He is erasing boundaries between design, architecture and art. The object I have chosen, the object where my all research started, is not just design, architecture or an artwork. it all comes together in that piece.

Jan Slothouber was an admired teacher, although it wasn’t always clear for his students if he was totally crazy or a genius. One of his students was John Körmeling. In his work the influence of Slothouber is highly visible. They both share the similarity of outlook on the erasure of boundaries between design, architecture and art.

video of the rotating house in Tilburg by John Kormeling

 


everything is relative,
even cubic regularity.
many things are true
and few are certain.
form is only a means,
just like cubic construction.
important is the aim
that finds expression by it.
an idea can be made visible
by the shape of a construction.
reconstruction of the idea however
is often a difficult task.
we beg your pardon
for our cloudiness.
we hope you will discover yet
the aim of cubic constructions.

– a cubic construction compendium, 1970

 

Design linked to Art: Designblog’s New Library Search Engine


Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Tags for the Rietveld Library:

How do you find interesting books when you don’t know what you are looking for? How do you stray through the collection in search of inspiration? Can the library catalogue help you or do you better construct one yourself, Exploring connections in the library between design- and artbooks, students created keywords/tags that linked them together.
a recount of tagging the library

Click the keywords/tags from the Tag-list [purple column at the left] to see all related postings, or use a yellow keyword link [below] to read the postings and experience how they are connected together. Use these keyword links to navigate between the postings!

overview, freedom, animal, elder, identity, intervention, repetition, connection, tattoo, self sufficiancy, structuur, illustration, pyramid, leader, visual language, individuality, playground, best, give, beeld, independent, shelter, West Coast, time, neon, develope envelope, fragile, construction, wisdom, invention, oppervlak, culture.

outsiders?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Constructing patterns, all around the world.
That’s what they do in my last book also.
But now in a more emotional way, rather than functional.
Here its more clear what their dreams, fairs and thoughts are.

Outsiders,
as we call them,
just because they see it from their own vernacular perception.
More pure, more spontaneously, out of visionary need.
They are more independent from what we consider art.

cat.no: 705.9-car-1

keyword: culture

Wooden Looms


Friday, March 27, 2009

Building up a colourful construction with one piece of wire.

It looks like its done with a lot of patience, but is going really fast.

The act becomes automatic. Out of nothing a patch seems to appear

from one side of the wood constructed loom.

Patterns with different shapes and colours, like the map of Africa.

Every country has it’s own unique technique and style of weaving.

They have all found their own creative way of constructing looms

that help them in this seemingly tedious process.

To see those beautiful constructions

find this book of Venice Lamb at the Rietveld Library.

cat. no: 779.1

keyword: culture

Paperback


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In een rij boeken zal dit boek niet direct opvallen, maar toch viel mijn oog erop. Juist de bruine kaft die aan karton doet denken wekte mijn interesse. Het geeft het boek een natuurlijke uitstraling en sluit daarom goed aan op de inhoud van het boek. Ook het formaat spreekt mij aan, het ligt lekker in de hand; niet te groot maar toch een redelijk dik boek. Ik wist niet direct de betekenis van het woord ‘dwellings’ en om daar achter te komen begon ik door het boek te bladeren. Het bevat afbeeldingen van hoe mensen over de hele wereld hun eigen huizen bouwen. Het is ongelovelijk hoeveel verschillende manieren van bouwen zijn ontstaan door verschillen in klimaat en cultuur. Indrukwekkende constructies worden weergegeven in tekeningen en de teksten bij de afbeeldingen geven snel informatie zodat je er makkelijk doorheen kunt bladeren zonder perse meteen de hele tekst te lezen. Ik bleef geboeid tot ik het hele boek bladzijde voor bladzijde had door gebladerd.

cat. no. 710.9

keyword: culture


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