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"nicolaas petrus de koo" Tag


I TRIED TO MAKE AN ASHTRAY


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
                                                 I TRIED TO MAKE AN ASHTRAY
At the Bauhaus exhibition in the Boijmanns museum where many interesting objects and images were exhibited I started taking pictures of all the things that I liked and that interested me. After the exhibition I was still clueless what subject or object i wanted to focus on. I was interested in many parts of the exhibition but didn’t really know how to connect it to myself or to my situation at the Rietveld academy at the moment. 
Every now and then I looked through the pictures I took from the exhibition and also the catalog of the exhibition and noticed that I had taken quite some pictures of ashtrays that where exhibited. I asked myself where that interest was coming from. 
When i think of myself trying out a new material or trying to find a design, the first thing that comes to my mind is making an ashtray and I think that is something many people do in the beginning. It makes sense to start with something small and not so complicated, it makes sense to try something first where only a small amount of skills and abilities is needed, it makes sense to start like a little child by playing with a material and form, for example a vase, a teacup or an ashtray. 
I then tried to think about the students in the „Vorlehre“ of the Bauhaus school and imagined that they may also started out trying a new material with making ashtrays. An ashtray is a decorative object that is often located in the middle of a room easy accessible  for everyone and at the same time functions as a design statement.
I choose one of the ashtrays from this exhibition. It was a design by Nicolaas Petrus de Koo, I choose this ashtray in particular because I felt like the time in which it was produced was really well represented in the design and color. It took the art language of that time for example Mondrian and translated it into an every day object and at the same time it really represented the motive „form follows function“.
Form follows function was a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design which meant that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose. I think that is a really logical and sensual approach to not focus on all the „ornaments“ around but to set the focus on the pureness and the beauty of the function.
Nicolaas Petrus de Koo was a Dutch designer , book binding designer and interior designer. In the period 1901- 1905 he received his education at the Rijksschool voor kunstnijverheid Amsterdam. After spending some time in Vienna , he established himself as an architect in Baarn in 1907. In 1910 after his marriage, he became a partner at a Rotterdam furniture company. At that time he designed furniture for fellow members of the Rotterdam Art Circle. 
I imagined to be part of the zeitgeist of that time to experience the process of reproducing an exact and  polished design.
So I went and  bought some clay and started carving it and forming it. While doing that i noticed that it is going to be hard to make it look as precise as the original version. 
i tried to imagine the process of an Bauhaus school student. Before they created an end product they must have made several steps and try outs to come to an end result that looked finished and not crafted.
In that sense I think that the Rietveld Academy education and the Bauhaus school education really differ from each other.
At the Bauhaus school one received a quite specific education that would provide you with skills to produce design objects and images. The education started with a different approach, where you first learn how to produce an object, carpet, form etc. and on the ground of these tools developing a design language. 
At the Rietveld Academy on the other hand it seems the way to achieve your goals is more about thinking and reflecting and being aware of yourself and what is happening in the process. If you want to learn skills and abilities, go for it.

  

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