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"light" Tag


Ray


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

cover of Ray by Susanne Kriemann

What could ‘Ray’ be about I wonder? What kind of ray? Ray who? Stingrays? Electromagnetic radiation?
After holding this book for long enough to determine that it has nothing to do with any of these, the mystery of the content, for that moment, became irrelevant.
The matte, black and grey photograph of what seems to be a large rock amidst a rockier landscape provokes the question further, but this provocation is quickly smoothed out by the incredibly soft texture of the cover in which to run your hands across with pleasure.

Apologies Susanne Kriemann, for I am without doubt that this is an interesting book, but my other senses are currently occupied…

Opening the not-so-glossy, smooth publication that is creating such an aura of intrigue, is all the more satisfying. With black pages and a silver typeface to contrast, I am immediately drawn in by the first few images; a double page, inverted radiograph of two keys – unlocking this mystery at last perhaps – two saturated photographs of landscapes and hand written material.

page_trees

By cleverly playing around with the orientation and size of photographs; some with an opposing black page, others wedged between boundaries of silver, is just one of the ways in which Radim Pesko, designer, creates more invitation to go deeper into this book.

Scan-6-text

The simplicity in using a plain Typeface (F Grotesk Light) can be overlooked, with text positioned only on the far left and right of the page, giving the centerfold its black depth.

This dark and light theme gracefully continues throughout the book, with a few pages of text, followed by changing and developing perspectives of more atmospheric images.

This layout has been well thought out, even down to the threaded binding, this book has a particular attraction about it.

Finding an instant connection with a publication is a rare and enjoyable experience.

Sacrificing myself to the curiosity that had built up, just by holding the book and skimming through the pages a few times, I decided to delve into the contents.

Obscurely at first; broaching a subject that we are so familiar with, and such an integral part of every crevice of our lives,  yet we barely give it any thought. Written in such a way that doesn’t seem to want or need to give too much away, which matches the design impeccably.

When talking about light, to a photographer especially, the layers upon layers of this incredible source we take for granted becomes aparant, and goes deeper than expected.

Rooted in geology, rocks and the landscape; our connection and consciousness with the Earth, are essential in Kriemanns research. The birth of photography and introduction of electrical lighting, the minerals extracted, right down to the mine from whence it came; the corruption that followed blinded by human desire, to the growth into the world we live in now, with the glare of an LED screen ever present and almost impossible to escape.

A somewhat poetic approach, exemplifying more than just the artificial. As humans we are connected to the landscape and geology of the Earth, both physically and psychologically, as much as we continue on the unscrupulous path we tread.

An enticing read, with interesting extracts from contemporary writers and stories of the past, many angles are covered and stones unturned. This goes deeper than a photography publication, but more like an exploration into the process; the why, where and how we have reached the conditions we are in today…

This conceptualization must have also attracted Pesko to work on the design. For him, methods in working number 1: have an interest!

If you are not drawn in by the concept or idea, then you will not produce a successful outcome. With ‘Ray’, he brings forth an approachability to a book that I have not encountered before.

I could have returned ‘Ray’ to the library weeks ago, but I didn’t want to. It felt too nice and I had not finished reading it. But also the photographs, are wonderful, and mysteriously come together and take form as you read on. I want a copy of my own.

So how is he able to hit the mark? Well not only is a peak in Pesko’s interest essential, but also an element of humanitarianism; doing it for the people and the community.

After gaining plenty of knowledge studying at art academies in Prague and London, then completing a post-grad at ‘Werkplaats Typografie’ in Arnhem, he began designing for a magazine.  The history of all typeface-design, and the idea that you could make a part of that history, was an interesting thought for Pesko, and when design became more serious a deepening interest and work on commissions helped to form his own preferences and continue to develop his skills.

Successful working method number 2: be comfortable with your own limitations. That’s when it got more interesting, as his style became more refined and he was easily able to pull together key elements.

Formerly based in Amsterdam and once a teacher at the Rietveld Academie,  he now primarily works in London as an independent graphic designer. Whatever the project, I think Pesko has developed a good approach to his way of working.

Lesson 3: You begin with no material, until you start drawing, then allow your concept to grow. In each typeface created, he is also finding its own story, and history.

Playing with weights, styles, layers and colour, there are “endless combinations and infinitive variations”, which gives him a sense of freedom. A freedom that he also shares… At RP Digital Type Foundry established in 2009.

‘KILL YOUR TIMID NOTION”

is one of the many examples that have been used to preview his fonts. This information is automatically saved to his website. From Amsterdam Weather Forecast, BBC News and New York Times, to tv show The Wire and other websites and sources. Hundreds of these headlines are cataloged and published in the ever updating book ‘Specimen’, along with new and indicative fonts.

”DESIGN FICTION; GOLDEN ORB SPIDER FARM”

His distinctive family of fonts, whether in response to changing conditions in production or individually adjusted according to the space they occupy, are highly recognizable forms with the design remaining in the defined project.

Working method number 4: VISUAL is important.

Emphasized in personal projects such as the book ‘Informal Meetings’. A collection of photographs made during his travels to different places.

‘any part, any form’ is the follow up to this, and also the beginning and the end. No other text is included in this book. Discoveries of interesting encounters between space, architecture and water, each photograph seems to reference the other, forming a narrative and giving the images a natural flow, without the addition of text. A blue rectangle and textured red circles on the cover are all this book needs; relating to the title and content, everything makes so much sense, without giving it all away at first glance.


cover of 'Any Part, Any Form' by Radim Pesko [x]

 
Similarly in the design for Ray; the links form themselves. Ah so that is a Quartz Crystal on front cover… nice.

Teaching number 5: Let me take you on a journey, let me be your guide on this path of realization that you have already begun, you just don’t know it yet.

Okay, entice me a little more why don’t you, that is fine with me.

 

Scan-12

Scan-11

Rietveld library catalog no : kri-1

 

PERNILLA


Thursday, April 30, 2015

In February 2015 I visited, together with some fellow students from the Rieteveld Arts & Design Academy,  the exhibition Possessed by chairs at the Gocrums Museum. The intention of the exhibition was to celebrate the history of design through picking out around 90 iconic chairs from the 100 past years. 90 chairs exhibited, a rather broad selection concerning to a western perspective– all from Scandinavian classics like Eero Aarnios famous Balls Chair, Hans J Wegners Papa Bear arm chair , chairs by Alvar Alto to international classics such as the MR 20, And off course – a couple of chairs made by the Dutch famous architect and chair designer himself – Gerrit Rietveld.
During my visit at this exhibition, experiencing all those chairs, some questions came to my mind. A collection of 90 chairs and every single one made by a male designer I made me wonder: if all this chairs were made by men, who were they then made for?  When observing the chairs I got a feeling that many of them where carrying an expression of power and that one had to have a bit of courage to actually sit in them. Maybe this is what happens when chairs get exhibited on a museum instead of being in use but still I got a feeling of them not welcoming me.

chair_3 chair_1 chair_2
some unwelcome examples from Possessed By Chairs
 

Chairs often supplied with a high and straight back gave me more a feeling of how to position you than place for resting. How do we position our self by sitting and what is the difference between sitting and standing trough history according to gender, social class, culture background and so on. Who can sit and who don’t? Who sit today and who have been sitting the past 100 years? I think every chair have plenty to tell, not just from the technical aspect in how we been building our furniture’s and which material we been using; I think they as well have great stories to tell about our social history.
Anyhow, while walking thorough this selection of chairs there was one that caught my eyes and that I felt spoke with another tune. It was a leaned back chair that almost reminded me about a sun-lounger.

With a green cover in woven textile in a kind of plating technique this chair were for me manifesting everything else then hierarchy, rather a feeling of joy. I immediately got very touched by it. The color of the chair, which was a light green color, close to a light green Verona were expressing something very inviting and then along with the size of the chair, which felt more than enough to take one person gave a atmosphere of generosity.
 

Mathsson_Pernilla Mathsson_Pernilla_detail
 

When the title of the chair later became clear to me it got even more exciting as the chair actually had a woman’s name – “Pernilla”. A chair made for a woman? To put a human name to a chair apparently works well though all of a sudden I felt a personal relation to the chair and I wanted to know more. To know more about her. Who was this Bruno Mathsson and who was Pernilla?

 

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Bruno Mathsson was born in a small city in the south of Sweden called Värnamo. Since Bruno was the fifth generation in a family of master cabinetmakers Bruno was learned early how to do carpeting by his father. To live in Värnamo which is a small and quite isolated city wasn’t something that stopped Bruno from having big visions. He early learned how to get input from his surrounding world and keep up with the contemporary arts and design. After a visit to the Roohska Art and Crafts Museum in Gothenburg in his early years, he got in contact with the manager of the museum and through him he started to borrow the literature of the museum – which they send back and fro with the trains between Värnamo and Gothenburg. The Rooshka Art and Crafts Museum, which is one of the biggest museums in Sweden specialists on art combined with craft, would later make strong connections with Bruno and his design and still today they every year support and exhibit work by one designer with a scholarship through the “Foundation of Bruno Mathsson

In 1930, at the age of 23 years the Bruno got the opportunity for the first time to put all his study and theories into real practice since he was commissioned to design a new chair for the Varnamo Hospital. Bruno took the chance to create something that he found less traditional and decided to make a chair without the old conventional and quite shabby sprung upholstery that the chairs in the hospitals of Sweden at that time used to have.

The quality and comfort combined with a new and fresh design finally brought Bruno to an unusual solution. He covered the frame with a sort of

plaiting webbing technique plaiting-webbing.
The arms and legs were made in sold birch. Bruno liked to keep the light in his design and I think you can se this in his relation to the birch as material. The chair was not of a big success by the staff of the hospital though and they nicknamed the chair The Grasshopper”.

Mathsson_Grasshopper
 

The Grasshopper hasn’t been in use for long before it sadly had to move up the attic of the hospital. Even if the mission with the chair to the hospital didn’t led to an immediate prosperity Bruno continued his work and carefully studied the ”mechanics of sitting”. He wanted to find the perfect sitting line, or curve and this he approached in different ways. One way of finding it he got through sitting in snow and then study the imprint his body just made. Once again the comfort was one of his biggest aims. He further on kept on experimenting with techniques of bent laminating wood to gaining skills and found out compotes of great strength but still with a gracefully and restrain look. Bruno held his visual language minimalistic and did never use more elements than necessary.

In 1936 Bruno launched three new chairs in one series that he called “Working”, “Easy” and “Lounge chair” model 36. These chairs were all designed using one piece of frame covered with plated webbing supported by separate bent laminated legs. Different but same. Bruno was reaching for a concept of a chair that could work for different settings. As well as working is something we do we equally need a chair for resting. I find it funny that Bruno made the chair ”Lounge chair” so much reminding about a sun-lounger though I somehow think it says a lot about the Swedish mentality. As the winters are long and heavy in this northern country people appreciate the summers and specially the sun almost in an absurd way and because of this Swedish people often make jokes about how we to the very extend try to catch every minute of sun.
br m 2
The sketch of the three chairs in one serie.

Liggstol = Lounge chair

Arbetsstol = Working Chair

Vilstol =Easy

 

THE BREAKTHROUGH

The three basic chairs can more or less be seen as a breakthrough in the career for Bruno. The same year Bruno got the opportunity to have an own exhibition in the Roohska Arts and Craft Museum where he now could show his work for a much bigger audience. Brunos chairs did apparently made a bigger accomplishment in the space of a museum than in the Swedish hospitals and soon Mathsson could be seen as one of the leaders in the design of Sweden. One year after the exhibition Bruno was asked to participate in his first international exhibition in Paris, “The Paris 1937 Expo”,

exposition-internationale-paris-1937Bruno_mathsson_bok_bocker_design

where he won the Grand Prix for his bed “Paris” that he showed. His furniture was received with a great appreciation and admiration and he got a lot of interested from all over the world. The same year his furniture also got represented at other exhibitions such as the world exhibition in New York and the Golden Gate-exhibition  San Fransisco.

Swedish Pavilion Golden Gate International Exposition 1939

 

WORKING IN AND OUTSIDE OF SWEDEN

Even if Bruno never gave up his small hometown Varnamo he made a lot of journeys abroad to stay update. In the 1940s Bruno made a visit to the US with his fiancé Karin that resulted in lots of new inspiration, which led to among others, an architectural work that would become very famous as built houses in glass. Houses you today can visit in Kosta, called the Mathsson Glasshouses.

The light was of great value for Bruno, which you already could notice in his furniture’s and I think you can see a link here to his way of using of the glass as a material. Bruno wanted to get as close to nature as possible and investigating in how close the design could get to nature, and this was something he was developing through his work with the glasshouses. Later during the winter times Bruno used to leave Sweden for some months for going abroad and spend some time in Portugal where he could work in one of his own glasshouses that was established there.

br m 4 glasshaus-interior
 

PERNILLA

In the late 30s and beginning of the 40s Bruno’s international work somehow slowed down a bit, partly as a result of the The Second World War. By reason of this he however slowed down the tempo of the business and instead got more time to be able to develop his own design. In 1944 he launched the classic chair for resting “Pernilla 2” and then one year later the deck chair “Pernilla”. Pernilla was a chair in the already recognizable and typical style of Mathsson in which he used the technique of bending the laminating wood to get the curve he wanted and then used the plaiting technique for the cover. This time he let the whole chair be covered with the light natural green textile. The only part of the chair that wasn’t covered was the armrests. “Pernilla” was also resourced with something similar to a Canterbury, which could be used for reading without the need of using hands.

But why the name Pernilla? In further research I found out that in 1943 Bruno got interviewed by a journalist from the Swedish daily newspaper “Dagens Nyheter”  by a journalist called Pernilla.

Pernilla pernilla_tunberger, or Pernilla Tunberger as her correct name were was a prosperous and important journalist that were beside writing about Bruno’s work an involved food columnist. She wrote critical about the food processing industry and she lifted questions around food and transport; something that was not that common in this days. She often created heads in the newspaper and somehow she must have made big impact also to Bruno as he after their meeting decided to dedicate the chair to her.

To give his chairs and furniture’s name were later to become significant for Bruno. And nearly all of them he gave female names. Eva, Mina and Miranda were besides “Pernilla” three of the most famous furniture he made and they were all named after women he met. Was he a man with mainly woman surrounding him or why did he want to give his furniture’s female names? In this I’m leaved to speculations.

As I said earlier the name of the chair worked as an intriguer to me and gave the chair a certain personality. I like to think of the furniture’s of our homes as nearly creatures and as objects that we care about. Furthermore I think it also contributes to a philosophy of the importance of quality. When our furniture’s get personal to us, we put more effort to take care of them and then we have them for longer. By this the quality will play a stronger role and quality together with functionality was together with the ergonomic quality and beauty the main things in Bruno’s concept of design.

Bruno continued his work for many years and and the fact that he turned older was nothing that constrained his passion. In the 1970?s Bruno for example had a project going on way outside of Europe, where he were being part of a panel discussing design with a several hundred interior architects in Tokyo. In 1981, at seventy-four years of age, he designed a workstation for computer users that was equipped with a “wing” that supported the shoulders. The last piece of furniture Bruno Mathssons did he made at the age of 90, the easychair “Minister” in 1986.

Bruno Mathsson died in 1988 leaving behind a rich cultural heritage.

only a scale model


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The impact of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe on modern architecture is of similar magnitude as that of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. With his timeless, rational architecture and eternal quest for the essence of architecture his influence can still be felt today. The career of Mies van der Rohe falls into two parts; until 1938 he played a major role in the German architectural world and after 1938 he influenced a totally different world on the other side of the ocean, in the United States.

In the 30’s of the last century the architects of the bauhaus were very aware of their dangerous position in Nazi Germany. In 1938, Mies van der Rohe emigrated to the United States where he was appointed director of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The work of the architect changed, but related topics returned regularly. He studied in the United States how he could coordinate the technical and constructive capabilities of the U.S. construction industry architecture.

250px-Rascacielos_de_vidrio

From the Wendingen issues I chose the Glass skyscraper desiged by Mies van der Rohe, Due to the nazi rule it was never actually build. Van der Rohe stated about the building “the exceptional form of the plant stems from the structure of the site and the result is due to the properties of transparent and reflective glass facade, which the architect admitted openly: “Tests on a model of glass showed me the way and soon I realized that by using the crystal is not achieving an effect of light or shadow, but rather to achieve a great game of reflections of light. ”

I do think that is one of the reasons why these buildings are seen so frequent until this very day. The scale model shows how far ahead of his time Van der Rohe was.

721px-Rascacielos_de_vidrio_planta

Wendingen 5-3 1923 Rijksacademie Amsterdam

Lamp Science


Saturday, September 28, 2013

 

Gispen’s Giso lamp (model 24)

A lamp, a simple product. A lamp only needs to give light, you have to turn on the light and after that you don’t have to touch it anymore. So a product designer is not really limited to the function of it, except the fact that it must give light. Or is this not true? Despite of all the possibilities to create a decorative lamp, Willem Hendrik Gispen made a really minimalistic lamp, the ‘Giso Lamp’ []. Only a white opal glass shade and a frosted glass above it, but that simplicity, I think, is the power of it. Willem Hendrik Gispen (1890-1981) was a dutch designer. In 1916 he began his own forge, called ‘W.H. Gispen & Co’, where he created crafted products. But in the twenties Gispen  became increasingly influenced by the design ideas of De Stijl and he switched from traditional to mechanized production. In 1926 he designed and produced the Giso lamps, it became a big success. The Giso lamp (Nr. 24) is a pendant lamp and  has a shade made of white opal glass that is 25 cm and a frosted glass disk that is 43 cm, the stem is made of nickeled metal. The opal glass ensures that the light is not really intense, but soft. The disk ensures that the light is not going up but only going down, the reason why most of all the lamps have a hood is interesting. Maybe a lamp is not only to give light, but also to give it a direction. There are a lot of Giso lamps [], but I think Nr.24 is one of the nicest, because of that disk above the shade.

This lamp is an interesting starting point to look at the vision of Gispen about de art of light. Gispen says that in the theatre the only place is where they control the light so good, that it became a real lighting art. This is because they focus on the most essential element: the light, and they are constantly occupied with the goal: lighting. If you want to make a lamp, you should be aware of the technique and also the goal: the right light on the right place. The requirements that must be set by a good lamp are  of different kind: physically, technical, economic, psychic. There are two groups that create lamps, but not with all the suspects. Architects and artist only focus on the psychic suspect, but then rarely on the main points of this suspect: colour and mood of the light. They only focus on the carrier of the light source, the lamp or ornament. The meaning of a lamp and the way to show it be interchanged. He thinks of all possibilities, an interesting way of hang up, or he creates lamps in the form of a square, instead of round, or a lamp out of wood. He thinks about everything except the fact that a lamp must be an object that light the space as good as possible. The other group is the group that only focus on the technical and economic suspect of a lamp, they want to create the best formula: the most light for the lowest costs. A lot of calculations and math, but a moderate result.

Gispen_Model24_redu

 
I will explain the different requirements.

The physic requirements: the light must be calm and not flicker, that is harmful to the eye. Also the light must not be too strong, that is also harmful for the eye. So you have to cover the light source. You can see how it is done in the Giso lamp. The shade is made of Giso-glass, the best kind of crystal glass, in minimal achievable thickness, (1mM.) covered with a layer of white glass, to a thickness of only 1/5 mM. They make the light pleasant and soft and only lose 10-15% of the light. Also the light must not be too weak. If the light is too weak it requires too much effort from the eye.

The technical requirements: the light out of a lamp can be controlled, by the use of reflectors, diffusers and light-breakers. The light can be absorbed and reflected, the way it absorbed and reflects depends on the material that is used for the reflectors, diffusers or light breakers. So you need to know about materials if you want to create a good lamp. There are also three different ways of lighting: – direct lighting. The reflector is so made that the light goes straight to one place, and is very concentrated. Examples are outdoor lighting or lights in a storefront.

-Indirect lighting: you get this light to let the light first been shined on to the ceiling. But the shadow it creates is so small that you get a surrealistic feeling, and also it is really expensive because the efficiency is only 35%.
-Half-indirect lighting: the best for general lighting. You’ll get this light if you put the lamp in a diffuser of a particular form. The light will shine in all directions . The Giso lamps are made to create this half-indirect lighting. But what you can see, the Giso lamp Nr. 24 has also a reflector above the diffuser, so the light won’t go up to the ceiling.

Economic requirements: maximum efficiency at minimum power consumption. Giso glass is perfect for this efficiency. It has a huge perseverance.

Psychic requirements: the place where a lamp hangs is of course important for how it looks like, a lamp in a living room must be different than a lamp in a party room or a storefront. As you have read there are many different requirements that a lamp must meet. They already decide what a lamp should look like, but you still can design a lamp as good as possible. For example Gispen uses soft gold bronze instead of dark bronze, so there is less contrast between the white shaves and the metal. The Giso lamp (Nr. 24) does not hang on a clumsy chain, but on a fine metal tube.

So maybe it was not true that a lamp is just a simple product. You have to be aware of all kind of different suspects if you want create a lamp, as Gispen did. But if you think it doesn’t matter at all, you can make whatever you want, without looking at all the requirements. (in my experiment I look don’t really look at the requirement, only at the atmosphere.)

 

Light experiment

Experiment

So now we know what Gispen thoughts were about light. I wanted to do my own light experiment. I changed my lamp into different forms, to look what will happen with the lamp and my room when I make small changes. I used my lamp in my bedroom that has a reflector above the lamp, so the light is more concentrated on the floor and less on the ceiling (like the Giso lamp number 24). I put all kind of different things under the lamp or covered it. The changes are huge, you can see it in the pictures, but it was even more in reality. If we look at the physic requirements I think Gispen would say that I made really bad lamps, because they are often too weak. Personally I like weak light, I liked the one with the white paper around the lamp, and the light concentrated on one point of my room and the rest of the room was less light. Economically it were also not really good lamps, a lot of light gets absorbed so it was not really: maximum efficiency at minimum power consumption. But my experiment was not about creating a good lamp. But about what little changes to a lamp do with the atmosphere of the room. I found out that it changes a lot to a room, but also really your mood. When found out that when the light changed, so my view at my room changed, so my mood changed. The best example was maybe the one with the color, the blue was cold and the red warm. Also the weakness of the light matters to my mood, the darker, the more I get into a mysterious almost melancholic mood. So I discovered through this whole research the impact of a lamp in a room. And that is bigger than I first thought.

 

Light experiment

 

Abstract Language of Space and Light – the Metaphor of Perception in Space for Correspondence


Saturday, August 31, 2013

 

Melancholia_rietveld graduation show2013Ji Sun Nowh

 

Writing this I discovered a new aesthetic language through the “way of looking” and the combination of possibility and imagination latent in it. This tends toward the potential unknown reality. The artist has an insight to see through various worlds and this inner eye allows the artist to experience the

other world beyond reality. Melancholia03_ Jisun Nowh_redu The work created by this artist is the very gateway leading us to this place across time. Through the operation of thinking and recollecting, we are able to bring out the invisible time and space, experiences, reminiscence, and subconscious. What I have attempted to represent using a metaphoric form of visual language is the faint outlines of the invisible beings, the lingering ambiance of light, and the emotional respiration coming from the stream of subconscious, all experienced through the mutual perception of time and space.

Melancholia04_ Jisun Nowh_redu Melancholia02_ Jisun Nowh_redu
My work intends to be vacant and open rather than to express many things. This is to induce the viewers to read the work as a reflection of their own experience and sensibility. I found that architecture and art consist of the inner abstraction and the perception of light and I have experienced the process of the works in this thesis that starts from the convergence of form, line, color and sensibility and develops into sculpture, painting and building involving space and light. The combination of form and color awakens the sensibility inside this. I tried to enable a more direct visual experience and bring out the abstract forms to the real space in order to substantiate them.

The geometrical Melancholia01_ Jisun Nowh_redu forms in these works are  imaginative spaces waiting to be filled with serene experiences.
I brought this abstract language form into my work and it will be originate from the restoration of imagination through the “way of looking”. I wish it did not remain in the state of merely reflecting the inner space but rather to be continuously reborn through various interpretations by being read as different stories and experiences.

text by Jisun Nowh [graduate student department of Inter Architecture]

 
Pdf-icon Download my thesis: ”Abstract Language of Space and Light;
The metaphor of perception in space and light for correspondence
 

Lucellino by Ingo Maurer


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

 

Lucellino by Ingo Maurer

 

Two words that probably describe Maurer’s designs the best are whimsical and magical. His works always seem to have a narrative about them and a certain ability to draw you in. Facing Maurer’s designs it is easy to forget that the object you are encountering is a lamp or a lighting device / installation. The infinite imagination present in Maurer’s work is not the solely thing he should be praised for. Maybe even more the ability to create such work and still keep it as simple and minimalistic as possible, always trying to reduce the material usage to the bare necessity. What makes it possible for Maurer to create in this manner, is also the fact that he was a pioneer in applying contemporary discoveries in light technology to his designs. First with the introduction of the halogen bulb and later the LED as well.
Ingo Maurer’s work is thus characterized with a wit, humor and easiness only a light magician like him can achieve.
Ingo Maurer [born May 12 1932 in Reichenau Germany] is an industrial designer who devoted his career to light, light design and light installations.

 

 

One of the examples of such wittiness is certainly his work Lucellino, the standing lamp from 1992. The usage of the material is visibly scarce, yet only a bulb, a wire, a metal stem and a pair of goose feather wings are enough to create this almost alive-like lamp creature.

Seeing Lucellino in the Stedelijk it was evident that it will be my item of choice, as I, myself, have always been inexplicably attracted to light and light emitting bodies.
What also attracted me to Lucellino was its animalistic quality of embodying a bird-like creature (hence the name – luce = light, ucellino = small bird ) which made it easy for me to connect with this object.

Its playful charm makes it more than just a lamp but rather an object that almost has an intelligence of its own.

A FIGHT FOR SUSTAINABLE LIGHT


Saturday, January 28, 2012

 

 

sustainable |s??st?n?b?l|
adjective
able to be maintained at a certain rate or level : sustainable fusion reactions.
• Ecology (esp. of development, exploitation, or agriculture) conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.
• able to be upheld or defended : sustainable definitions of good educational practice.

Sustainability has become an word used easily in the design world. It has become somewhat of a trend to be sustainable. However, to what extent are these designers, categorized as sustainable, truly part of that platform? Recently, there has been an exhibition in the Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam on sustainability, slow design and new energy. There was a great collection of works that were chosen to be displayed in the museum by the curator. While I was walking through the collection I wondered how and why the curator had chosen to present these particular works. There is a link to sustainability in all of them, yet, is the relationship valid enough?
There were many products which used natural elements, but do they fulfill the criteria of being sustainable? As you can see above the definition is: ‘conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources’. This is a very complex statement. If you are creating awareness of the natural resources and using it as a platform for design does that imply that you are being sustainable? It seems to be that designer takes this idea of sustainability a bit too easily. To investigate this concept I interviewed Mike Thompson and looked at his work.

Mike Thompson sees himself as an instigator of design in the bio-technological world. Using unusual power sources, he has developed a myriad of ways to create light. One of these unusual design was shown in the Boijmans exhibit. The piece, named “the blood lamp“, contains a fluid, which reacts to blood to create an ambient lighting. Curious about it’s versatility, I asked Mike Thompson whether his light only reacts on blood or if other fluids could trigger a similar reaction. The answer was surprising, a yes for urine. Urine is as effective as blood as it is the ions that react to the fluid.
His objective behind the project was to create a ‘debate piece’. In his words: a piece that would ‘plant a seed of thought’ and ‘change our relationship towards energy’. The user of the lamp would have to think about the sacrifice (blood donation) that would have to be made in order to use energy. Blood, is a romantic to stimulate self-analysis. Do we use energy with that same consciousness, when we are in fact sacrificing the delicate balance of our natural surroundings.

Blood Lamp – Mike Thompson video

My choice to investigate Mike Thompson as the representing designer of the Booijmans van Beuningen, was based on the fact that he established a piece which by using beautiful symbolism, had created a clear message towards the public. However the question still remains whether or not we can call this ‘enlightening’ piece sustainable.

When I asked Mike Thompson how he interpreted the word sustainability; he directly admitted that his work and his way of working was not based on being sustainable. He merely wanted to create some consciousness and does not believe that his rather unsustainable process of creating pieces will distract from the message he is trying to bring across.

But is this the role of the designer? Designers, in this day and age are merely the instigators of something new and innovative. It is the role of the designer to create something tangible for the public. Mike Thompson is working on a biotechnological level surrounded by people whose main goal may only be sustainability. From which a product or solution may appear that do not relate to the world around us. The designer’s role can be seen as a mediating role, a role which Mike Thompson takes with pride. It is important to remember ‘that no one is shown the way to speculate’ and speculation is all we can do. A nice example of how the relationship between the design world and the biotechnological world works, is a new project that Mike Thompson is working on. He is in cooperation to create an ambient light that would trap light. The principle behind trapping light is that the lamp would catch light through which it would be able to reuse light and work for hours after the light has been trapped. In theory this project may work, but it does not yet. This initiation of creating the trapped light can cultivate a whole new stream of designs for recyclable light sources. Mike Thompson often works in theory, he has also designed a light called the algae light. The light would hypothetically work through photosynthesis. This however is not possible. But by designing these hypothetical pieces he has initiated a chain of thoughts: Are we able to use these natural processes for our own benefits? Or as he has written on his website: Are we able to use a flower as a light switch?. A question definitely worth further investigation.

In relation to many other works that where exposed I do believe that the work of Mike Thompson has an interesting approach to sustainability. I would however like to put him on a new platform, and make clear that he is not being sustainable with the blood lamp and is in no way ‘conserving natural resources’. The platform for designers that I would like to create and initiate would be called; ‘instigators of sustainability’. You can question whether this does not fall under slow design, but I am a great fan of clear labels, and words like sustainability are very easily manipulated to something that it is not. To prevent this from happening again we can merely add the verb ‘instigator’.

 

 

 

More on Mike Thompson: http://www.miket.co.uk/


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

entering.
sucked in.
floating.
utterly detached.
vanishing edges.
out of focus.
trying to resume.
luminous.
reverberation.
collapsing borders.
surfaces.
totally surrounded.
circling around.
indifferent.
spinning.
round. round.
lined.
behind.
different shades of. red. yellow. purple. green. blue. pink. black. white. grey. brown. orange.
passing by.
driving.
forms. square. rectangle. stripes.

trying to summarize.
repack.
total loss of consciousness.
realization.
scattered.
vague.
blurry.
still floating.
losing direction.
packed.
rapped.
interest.
curiosity.
surprise.
amusement.
hope.
joy.
elation.
triumph.
attraction.
desire.
admiration.
panic.
aversion.
disgust.
revulsion.
fear.
anger.
rage.
cruelty.
hate.

greed.
jealousy.
sorrow.
grief.
remorse.
embarrassment.
shame.
guilt.

with hands forward walking. touching. scanning.
soft. squeeze. searching for edges.
lost. still floating.
vanishing.
deleting.

disappeared.

 

this post is part of he subjective library project "Unopened Book"
the book can be found at the Rietveld library : catalog no : -rothk-5

Heavenly Glass


Monday, November 28, 2011

 

The first time I went to the Tuschinksi theater I must have been somewhat around 10 years old. It made a huge impression on me, between all the ugly stores and cheap restaurants, a beautiful building with butterfly cocoons and metal trees.

Remembering this I decided to rediscover this building when we got the assignment on the “Wendingen” magazines.

So with my camera I went there, the building was still as impressive (looking a bit smaller though) and from the entrance to the loge it was a real joy. There is so much detail at first it looks like scribbling, but after a while I could focus on individual parts  of the interior. Behind the bar there are three heads, enlisted by glass birds in blue and yellow. The walls mostly covered by paintings and endless woodwork. And the many lamps, in all possible shapes. Mostly they look like stylized insects.

But when I asked a lady if she maybe had some information on the theater and the lamps and glass-work specifically, she told me no. Also, sadly, I could not go past the entrance hall. Luckily I was allowed to take some pictures [x].

(more…)

DeBazel


Thursday, May 19, 2011

On Chaos, Fine Matter & The Immaterial.

From a Theosophical point of view, the whole body of the Stadsarchief Amsterdam represents the three basic evolutional stages; chaos, fine matter and the immaterial. The dark, syenite foundation of the building signifies the lowest level of cosmic evolution from which all forms emerge. From the solid base rises the concrete skeleton hidden by the façade of interlaced yellow bricks and purple granite. To the Theosophist yellow is equal to gold and represents the sun and male cosmic power, the purple symbolizes the moon and female cosmic power. In this sense the façade realizes one of the most important principles in H.P. Blavatsky’s (founder of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society) work The Secret Doctrine; the cosmic creation rising out of the chaos. This is called the fine matter or Svabhavat. Finally the massive glass roof that rest on top of the building, letting the light reach all the way down to the central court embodies the spirit or the immaterial. The immaterial is the highest level of cosmic evolution and brings everything to life through astral light (imagine all the employees working on the ground floor of the building still being able to get a glimpse of sunlight). This brick spekkoek is not just a fireproof vault; it is the manifestation of cosmic evolution.

[by Olga Nordwall]

Light in ‘De Bazel’

Bazel’s unique architectural form was greatly influenced by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as it conveys a feeling of harmony and balance, with hidden religious influences in its simple organic form de Basel achieved to combine modern architectural ideas with ancient archetypes.
The glass ceiling of the building creates a sense of transparency as it leaves space for an everlasting game between light and darkness to be played within its chambers. In de Bazel sky is the lightest element of the building nearly unreachable source of luminosity then you have the last floors escalating like Japanese rice fields, 3 floors down , allowing thin air occupy most of the space in between. As you go down its round stairs the light becomes dimmer due to the stained glass that covers the windows, leading to the basement of the building where light slightly becomes less and less as you go further down, until the only source of light is artificial, asphyxiatin (being smothered) between the close walls of the basement, the spaces become smaller and the air thicker.
From the outside de Bazel seems like a close fortress contrasting with the true inner nature of the building, containing hidden beauties and mysterious qualities, stands and talks for itself as the great architectural piece that it is.

[by .............]

Checkout that amazing table.

I wanted to write you something about the amazing table in the Italian room/italiaanse zaal in de Bazel but I could not find any information about it from the internet and I missed the name of the designer, help me out please!
I think the contrast of something so modern with the rest of the room (18th century style Italian landscape murals) is a very cool effect. Since the weird Italian room quite stands out from the whole building and it’s style, placing such a minimal design table there was a brilliant move who ever then did it in the later years. I also had to think about a connection to the glass stairs (by Claus & Kaan) down to the archive that the guide was so enthusiastic about.

[by Katja Hannula]

Amsterdam City archives

Amsterdam City Archives was first built to be used as a bank, and it was not until 2007 that the purpose of the building changed to host the city’s archives.
The building was designed in 1919 by de Bazel and was finished at 1926, three years after de Bazel’s sudden death.
Its unique architectural form was greatly influenced by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as it conveys a feeling of harmony and balance, with hidden religious influences in its simple organic form de Basel achieved to combine modern architectural ideas with ancient archetypes.
The glass ceiling of the building creates a sense of transparency as it leaves space for an everlasting game between light and darkness to be played within its chambers, the glass ceiling also supports the contrast between the inside-outside impression since when you look at the building from the outside it gives the feeling of claustrophobic space but in contrary to its illusive form when you enter the space a feel like you re in the middle of an open space.
The building was officially declared as a national monument in 1991 for its distinctive formal values by the Dutch government.

[by Clair Bamplekou]

Balanced architecture

Amsterdam Archive building. A creation of Dutch architect Karel de Bazel in which each and every measurement and size are dedicated to the proportions of the human body. However the architectural tradition which seems quite unique for that period, takes its roots back in the ancient times…

The philosophical approach, formulated in 5th century BC by the Greek philosopher Pytagoras, stating that “Man is the measure of all things”, was further developed by the Roman architect and theorist Vitruvius, who created a famous code of human proportions, describing how a well-built man fits with extended arms and legs into the most perfect geometrical figures (circle and square), which was supposed to be the basis of temples and churches of those times to be able to give a person a feeling of balanced architecture.

This principle greatly inspired Leonardo da Vinci, who in the 15th century made a famous drawing of a vitruvian man as an attempt to relate human body to nature and architecture, as well as trying to define the ideal Renaissance church.

At the beginning of the 20th century, continuing the research of da Vinci, Le Corbusier created his modular, an anthropometric scale of proportions, based on the height of man with his arm raised as an attempt to discover mathematical proportions in the human body and then to use that knowledge to improve both the appearance and function of architecture.

In his own way, based on theosophical approach, de Bazel also set out in search of universal harmony and balance for his work on the Archive building. In the lay-out of the building he used a raster of rectangular’s of 3,2×3,6 meters, in other words 8/9×9/9, which reflect the proportions of the human body with and without head. A result of it – a building, which feels comfortable, inviting and truly made for a human-being!

[by Anastasia Starostenko]

personal architecture

What is fancy about building De Bazel designed by Karel De Bazel is the whole ideology he put into forms, patterns, outlays and finally the facade of the whole construction. He believed in harmony and balance in life so its projects, expressed his personal feelings and confessions. Noticeable is how every detail has been refined and his travels to Indonesia rebounded imprint on the inside of this building here. I liked the idea concerning the architecture as a bridge between cultures, beliefs. Coming into the building, despite not knowing the architect's plan was to feel the atmosphere of stability and peace. It seems to me that you have to have an amazing sense of form to achieve this effect. It is almost like being a good psychologist. Because of the openness of architect’s mind the building he constructed could be very easily called a place of a surprise and admiration but also curiosity. Indeed, when you keep moving between the rooms, halls, you almost get an impression that you are in a museum. The idea to place the archive there is the more accurate and suits his concept better than it did for the bank that was originally there, I guess.

[by Agnieszka Zimolag]

Bazel Civilization

The Bazel is not only a building, but also furniture! I had been visiting the Bazel before, but this time the guide was putting a particular accent for the furniture “designed by De Bazel”. Not only tables and chairs, but also coffee cups, inkwells, the colors of the walls. Everything inside the building was made on purpose to fit in the building and consequently I imagine the people looking like the building too! I personally find really contemporary the idea of making such big project and follow it from the beginning until every final detail (or almost, because Karel de Bazel was dead in 1923, just before finishing the project). A “total” architecture that keeps together the whole environment inside it. It makes me imagine at the creation of a new civilization where all the tools are thought in a way that consequences and growth are predictable. It sounds science fiction, but it’s what happen when design is perfectly designed. In the Bazel furniture, colors and objects have differences depending on the level of importance of the person they were  made for. Most of the differences are details that say “we are almost the same, but my chair has a more comfortable seat” or “my table is bigger”. That’s why the hierarchic system of the bank, De Bazel designe, required respect and strict definition of roles. This is not difficult to understand for that time (early ’20s), but weird to realize in the proud voice of the giude talking about “the desk set for the president manager, a bit more black of the others desk sets, designed BY DE BAZEL”.

[by Sara Cattin]

De Bazel

Vijzelstraat number 32. the front of this huge building is covered completley with construction frames. Workers are shouting.

Karel de bazel is responsible for this.

Enter the 1920s. Look at this beautful wooden floor! Elegant white. Sunflooded. A sealing out of glass.

„karel did this all by himself!“ i love our guide, she fits the building.

Shocking from the outside and so sensible from the inside, like everything in this cityarchive; the cellar, massiv tresor doors.

Esotherik painted sealing.

„ de bazel designd everything in here, thats a gesamtkunstwerk!“ „ de bazel designd everything in here, thats a gesamtkunstwerk!“ i love our guide.

But she loves karel.

Black marmor. Dark green walls. Thats the chef etage. Now a days you can get married here.

This going back way back into time. 1920s and stylishe lightswitches. De bazel is a craftsman he knows his bussines. This is love for the detail.

He died before the building was finished. True romance. he would be proud.

I am.

[by Martin Kaehler]

light is art, and in the fusion of all art with life, light is life


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

light is art, and in the fusion of all art with life, light is life
It is quite a bold statement to make, but not a wrong one in my opinion. Light is one of the keystones to our existence, it is energy, warmth and above all it makes us the visually driven creatures that we are. Moholy-nagy introduced photography and film in art as the new media with light as its main ingredient. And with this move he made art accessible for a much larger audience than paintings for instance. He wanted this to be so very much, art in his opinion was something that merged with life itself, worked together with it, to make one big artwork together of it all.
and to that sense in his view light is life.
Of course this was a long time ago, and film, photography now together with other media such as TV and Internet we can’t even imagine a time without them. It might be still be a valid statement today, but it didn’t proof to be only right, now art can also be an idea, an idea only, or a set of instructions of how to execute ones idea. In this view i would now say:

thought is art, and in the fusion of all art with life, thought is life

light is an outside source, which is very important, but animals also experience light. Art is opposite to animals, art is what makes us human, because art makes us reflect upon ourselves, something an animal can not do.  Thought is at first within ourselves and is the source of all human actions. And to express this we can use light to make it visible, but also sound and touch are just as valid means of expression.
Moholy-Nagy thought of art as an collective mentality where art and all other things to life would merge together as one big whole. and trough this way would create a general progress is humanity. again a very noble thought but still incomplete, seen his view on light, and light only as the medium. Touch, smell, sound, taste and light are all equally important medias in which a human can express himself.  Especially because he wanted art to be an overall merging cornerstone to society he might have meant:

Sensibility is art,  and in the fusion of all art with life, sensibility is life

instalation Moholy Nagy using all senses

Moholy-Nagy’s Photograms


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lászlo


Portret

László Moholy-Nagy was born in 1895 in Hungary. Here he started painting around 1918. Around this period he also moved to Berlin to develop his talent.
Besides painting and photography Moholy-Nagy also made during his life a lot of other art in which he often involved light as a media. He made sculptures, collages, films, graphic design and even more different work.
Here below you see some of his early paintings.

In 1923 Moholy-Nagy became a teacher at the Bauhaus School in Weimar after he got to know Walter Gropius; the man behind the Bauhaus.
The school had a total new way of teaching. Students had the possibility to work with a lot of different materials and were stimulated in there independency and personal development. Information Bauhaus (dutch) or (english)

It was when Moholy-Nagy became a teacher at the Bauhaus that he started experimenting with typography and photography as well. When Moholy-Nagy later moved to the VS, he there started the New Bauhaus in Chicago and continued his experiments with film and photography.

philosophy

Moholy-Nagy believed in art as part of a lifestyle. A collective mentality in which art, together with other aspects of life come together as a ‘gesamtwerk’.

He was convinced of the forming function of art. He saw the ideal society as one in which everybody is practicing art. This would lead -so he thought- to an improved society. He joined the group MA, which believed in the revolutionary potential of art. more on his theory and himself

the photogram

A photogram is a print of something that lies on light sensitive material and then get’s lightened. In other words: A photogram is a form of photography without the use of a camera.

This is, I think, very interesting.
To me it’s fascinating to see the direct forms of a device on paper. It makes in a way the distance between you and the subject on the photo smaller. And the realism of a photo bigger.
So what you see is exactly what it is.

Moholy-Nagy tried a lot of different things. For example the experiments with the light from different angles. And also many try-outs with different types of material; in special the transparent materials.



The  photogram’s of Moholy-Nagy are often abstract but not always. Lazslo worked with figurative images in the photogram as well. He build figurative images out of form or/and made use of the negatives of other photo’s.
But just to give a little bit more information about the history of the photogram because you might find this interesting (as well as I do) I’ll give you some more facts;
- The first illustrated book containing photogram’s dates from 1843, from Anna Atkins. Not so long after the invention of photography itself.
- In the early twenties there was a lot of experimenting done with the photogram. Notably by Christian Schad and Man Ray.
- from the moment Moholy-Nagy discovers the Photogram (around the time he started teaching at the Bauhaus) he continuously produces them until his death.

concluding

After visiting the exhibition Moholy-Nagy “Art of Light” and seeing all his work paintings, films, objects, collages and a huge number of photograms, I became really interesting in them. By reading about Lazslo and looking at his work I found out that there is so much more to learn about him and this time, which I think will inspire me to design and create more photo’s for myself. Especially in relation to the philosophy of Moholy-Nagy about photography. This because I agree with him about how to make use of black and white and composition in photo’s. Over-thinking the work of Moholy-Nagy resulted into an eye opener into the possibilities of photograms or making use of light in art.

some other sources:
Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms, catalogue raisonné published by Hantje Cantz / The Art of Light exhibition cataloque(fotogrammen)
Biography Lazslo Moholy-Nagy [Rietveld Library].
general information on photograms
How to make a photogram

Thinking out of the white cube


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Parooldriehoek is a triangular piece of land, somewhere in Amsterdam-Oost. A piece of land with little character, between the busy Wibautstraat and the train tracks. I hadn’t really ever noticed this plot, and I started to wonder why. It’s not that I never pass through that part of the city; I visit the adjacent club Trouw regularly. Maybe that’s the problem.

Every time I’m there, it’s night. And there’s not very much to see there during the day, let alone during the night. It’s a very dark and uninviting piece of land. Some even say they feel uneasy walking in the area after dark and that is where I could change something.

I was going to give the city something to be proud of, and I was going to make this little triangle memorable and comforting. I wanted not only to make the outside a part of the interior (much like Gerrit Rietveld himself used transparency whilst designing buildings) but I also wanted the surroundings to be affected positively by the presence of a new building. I wanted to make this a place people wanted to visit instead of wanting to avoid it.

With this in mind, I designed a glass library, a place that hides nothing in the dark, but shows everything. Just like the inspiring architecture of Rietveld’s academies. Two fine examples (one in Amsterdam and the other in Arnhem) of how a construction of steel and glass can give a large building a very light aesthetic. Two buildings from which the outside and inside are of great influence on each other.

(more…)

the cleaning of the Rietveld pavilion


Monday, November 16, 2009

At March 16th 1992, Cornelia, Jane, Greetje, en Weimpje Koelewijn Vermeer cleaned the pavilion of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

the soberness and functionality of Rietveld

the neatness and the costume of the women from Spakenburg

respect

space – light – color.

a women that cleans will not lose her morality.

Job Koelewijn, Winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (2006) talks.
photo’s by Erik van de Boom, reprinted from Rietveld Publication no 76

Get used to see the shoe on the other foot


Thursday, February 26, 2009

What is slow? We can always be slow in reference to something
which is faster. Is life fast or slow? It depends how you see it.
I would like to bring your attention to noticing things. Generally we always notice something faster before than something slower. Get used to see the shoe on the other foot, get used to perceive slowness. If life seems too fast for you, give yourself some time. For example every day before going to work, wake up a little earlier and take some time for making yourself a nice breakfast. Be slow, enjoy the activity. Take your time for eating that, feel the taste and smell of your meal. Fix the mind on your food. Look out of the window, see what morning brings. Notice the details. Take a walk when you’re going to somewhere. Breath, be aware of doing that. Notice other people around you – Who is she? Where she’s going to? What she’s thinking of? Concentrate. You are surrounded by details, find them, play with them. Be interested in things.
Notice sun, notice rain, notice snow. Give yourself some time to notice!


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