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"Gerrit Rietveld" Tag


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


Thursday, October 19, 2017

 

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

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

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

 

Henk Groenendijjk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

label chair bill henk me and redblue chair 

Ben Zegers

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

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

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

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

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

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

crate and zig zag

Frans Oosterhof

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

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

Me: Where did you get it from?

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

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

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

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

Frans: Exactly, never divided.

red blue frans

  

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

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?

 

“There is no religion higher than truth.”

 

theosophy

 

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, Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian, Rietveld (and some others from De Stijl movement) and Pollock. 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 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, this 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.

 

Mondrian as a member of De Stijl

 

theo-van-doesburg-neoplasticism-composition-vii-the-three-graces1917

 

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Theo van Doesburg’s works related to Neoplasticism

 

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.

 

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, 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 conscious 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.

 

mondrian2

 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 maket 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 said 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 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).

rietveld1
Gerrit Rietveld: Red and blue chair

 

With 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.

 

 

 schroder house side-schroder-house-rietveld-utrecht
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

robie-house-02-2

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?

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Now you know. Awesome, isn’t it?

 

Social isolation in cities; Balance, Pro’s, Con’s and the Internet.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The ‘Happening’

An appealing aspect of every city is it’s ‘happening’. This could be translated here as: there’s movement, conversation, and just plain interaction, negative or positive, whether that be the honking of the horn or just the ‘good morning’ to the elderly man reading the paper at the café. This has always been something that is somewhat comforting, at least to myself. An example of a ‘happening’ city could be Naples, because, the core sidewalk principal that we will mention further into this article is fully in effect, and despite the city having many problems such as waste management, or crime, there is an underlying sense of happening. And of course, something to keep in mind is also the level of comfort each person has when it comes to being close, or around, to borderline illegal activities. The streets are packed, scooters flying up and down the street, people talking, arguing, people exchanging services on the street and not just in shops, the list goes on. This sense of happening helps someone who could be a victim of social isolation feel grounded, balancing between the familiarity of being in cities, and knowing that if there’s something they need to know, if the word is out, the sidewalks will be the first place to find out.

Streets of Naples (Napoli). Naples, Campania, Italy, South Europe.

 

The Internet also plays a part in this in 2017, as it’s a hub of information, but the one thing separates it from a city, is of course, it’s human interaction. And although the information that you get on the city sidewalk is conditioned to whom you’re talking to, and not to thousands of sources, the difference is that you are able to have a human discussion with this person, and not just the long deep stare into a screen, searching until you find something vaguely similar to the answer you were hoping to find from your search engine. This social isolation also occurs because a lot of times, we, or at least I, fall into the mistake of underestimating our fellow humans and assuming they don’t know about my interests, or about what I’m looking for. Chances are, if you risk conversation, they actually will. And if they don’t, oh well, that’s the beauty of discussion. And that’s the beauty of sidewalk chatter, conversation and interaction in the city.

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This happening is present in the sidewalks of large cities and mostly the social structure of sidewalk life hangs partly on what can be called self-appointed public characters. A public character is anyone who is in frequent contact with a wide circle of people and who is sufficiently interested to make himself a public character. A public character doesn’t need to have any special talent or wisdom to fulfill his function – although he often does. He just needs to be present. His main qualification is that he be public, and that he talks to a lot of different people, instigating and creating interaction and discussion, leading us to conclude that news actually travels faster in these urban areas, seeing how sidewalks can serve as steady flows of information.

Social isolation in cities, and its virtues and disadvantages

I wanted to find out more about how different people handle stress. I read up on an article that explained that city dwellers’ brains, compared with people who live in the countryside, seem not to handle it so well.

The example given in the article was from a case study by Dr. Meyer-Lindenberg and his colleagues, where, as they were stressing out their subjects, they were looking at two brain regions: the amygdala and the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC). The amygdala is known to be involved in assessing threats and generating fear, while the pACC in turn helps to regulate the amygdala. It turned out that in stressed citydwellers, the amygdala appeared more active on the scanner; in people who lived in small towns, less so; in people who lived in the countryside, least of all.

PostStressBrainfigure2

Here the important relationship was not with where the subjects lived at the time, but where they grew up. An erratic link between the pACC and the amygdalas is often seen in those with schizophrenia too. And according to the data, schizophrenic people are much more likely to live in cities.

Dutch Dr. Jaap Peen and his team found out in their meta-analysis that living in a city roughly doubles the risk of schizophrenia. To explain inner-city and urban–rural variations in psychiatric morbidity, there are two main theoretical concepts, which originated from the early ecological research of schizophrenia, and from the Chicago School of Sociology: There’s the ‘drift hypothesis’ and the ‘breeder hypothesis.’ The ‘drift hypothesis’ assumes that sick and vulnerable people are more or less doomed to remain in socially unstable, deprived neighborhoods, while better off people move away. On the other hand, socially deprived neighborhoods can also have a pull-function on sick and vulnerable people, as they move to these areas with low social control and greater tolerance towards deviant behavior, this being what they call the ‘social drift hypothesis’.

The second theory, the ‘breeder hypothesis’, assumes that various environmental factors cause illness. These can be physical factors (air pollution, small housing, population density) and also social factors (stress, life events, perinatal aspects, social isolation). A lot of the stress factors mentioned above are more common in urbanized areas. Urbanization is modestly but consistently associated with the prevalence of psychopathology. They even suggest that levels of urbanization should also be taken into account when planning the allocation of mental health services.

“Obviously our brains are not perfectly shaped for living in urban environments,” Dr. Adli says. “In my view, if social density and social isolation come at the same time and hit high-risk individuals … then city-stress related mental illness could be the consequence.”

Cities, the theory goes, might be part of the reason why a person’s dopamine production starts to go wrong in the first place. Repeated stress is thought to lead to this problem in some people, so if high social density combined with social isolation could be shown to do so, and thus to alter the dopamine system, we might have the first rough sketches of a map from city living that leads all the way to schizophrenia, and perhaps other things.

Many other possible impacts of city living on brain function are also being investigated. Aircraft noise might inhibit children’s learning, according to a recent study from Queen Mary University in London. (Although traffic noise, perversely, might help it.) Researchers in the US and elsewhere have also found that exposure to nature seems to offer a variety of beneficial effects to city dwellers, from improving mood and memory, to alleviating ADHD in children.

stock-photo-closed-door-of-hotel-room-with-please-do-not-disturb-sign-private-room-547001509

Privacy

I found that the perfect balance of social isolation between keeping to yourself and social interaction in a city was the ability to be able to wander and explore, go out on the hunt for information, but always have a private base to return to, to let loose and relax. Privacy is precious in cities. It is indispensable. Perhaps it is precious and indispensable everywhere, but in most places around the world you aren’t allowed as much of it. In small settlements everyone knows your affairs. Whilst in the city nobody does, unless you allow them in. This is one of the attributes of cities that is unique to city dwellers, whether their incomes are high or their incomes are low.

According to Jane Jacobs, in her book The Death And Life of Great American Cities, “A good city neighborhood achieves a marvel of balance between its people’s determination to have essential privacy and their simultaneous wishes for differing degrees of contact, enjoyment or help from the people around them. This balance is widely made up of small, sensitively managed details, practiced and accepted so casually that they are normally taken for granted.”

The more common outcome in cities, where people are faced with the choice of sharing much or nothing, is nothing. In city areas that lack a natural and casual public life, it is common for residents to isolate themselves from each other to a marked degree. If mere contact with your neighbors threatens to entangle you in their private lives, or entangle them in yours, and if you cannot be so careful who your neighbors are as compared to people who can be, the logical solution will seem to then be avoiding friendliness or casual offers of help. Better to stay thoroughly distant.

It’s important to recognize that a lot of adults either don’t want to become involved in any friendship relationships at all with their neighbors, or if they do succumb to the need for some form of society, they strictly limit themselves to one or two friends, and no more.  And the individualism and privacy that comes with city living makes it possible to choose to be solitary, which a lot of people find hard to deal with, but for a lot of people it is actually a luxury. So compared to town living, where interaction with your neighbors is almost inevitable, city living provides a choice; whether to keep to yourself or to socialize, and this is a choice that for many people can be quite hard to handle.

In light of the increasing push for us to work at home, here’s an interesting statistic from Robert Putnam, a Harvard political scientist and the author of Bowling Alone (which looked at how social ‘glue’ such as bowling clubs, which were so prevalent in 1950s America, have almost disappeared). It comes from a New Yorker article about commuting: “I was shocked to find how robust a predictor of social isolation commuting is,” said Putnam “There’s a simple rule of thumb: Every ten minutes of commuting results in ten per cent fewer social connections. Commuting is connected to social isolation, which causes unhappiness.”

Conclusion

I’ve come to conclude that although I do feel like a very open and city involved person, I need to know that I always have a safe haven to return to, where I can shut the blinds and lock society out for whatever time necessary. And what’s interesting about this in today’s day and age is that although we shut ourselves out, we still have access to the Internet and social networking. Being connected to the Internet let’s us control our interaction with the outside public world. Comparing the Internet to let’s say, the sidewalk interactions of a busy city is quite simple. We have, of course, the human vs. screen interaction, but more importantly, the Internet enables us to be in total control of what we discuss, and more importantly gives us freedom to search for answers from numerous sources instead of resorting to information from whomever is around. This isolation can be healthy or unhealthy for some, depending on who you are and how you deal with it, but without a good balance, it all falls apart.

 

 

 

 

MODEL SCULPTURE & DRAGONS


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A model is initially an object whose purpose is either to represent the real world or to be translated into the real world, in short the model can be a copy of reality or reality a copy of the model. The main difference is in terms of scale. Usually the model is a miniature of reality. But what more can it be? When we look at a toy car and a car, what do we see? Is the toy car just a replica of the car in a tiny scale? It is hard to analyze such a thing but I think that there is a huge difference triggered by (but not exclusively) the change of scale. When the toy car is made, it has no longer the same purpose as the car does. A child playing with it might as well imagine it just as real as the car and drive it around with his fingers, or see it in a whole new world, making it fly away, fist-fight and dance Rock n’ Roll. The new scale for things sometimes creates a new meaning for them above representation, a new reality even if they are seemingly the same object in different sizes.

model

sketch model of van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam by Gerrit Rietveld [object: SM]

In 1963-1964, the furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) designs the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. In 1964 the architect dies before the project is finished. The building is completed by his partners  J. Van Dillen and J. Van Tricht, and the construction was concluded in 1973. The model exposed in the design collection of the Stedelijk was produced by Gerrit Rietveld in those first two years. It is a sketchy model made of wood, paper, cardboard and glass. The final building is close but does not respect this concept, with a unified color of brick and very little white (from front).
I present this piece for multiple reasons. First, because in my personal taste, I prefer this version from the finished one. Rich in contrast between black and white rectangles overlapping each other, the building has the balanced complexity of the Rietveld style although the shapes which compose it stay simple and limited (only colors: white, black and blue) which gives sobriety to the building. When we look at the final museum’s front view, the unity in brick color makes the building lose its striking composition at first sight, for the overlapping rectangles melt into each other. The second reason why I chose this model is because of the way it was made, without any connection to the building itself. I see in between the other models of the museum [x], well built, detailed and clean; something of a stain. On a dirty piece of wood on which we can see quick pencil sketches for the display, an irregular, clumsy, and worn little building is erected. The colors are simply indicated by a rapid and un-precise use of color pencils ( blue and black). The materials used are cheap, and if we try we might not even find one horizontal or vertical line. And yet it is beautiful, marrying complexity and simplicity in form and color, with a rich diversity of cheap materials. Its cheapness gives it a poetic and rough authentic aspect, we see that it was handmade.

collage-model

 

 

James Castle

This may remind us of James Castle’s sown cardboard sculptures, which are made of scrap which gives them strength, or Bill Traylor’s choice (and no choice) of using cheap surfaces like cardboard for his paintings.

Bill Traylor blue man with suitcase                                                               James Castle

 

 

The model is in addition to this, very close to the final version. That sketchy but precise model shows the talent of Gerrit Rietveld as an architect, like the lines of a great draftsman. Its clumsiness along with the use of paper, lightly put together and slight curved, gives a feeling of fragility and tenderness which contrasts with the strongly built shapes of Rietveld’s buildings or the roughness of the materials.
I love this model because –to me– it is not a model anymore but a sculpture that contrasts with what we usually see, giving a new idea of his work and of what a model can be, even though it was not intended to become a piece of art. A model can be seen in ways that exceed its limits as a technical object.

A perfect embodiment of this idea is seen in the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. The movie takes place in a small town and specifically in a house on top of a hill overlooking the town. In the opening scene (link here and here for the end with spider) a fake areal shot of the town is taken on a model of the town one of the main characters has built. We are tricked into believing that we are flying over a forest to finally overlook the whole town, then fly over and across it all the way to the house on top of the hill. Although it is possible to see that the scene is really shot on a model, the illusion is strong, and we are astonished to see a real spider (this time) which seems to be the size of a hippo, climb over the roof and be picked up by a real (gigantic) hand. What this illusion does is it gives life to the model, it gives it a new reality, and this is proved later on in the movie when we discover that the model has an “inhabitant”. When the protagonists are changed to the scale of the model, (in this scene) they come to its graveyard to dig up the main antagonist, Beetlejuice. In this case, the change of scale from real world to model is more than representation, the real world and the model are entangled, mingled into each other, whilst the two are different, the real world and the new world of the model. The model can open a whole new world for our imagination to create, a transcendental realm full of fire, wonder, and dragons.

To sit like a swan


Monday, December 1, 2014

unfolded

The object in this picture is a model of ‘aluminiumstoel’ by Gerrit Rietveld. It is simply a piece of paper cut in a way that when you fold it, it turns into a miniature model of the aluminum chair. The simplicity of this design is admirable, even though the final result in steel does not really give the same feeling of organic harmony. However, this model could not represent the creator’s idea better.

 

folded<a

Aluminium stoel model[x]

href=”http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/aluminum.jpeg”>aluminum

Aluminium stoel[x]

 

 

 

Rietveld made this chair in his attempt to create a furniture using one piece of material, or more specifically, one sheet of it. In this case, he used a sheet of metal for the chair we see in the picture and it is easy to understand how he handled the material to display the result in this, since we have at our disposal inside information of the designer’s process of thought, namely; this beautifully cut and pierced piece of paper. Rietveld also experimented with plywood to achieve an immediate connection of an idea with the act of making. When only one piece of material is needed to make an idea come to life, and when that material is so flexible that handling it seems as easy as drawing on a paper with a pen, then there’s a new type of harmony introduced to the design process; that of an immediate, fast action resulting in a beautiful and easy product.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 12.58.59 PM

Sketch of Aluminiumstoel; notice how the designer uses method of folding as a starting point for his research[x]

 

Rietveld and his contemporaries believed in a new world order, supported through their designs. In that world, one of the essential and necessary virtues would be the one of the minimum dwelling (das existenzminimum). For that to be achieved, all heavy labour would be replaced by machines, giving that way the man the freedom to use his leisure time in whatever way he thinks is best. In that world beauty and simplicity are the main gears of development. This is why in many Rietveld designs, in the model of the aluminiumstoel as well, we see a coexistance in harmony of these two and a lack of complexity which implies that the process of making of that object won’t result in valuing more than the object itself. For me, this is a reason why most of his chairs seem really uncomfortable; he wouldn’t want the owner of the chair to dwell in it for hours. There are examples of designs that embody perfectly Rietveld’s ideology, but were sadly never realised by him, like this chair of assembled plywood, designed in 1927.

 

plywood rietveld

Plywood prototype, 1958[x]

 

What I first thought when I saw the paper model – and what everyone probably thinks – is the old Japanese art of origami, the art of folding paper. The idea of folding a piece of paper in a certain way so that it creates a clear shape of something seemed really appealing when applied to interior design. More importantly, it seemed perfect for what Rietveld was aiming for; an oblect made of one sheet of material and whose existance would be a clear statement for an easy, free living of minimum dwelling.
Origami art has influenced many design-based branches, such as architecture, fashion and interior design. Its basic principles have even recently been proved to be beneficial for science when it comes to manufacturing. Assembled Additive Manufacturing is a new process of fabricating developed by researchers, which has origami principles as its base, as it treats 3D objects as multiple layers of 2D sheets.
I was surprised, however, to see that most origami-influenced designs were really static and superficial; meaning that none of them took the idea one step further, none handled the art of origami as a general principle that could be the base of something bigger, or even as a statement. Designer Stefan Schöning came up with a design for a ‘folder chair’, where all that’s needed for its creation is a sheet of polypropelene.

 

folded chair

Origami folding chairs[x]

This example is really similar to what Rietveld was aspiring to do. Many similar designs have been realised, however it seems to me that they mainly aim at impressing the viewer, at making them admit that “that’s a witty design”, without committing a vision in it, nor giving the viewer and the world a tool for a better living, which will, in its turn, become a reason for contemplation.

 

 

THE ALPHABET OF GROUP A


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Alphabet of Group A

The main language we speak in group A is English and mostly the communicating language on this earth, but there’s of course many other languages.

In Group A we have Arubiano, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and South Koreean Nationalitys.

The students name below are in alphabet form that makes it easier and faster to search for the name you attempt to search.
Last name to first name in alphabet form from A to Z

Last name

  1. Arco Johanna
  2. Arnardottir Maria
  3. Barlinckhoff Anne
  4. Chuard Nicolas
  5. Dinther Jessy van
  6. Galama Jorik
  7. Goldbech Rikke
  8. Jang Aram
  9. Kuijl Thi-Lien
  10. Liimatainen Mira
  11. Nagler Floor
  12. Oduber Natasha
  13. Peterson Chelsea
  14. Ryliskyte Agne
  15. Schraven Mari
  16. Sjoerd Schunselaar
  17. Sjøberg Jakob
  18. Vasquez Callo Rodrigo
  19. Westbom Weflo Anton
  20. Zürrer Selina

First name to last name in alphabet form from A to Z
First name
  1. Agne Ryliskyte
  2. Anne Barlinckhoff
  3. Anton Westbom Weflo
  4. Aram Jang
  5. Chelsea Peterson
  6. Floor Nagler
  7. Jakob Sjøberg
  8. Jessy van Dinther
  9. Johanna Arco
  10. Jorik Galama
  11. Mari Schraven
  12. Maria Arnardottir
  13. Mira liimatainen
  14. Natasha Oduber
  15. Nicolas Chuard
  16. Rikke Goldbech
  17. Rodrigo Vasquez Callo
  18. Selina Zürrer
  19. Sjoerd Schunselaar
  20. Thi-Lien Kuijl

Shared interests


Monday, June 4, 2012

 

In this research i collected exciting materials and information, i compared it to other data that in a certain way related with it and questioned with this his decisions and my thoughts about the project.

What appealed me to start this with this project is the difference in between the first intentions and sketches and the actual outcome. The sketches look great but not very Gerrit Rietveld, the outcome (or at least the exterior of the house) looks kind of normal and look far from what I expect from a guy like Gerrit Rietveld. Never the less i like it a lot.

SharedInterests_BvandenBerg

Rietveld knew his lines


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Two years ago I was building a model of a chair. After I have stared in 50 minutes of a detail of two black straight lines at the chairs back, my friend asked me: ”Julia what is it about your lines? There is only a difference of one centimeter?” I didn´t know what my problem was, but I knew this centimeter was a critical part if my chair would communicate or not. When I visited Rietveld Schröder house I got reminded of the situation with my friend. Every centimeter of the house was dynamic. The Schröder house with its characteristic bright colors and construction touched me. I could relate to myself in the aesthetic expression, but what do I have in common with the way Rietveld was working with the Schröder House?

 

 

Mrs. Schröder let Gerrit Rietveld design a house for her and her children. Rietveld and Schröder worked with the original idea together but Rietveld decided about the color and form. Mrs. Schröder wanted to have the interior with an open space that was customized for her everyday activity. Rietveld created a house that combined this everyday life with a playfulness. The house is made like a coordinate system of flat surfaces and straight lines. He used geometry och mathematics as a tool and trusted his feeling when he created the form. Gerrit Rietveld could feel if a form was working or not. He was only using geometry and mathematics as a tool. He was thinking in three-dimensional terms and sketched in 3D. His first model was made of solid wood which gives character to the building. The second model was made of cardboard, glass and matchsticks which is different from clay that usually is used as model material.

 

 

He worked asymmetrical when he composed volume of the different surfaces. One rule he used was that the lines should not be perpendicular or parallel with each other. This is associated with his feeling of three-dimensional forms. He could feel when the planes have the right position.

 

He worked playful with the surfaces. When he was working with overlapping he always let one line continue in front or behind the other one. I believe that if  a corner had been formed it had been a static expression. Some surfaces were slotted in the facade so it visually looks like they go into the wall. He built volume by letting the flat surfaces be slotted into each other. The Schröder House has multi intersections for the structure, but the main reason for that solution is aesthetic.
For Rietveld it was more important to create volume with space, then the material with which it is built. He said “The reality which architecture can create is space” (The work of G. Rietveld architect; Theodore M. Brown; A.W.Bruna & Zoon, 1958).

 

He was influenced by De Stijl’s paintings in the way he choose to paint details in bright red, blue and yellow. The facade was painted in white but with blocks of three different shades of grey to make the surfaces fold back into each other. He decide to have black lintels to make them reflect as little as possible and make them become one with the windows. From a light view the window’s reflect black and in that way he made a stronger connection with the interior and exterior space. The colors is important in my personal impression of the Schröder house. I like that he works with color at the same way as with a three-dimensional surface. He gave me the feeling that he was sculpturing more than painting when he arranged the color on the surfaces.

 

 

I got emotionally touched by the Rietveld Schröder House because Rietveld did not work with that house in a traditional way. He was feeling the forms. Just like me when I was working on my chair. I knew something was wrong. I am sure that Rietveld has been staring at a lot of angels and compared a 132 cm long beam with a 135 cm long one, when he was designing the Schröder house. Just like Rietveld I prefer to sketch three-dimensional and I´m thinking a lot about how different form relates to the space and to it self. I think Rietveld shows in the Schröder House that architecture can both work as an art aswell as a design object to which you can react and feel touched, but which is at the same time a functional home. That Rietveld used the elementary forms and had the ability to keep their independence in the new wholeness is what makes this house special to me.

 

Bauhaus, New Bauhaus, Rietveld


Thursday, April 14, 2011

BAUHAUS, NEW BAUHAUS, RIETVELD

BAUHAUS WEIMAR, DESSAU:
Bauhaus was established as a school for art and design in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius. The school was originally located in Weimar, Germany but due to conflicts with the National Socialists it was moved to Dessau in 1926 and later to Berlin in 1932, where it was closed in 1933. The Bauhaus was the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century. Bauhaus’s approach to teaching, and understanding art’s relationship to society and technology, had a major impact both in Europe and the United States long after it was closed. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon developments in all artistic medias such as architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The goal of the artists of Bauhaus was to adjust to the industrial age by creating functional designs. Bauhaus attempted to integrate the artist and the craftsman, to bridge the gap between art and industry and to reunite creativity and manufacturing. Bauhaus emphasized on urbanity, technology and embraced the machine culture of the 20th century. According to Bauhaus the romantic hand making of products in the countryside should be replaced with industrial mass production. The industry demanded a reduction to essentials which meant a removal of former sentimental approaches and visual distractions. Bauhaus was originally a rebellion against the ornamentation and decoration that characterized the architecture, design and art before 1919. Things should now be more simple, functional and honest. With its clear, clean surfaces, rectangular and strict style Bauhaus fits perfectly with contemporary minimalism. Bauhaus was built upon the crafts tradition of England, (Ruskin, Morris) and Germany (Deutsche Werkbund) and concretized thereby a general reaction against the decadent style confusion and upper class ornamentation that characterized the period around the turn of the century.

Walter Gropius wanted a school with a renewed respect for crafts and technique in all artistic media, with an attitude to art and craft once characteristic in the medieval age, before art and manufacturing had drifted far apart. In the school’s early years it was suffering from a romantic medievalism where it pictured itself as a medieval crafts guild without any of the class-distinctions that formerly had raised an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist. In the mid 1920s Bauhaus School was moved to Dessau and Walter Gropius was replaced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1930.  The Bauhaus was based on the principles of the 19th-century English designer William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement that art should meet the needs of society and that no distinction should be made between fine arts and practical crafts (applied arts). It depended on the more forward-looking principles that modern art and architecture must be responsive to the needs and influences of the modern industrial world. Bauhaus was more like a workshop than a teaching institution. It was a “place to built” (Bauhaus) where masters and students after a two-year introductory course worked together in the workshops, where everything from teacups to buildings was crafted using the same principles and by time some of the same idiom.

In the late 1920s, when the Bauhaus in Dessau came under the leadership of the Swiss communist Hannes Meyer the whole school community was informed in a stronger professional and more scientific way. The school’s radicalism and its products were put into a tougher, social context and given a sharper political profile. This provoked the bourgeoisie formalistic and intuitive approach to art and corroded on the political tolerance. As long as the school could be excused as an anarchist hangout for inventive bohemians, it had the right to exist, but as soon as social critic was expressed, the Gestapo would interfere. Despite the fact that Meyer was dismissed in 1930, the school was put into administration and run by the politically far more acceptable Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The school is also well known for its faculty, which included artists Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer and Johannes Itten, architects Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and designer Marcel Breuer.

The motivation behind the creation of Bauhaus came from 19th century’s anxiety about the soulessness of manufacturing and fears about art’s loss of purpose in society. Creativity and manufacturing were drifting apart, and the Bauhaus aimed to unite them once again, rejuvenating design for everyday life. Although the Bauhaus abandoned the sentimentality of the old academic tradition of fine art education, it maintained a stress on intellectual and theoretical pursuits, and linked these to an emphasis on practical skills, crafts and techniques that was more reminiscent of the medieval guild system. Fine art and craftsmanship were put together with the goal of problem-solving for a modern, industrial society. By doing this the Bauhaus school leveled the former hierachy of the arts by now placing crafts on a par with fine arts. With the emphasis on experiment and problem solving the Bauhaus has been enourmously influential for the approaches of arts education in the time after Bauhaus.

NEW BAUHAUS CHICAGO:
As many Bauhaus faculty members immigrated to the United States because of the German national socialist they contributed significantly to the development of North American art, design and architecture. Their ideas were especially well received in Chicago. In 1937 the New Bauhaus design school was founded in Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy who was a former Bauhaus teacher in Germany (1923–1928). Moholy was one of the early masters of The Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, but he had to leave in 1933 due to the nazis. The Bauhaus philosophy lived on in the professional work of a few core members who emigrated here among Moholy. Though they left behind their homelands and native cultures they did not leave their convictions and allegiance to Bauhaus principles. The first to take the initiative of continuing the legacy of the original Bauhaus is a group of Chicago business people representing the Association of Arts and Industries. In 1922 the Association of Arts and Industries was established in Chicago to advance the application of good design in industry in order to better compete with European products. The Association hoped to establish a school to train artists and designers to work in industry and some of the members of the Association turned to the Bauhaus as a model of what their school should be. In 1937 the Association had invited Walter Gropius to direct a new design school in Chicago. Since Walter Gropius just had accepted a position with Harvard University, he recommended one of his closest Bauhaus collaborators, László Moholy-Nagy instead. In October 1937 Moholy became director of the school called “The New Bauhaus: American School of Design”. Due to financial problems and other factors the Association of Arts and Industries withdrew their support of the New Bauhaus which had the effect that it did not reopen in the fall of 1938. In February 1939 László Moholy-Nagy opened his own school The School of Design in Chicago. With no support from the Associatioan Moholy was still able to garner the support of faculty and key associates to continue the school Pogram under the name New Bauhaus  – ‘School of Design’. Many of the faculty and students of the New Bauhaus joined the ‘School of Design’ and the school also had the support of former Association of Arts and Industries members, especially Walter P. Paepcke. The School offered day and evening classes, and Saturday morning classes for children. In 1944 the New Bauhaus ‘School of Design’ became the ‘Institute of Design’ which meant a reorganization brought about accreditation of the school and a renewed organizational structure which freed Moholy of the many administrative tasks of running a school. To show the change the old name ‘School of Design’, was replaced by ‘Institute of Design’, and the official typeface was returned to a slightly different version of the font used during The New Bauhaus Era. The school’s academic program consisted of a four-year course requiring all students to take several “foundation” classes depending on their prior education, training, or experience, before selecting an area in which to specialize. Visual Fundamentals, Basic Workshop and Basic Design were among the first challenges encountered by students. Other classes included graphics, shelter design, typography, sculpture, and textile design. Moholy stayed as director of the school until his death in 1946. He was replaced by Serge Chermayeff .  In 1949 the ‘Institute of Design’ became a part of Illinois Institute of Technology during the administration of Henry Heald.  The IIT Institute of Design as it is called today carries the legacy from The New Bauhaus  and offers two professional degrees, the Master of Design (MDes) and the Master of Design Methods (MDM), and a dual MDes / MBA degree program with the IIT Stuart School of Business.

GERRIT RIETVELD ACADEMIE:
The Gerrit RIetveld Academie is a dutch art and design academy based in Amsterdam. The Academy is named in memory of the dutch Architecht and furniture designer gerrit Rietveld. The academy was founded in 1924 after a fusion of three older art academies and acts today as an independent school for higher vocational education. Rietveld has more than nine hundred fifty students of which about 40% come from outside the netherlands.  From 1939 to 1960 the institution was under influence of the functionalism and political views of De Stijl and Bauhaus. This was due to the director Mart Stam who was an architecht with scoialistic political views. In the 1960s Gerrit Rietveld and his Colleagues Joan van Dillen and Johan van Trich Designed a new building for the institute. When Gerrit Rietveld died some years before the the project was carried out and the building was finished the institute decided to honour its builder in 1968 by renaming the academy from Kunstnijverheidsschool to Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

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Hompje klei


Monday, November 22, 2010

Het startpunt van dit architectuur project was een zelf uitgekozen gebouw van Rietveld, dat interessant was op basis van de relatie tussen binnen en buiten. Mijn oog was gevallen op twee surrealistische gebouwen, die in hun omgeving lijken te zweven.

Naar aanleiding van deze gebouwen moesten we een publieke ruimte ontwerpen voor een groen stuk op de Wibautstraat.
Tijdens het bekijken van de plek viel het me op dat de gebouwen op de Wibautstraat totaal niet in relatie staan met elkaar. Het is een onsamenhangend gesloten geheel en de gebouwen dragen niets uit.

Ik kreeg daardoor een beter beeld van welke aspecten ik in mijn gebouw zou willen hebben. Het gebouw moest iets gaan uitdragen, open zijn en surrealistische aspecten hebben. Met deze gedachtes ben ik begonnen aan een reeks kleine sculpturen, al zoekend naar interessante vormen. Uiteindelijk heb ik er daarvan twee gekozen.

De een is speels, verticaal en open. De ander meer  organisch, horizontaal en compact. Ik heb de tweede sculptuur verder meegenomen in mijn proces. Vooral omdat ik de openheid en de speelsheid van deze vorm erg goed vond passen bij mijn doelstellingen en bij hetgeen waar de wibautstraat aan te kort schiet. Maar zodra ik die keuze gemaakt had, liep ik vast en veranderde ik mijn plan in twee krampachtige kubussen op poten, die schuin voorovergebogen waren en die als twee kijkers op de wibautstraat keken. Beide kubussen gaven via de achterzijde een ander uitzicht op de stad. Ik vond de kubussen op zichzelf mooie ontwerpen geworden. Maar het was te statisch en kwam niet overeen met wat ik wilde.

Uiteindelijk heb ik mijn plan omgegooid en ben ik verder gegaan met de organische sculptuur die voor mij veel meer mogelijkheden bood. Misschien paste deze minder bij mijn doelstellingen, maar hij stond dichter bij mij. Ook kon ik met deze vorm naar mijn idee het surrealistische aspect beter verwezenlijken.
Voor mijn gevoel was ik nu op het moeilijkste punt van het project aangekomen. Het gedetailleerd bekijken en onderzoeken van de vorm. Moest er ruimte zijn tussen de twee materialen en de grond, waar zou de opening komen, moest de organische vorm ronder zijn of hoekiger enzovoort? Na veel uitproberen van verschillende mogelijkheden heb ik gekozen voor een iets rondere vorm en besloten om ruimte tussen de twee materialen te creëren en ook tussen de ijzeren plaat en de ondergrond. Hierdoor ontstonden schaduwvlakken om het gebouw heen die de vorm versterkten en de scherpte van het ijzeren vlak benadrukte.

Om dit aspect beter naar voren te laten komen heb ik een glimmende zwarte plaat onder het gebouw gemaakt waardoor het blok lijkt te zweven omdat er nu schijnbaar ook een schaduwvlak onder het gebouw is en het gebouw daarmee als het ware opgetild wordt.
De vorm van het gebouw wilde ik niet laten beïnvloeden door de opening. Daarom heb ik gekozen voor een ondergrondse ingang. De ingang is even groot als het blok dat als ondersteuning tussen de zwarte ondergrond en de ijzeren plaat zit.

Rietveld App


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rietveld Architecture iPhone application, which people can download via http://itunes.com/apps/rietveld, the App (free, version 1.2, developped by Vincent Verweij ©2010) will help you find all the Rietveld buildings and houses in the Netherlands that still exist.

The Centraal Museum has launched the Rietveld collection online. Visitors of the website will find more than 8000 objects by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) kept by the Centraal Museum. The objects in question consist of mostly 8000 archive items and almost 300 museum objects, most of which furniture. Many people are familiar with the red-blue chair and the Rietveld Schröder House, but Rietveld designed many more pieces of furniture and houses. The website collectie.rietveldjaar.nl provides a complete overview of Rietveld’s entire oeuvre. It is quite unique that such a large part of a designer’s work has been retrieved.
The online Rietveld collection http://collectie.rietveldjaar.nl/ consists of almost 300 museum objects from the collection of the Centraal Museum and approximately 8000 archive items. The latter are owned by the Foundation Rietveld Schröder Archive and have been held by the Centraal Museum since 1985. The Rietveld Schröder Archive is the archive which was kept up to date by Truus Schröder at the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht. It consists of huge architectural drawings to personal scribbles on business cards.

Rietveld versus Calatrava


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Exploring Valencia (Spain) as a prologue to Manifesta8, most students of the Basic Year visited "The City of Arts & Sciences" designed by Santiago Calatrava. As inhabitants of The Gerrit Rietveld Academie designed by, and named after Gerrit Rietveld himself, a comparison became inevitable. What follows are their comments and images.

[comment by Alexandra Karpilovski]

Calatrava feels like something not for you and not for me, but for someone whom we do not see. It makes me feel small, but also nothing.
It makes me think of a monument over the times that has passed, something sculptural and grand and made to impress but fails in that and becomes something static and untouchable. That a buildng that takes up so much space is mostly used to see and not to be touched.
The difference between Calatrava and Rietveld is like comparing two different worlds. For me Rietveld represents a calm structure, everything fits effortless and live in symbiosis with each other, the whole mind behind the building is put into place, on the exact spot where they should be, the body of the houses is on the inside, while Calatrava on the other hand just goes manic and drags different forms into space, just to make it look interesting.
Calatrava makes me feel that someone is trying to say something, but of course I don´t understand, it is to big for me.

[comment by Michael Hautmulle]
Both Calatrava and Rietveld are known for the details in their work, and it shows in both their work. The way in which they both apply it is very different however, where Rietveld has designed beautiful buildings, they are beautifull because of their practicality, so that every detail is constructed to make the use of the building more clear and make the life and function of the occupant more clear. Calatrava has a very different approach, he uses details purely on an esthetic basis, his building may not be very practical, I do not say whether or not they are beautiful, that is an individual matter, but every centimeter has been specifically designed to create the image that he desires. Again I do not wish to say much on the matter of esthetics, but I do believe that the most beautiful design is that which serves a purpose, not for idle beauty but as an object, or building, that fulfills its purpose well. That is the most beautiful of all.

[comment by Titia Hoogendoorn]

While Calatrava’s architecture could be seen as a sculpture and sometimes almost as decoration for the surroundings, Rietveld’s buildings are anti-decorative and more an expression of architecture. They both include the environment in their works. One by fitting in (Calatrava) and the other by adding (Rietveld). The shapes and colours of Calatrava's buildings are flowing along with nature (blue and white/sea and air) in comparison to Rietveld who devides space accentuated by primary colours. The architectonic skeleton of his buildings coincide with the construction while the skeletons of Calatrava seem an effort to make them visible on the outside.

[comment by Anna Kinderman]


Inspired by organic beings Calatrava forms futuristic, abstract entities, which he covers with diverse details and additional figures. Many details are purely visual and omit practical ulterior motives. However, he is limiting to discreet colors like white, blue and azure. Inspirations: torso, bull ribs, foliage, wings. His buildings are more like sculptures than functional buildings.
In contrast Rietveld is interested in function. He was inspired directly by the materials and dealt with the use of the building. With the reduction of coloring to the primary
colors like red, yellow, blue, black and grey he wanted to emphasize the different layers/planes. His strict geometry and minimalistic tendency distinguishes him from Calatrava like black from white.

[comment by Lovie Peoples]

Rietveld and Calatrava are two totally different architectures to me, both in the way their buildings look and the feeling they mediate.




Calatravas buildings are like sculpture houses and bridges. Fixed artworks that was created to demonstrate what he wishes to show. His imaginations illustrated on the ground in a space. To me it doesn’t leave that much to my imagination you are in his world. Either you like it or you don’t.
Rietveld houses have an obvious presence, melting in to their environment instead of creating an environment totally in them self. Which makes them a part of it and lifts them up. They make a dialoged to the space around it and invite me to feel at ease with my own thoughts and feelings in them. A meeting point in what he has left as a building and the person in them. An open dialogue with the viewer.

[comment by Molnar Tamas]

The two architects represent opposite design philosophies and approaches to man and its created environment. While Rietveld takes man and its size as starting point and adjust details to this, Calatrava creates vast spaces and buildings to impress the viewer, making man’s size unimportant. The Spanish exaggerated “machosim” meets the cool and minimalist Dutch world. Experience vs. functionality.

However, both of them are lacking in cosiness, Rietveld’s sharp edges and grey colours are rather cold and not welcoming. Calatrava uses the huge size of his buildings to alienate the spectators, making them feel being in a church or at some futuristic place. His typical white colour also contributes to the sacred, church-like sensation, where one should feel devotion and its own littleness. The usage of forms is also different. Rietveld introduces forms derived from the cube, the “box”, making and industrial and artificial look. Calatrava prefers the organic shapes, however, those are clearly computer generated “natural” forms put in order which finally results in the experience of an artificial environment just like in the case of Rietveld.

[comment by Pieter Tensen]

Calatrava designs buildings you can hardly call buildings. They are more like sculptures you can visit.  This is something you really notice from the outside and is a major point where Calatrava confronts Rietveld in his designs. Rietveld cared about the outside of a building too, how it looks, but it appears obvious in that way.

In Rietveld’s buildings everything is build up out of 90 degrees corners. This was his main trademark. Natural shapes and the human body, on the other hand, inspires Calatrava. They have one major thing in comment. They both care a lot about details. Although the buildings they designed we’re big and impressive sometimes, the eye for detail is very specific for both.

[comment by Stefan Voets]

“Rietveld adored light and bright spaces without too much detail. This is why most of his buildings are made of primary colours and forms (squares, rectangles). According to Rietveld, a building has to be functional too (functionality is extremely present in his architecture). Calatrava’s work is differently shaped, because of the massive surfaces and the lesser subtility. The material is heavy-looking.”

Growth


Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Joost van Loon]

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It was an impossible but nice fantasy. Gerrit Rietveld and Santiago Calatrava were strolling side by side between the Hemisfèric and the Palau de les Arts. Looking at The City of Arts and Sciences. Gerrit Rietveld, hands on his back, gazed up at the highest peaks of the Palau and nodded his head.
“So.” Calatrava opened up the conversation. “ What do you think of my building?”
“It’s big.” Rietveld replied.”
“I know.” said Santiago puzzled. “But it grew naturally , almost like an independent living organism.”
“Really?”  Rietveld was lost in thoughts for a moment. “A smaller building can also be grand and then the people inside will do the growing.”
Calatrava looked at Rietveld in shock, but Rietveld didn’t noticed and continued. “Maybe you could add some colors?”
Now Santiago stopped walking, too perplexed to carry on.
The man that should be in heaven wandered on alone. Looking at the buildings he mused to himself . “Yes, some red and blue would be nice.”

Rietveld grey and Mediterranean blue


Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Lyubov Matyunina]

In our life we often compare different meanings and objects. Peoples, animals, jobs, close, building – everything becomes a point of comparison. If we look at 2 buildings, what do we see? Many differences and some similar things. Let’s compare The Rietveld Academy and Calatrava's City of Art and Sciences on 4 points: Age, Function, Design and Practical use.

Age

The Rietveld Academie consists of two buildings: The main building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld between 1950 and 1963 and was finished in 1966. The new wing, designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects and built in 2003, is used by the fine arts departments. In our comparison, we will compare the main building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld.

The City of Arts and Sciences designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project underwent the first stages of construction in July, 1996 and the finished "city" was inaugurated April 16, 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisfèric. The last great component of the City of the Arts and the Sciences, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was presented at October 9, 2005, Valencia's Community Day.

As we can see, Rietveld is older then Calatrava by 30 years. But both of their buildings looked modern for the time in which they were built. Actually, Calatrava City of Art &amp; Sciences still looks modern and futuristic, while Rietveld design start to be popular and today we can see buildings inspired by Gerrit Rietveld.

(more...)

creating a performance


Saturday, October 30, 2010

[comment by Julia Estevao]

Calatrava /surrealistische sfeer
dit komt door de stilte, het water, de witte kleur van het ontwerp zelf in contrast met de donkere omgeving (bomen bijv.)en grijzige lucht, (grove, grootse) vormen, (grote) formaat. het doet denken aan een verlaten pretpark.
de mannen die het water schoonmaken, lijken een performance te geven; heel rustig lopen ze heen en weer.


Rietveld /
het enige door Gerrit Rietveld ontworpen gebouw, dat ik met eigen ogen heb gezien is de Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
wat me daaraan opgevallen is zijn de verschillende materialen; puur, grof en fijn, passend bij elkaar en lijnen, smal en breed. Fijn en eleganter, door de materialen en vormen. Het geheel oogt strak en simpel en is heel erg open. Ruimte om te creëren.

Een gevoel van openheid.

Design Trip to Insel Hombroich


Sunday, December 2, 2007

0708_Hombroich4

Thomas Ruff at Haus Esters Haus lange

The Design Trip to Germany took us to Insel Hombroich in Neuss Germany. On the way we stopped at the Museums Haus Esters and Haus Lange, Mies van der Rohe’s first building experiments (1929) with -non supportive- brick housing. The buildings were clearly designed to look from inside out as we experienced while exploring the art and photography filled interiors. Especially the bathroom on the second floor gave us a sweet glimps in the past.

0708_haus_esters"Rietveld at Insel Hombroich"
"Venician Glass: crafts at insel Hombroich""Haus Esters Haus Lange Mies van der Rohe"

Top left > 1 Haus Esters • 2 Rietveld at Insel Hombroich • 3 Mies van de Rohe, Haus Esters Haus Lange • 4 Venician glass craft >< art in insel Hombroich

During a beautifull autumn day, we entered the magical Erwin Heerich‘s Pavilions followed by red and yellow leaves . Nowhere can daylight be experienced like this, looking at the art and craft as it realy is and was meant to be. The unique melting of architecture, art and craft can be enjoyed only at a few other places like..

Calder, Yves Klein, Buddha, China or Schwitters and Bart vd Leck, the sheer power of it made us enjoy this humbling moment.

G group’s research subjects


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poeme2_web_final 0708g-brasilia-redu

Based on the general theme “Le Corbusier and Other Stories” we investigated a variety of subjects related to the content presented at this summers Corbusier Art and Architecture exhibit at NAi, Rotterdam. Research material was edited down to A4 sized guided tours/portals into these subject matters. All subjects presented in this list were available as hard copy prints at the Research Folder Archive at the library of the academy from November 2007 until January 2013 at which date we decided to have them only available as part of the online Designblog archive:

Primitivism, Le Poème de l’Angle Droit, Corbusier’s Christmas Gift, La Chapel de Notre Dame, Amedee Ozenfant, Corbusier in Istanbul, Varese’s Poème Electronique, The Candigarth Project, Modular, Language of Organic Form, Corbusier and Politics, The Bric, Ferdinand Léger, The Brasilia Project, Sandberg’s Experimenta Typografica 11, Koolhaas/Lagos, Nature Design Zurich, Constant’s New Babylon, Rietveld’s Academies, The Chaisse Longue


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