In a recent text, Edith Doove writes, ‘A studio is a wondrous place,
a place of practice. All is still in process – sculptures are looking for their
place and form in it. A studio usually has one sculpture too many, but that
is not a downside. It has too many sculptures to qualify as an exhibition hall.
There is a lot of disturbance around the sculptures: comfy chairs, books, magazines,
cups and saucers here and there. The place may be dirty, dusty; it is certainly
not tidied. There are sculptures that are only just finished, some already wrapped
up and set to go. It is a place for living with the sculptures. Sculptures come
into existence in it.’ (26)
The 4th Triennial is not attempting to reconstruct the
designer’s studio in the exhibition hall. Alongside the final product it does
however also show the experimental process that precedes this result. Prototypes,
sketches, photos, working material, etc. document the research and development
for the project.
Around thirty designers from Belgium are present with one or more
recent products or projects. Together, they form a heterogeneous group. Methods
and starting points differ and the final products are not always what they seem.
The choice was not obvious and was advised by a working group. Six broadly interpreted
starting points form the basis for the selection. Thus, the (industrial) product
may have emerged from a traditional practice and retain the material sensitivity
and tactile quality in the industrial product that is inherent in the traditional
craft. The product can also be the result of a craftsmanlike creative investigation
which subsequently has to be translated into an industrial production process.
Since industry and the associated production logic cannot be flexible enough
for the machines to be easily adapted to the innovation to which the craft-based
investigation has led, the conversion is a long and arduous process. Designer
and manufacturer together have to want to look creatively for solutions, have
to be willing to make adjustments, both to the design and to the machines, and
must want to accept the limitations that necessarily go with industrial production.
The final result can also explicitly pick up ideas that do not belong in the
industrial design process but are derived from a craft-based context, such as
imperfection, coincidence, individualisation, an idea of fragility and of cultural
diversity. In addition, the product can be conceived based on a sculptural language
or it can have a striking graphic or sculptural form as a result of the material
and technology used. It may also be an industrial product in which artistic
ideas are reflected. Finally, the starting point may be an industrial product
that has been reconsidered from a conceptual context, with an (artistic) interpretation
as its counterpart. What this selection ultimately produces is not a better
form of design, but a different form. The meeting between industry and the non-industrial
perhaps has something that can be extrapolated to the fourth power.
] 9/10 [
|Humberto & Fernando Campana, Favela, 2003.
|Marcel Wanders, Knotted chair, 1996. © Marcel Wanders Studio|
|Richard Hutten, Thing 10, 2000. © Boris Braakhuis|
|Hella Jongerius, Repeat, 2002.|
|Ingo Maurer, Bulb, 1966. © Tom Vack|