As always, Milan’s Ventura Lambrate district was absolutely jam-packed with awesome, avant-garde and otherwise amazing work by designers hailing from all over the world.
We’ll have more from some of the schools that were there shortly, though recent grads made a strong showing as well. As in Tel Aviv’s TLV Express, several young designers from the Hague united to represent their hometown in “Haagswerk.”
This year’s Salone del Mobile is the first fair Haags Werk is participating in. The designers that are part of the exhibition are: Marlies van der Linden & Raúl Wallaart, Celine van Raamt, Tiddo de Ruiter, Inge Simonis, Barbara Vos and Geanne Welles. Together they will be presenting their newest work in the fields of product, ceramics, textile, furniture design and architecture.
While all of the designers are based in De Besturing, a creative studio complex in the Hague, organizers hope to bring recognition to the city’s emerging design talent. Thus, organizers de Ruiter, Vos, Welles and Dennis Slootweg hope that Haagswerk will become a platform “for young designers to be able to participate in large fairs to show the world their newest work.”
The Haagswerk booth was an installation unto itself: architects Marlies Van der Linden and Raúl Wallaart designed the modular “Haagse Binckjes” stood out despite their simple construction and aesthetic, which is precisely their appeal. Intended to divide interior spaces, the structures are “easily constructed, [requiring only] two people, two wrenches and a ladder.” Besides the exhibition setting, “Haagse Binckjes are also perfectly suitable as small office spaces in a workshop, as a stand and as an entrance desk in a public building.”
In the three years since Celine Van Raamt returned to her hometown of the Hague (after completing her bachelor’s degree in Delft), she’s completed her graduate studies and launched several products. The lamp was inspired by wallpaper, achieving a particularly elegant effect when arranged in sequence (as pictured on her website; I’d also be curious to see it inverted as a wall sconce…).
Van Raamt’s “Fruitstand,” on the other hand, envisions the conical section as the trunk of a tree. Where Rogier Martens’ ‘pear-shaped’ fruit bowl concept resulted in amoeba-like glasswares, Van Raamt’s locally-produced version is rather less organic for its symmetry.
Inge Simonis starts with the clear and functional aesthetic of minimalism, adding just enough surprise and chance that make for housewares with distinctive details. For example, a pair of decanters—one for red, one for white—was inspired by the shapes of chimney-pots. It comes in two sizes, with cups to match.
Her lighting designs, on the other hand, was inspired by childhood papercraft: “in Holland, children produce garlands for festivities through folding and cutting.” Thus, Simonis’s pendant lamps alludes to both cultural tradition and design heritage.
Barbara Vos explores her interest in patterns and prints in her project “Tex-Tiles,” which are cast with decorative patterns on one side; since they are reversible, they can be arranged so the patterns appear only when the tiles are backlit.
“Book Lights,” which Vos designed for the Hague’s bibliocentric Meermanno Museum, give new meaning to the notion of a ‘reading lamp.’
Textile designer Geanne Welles presented her project “SQUARE.PLAY,” a toy that consists of cotton tiles with velcro attachment points, which can be used to create a rug-like (albeit not quite rugged) topographical play area. The removable covers are machine-washable, while the thin cushion provides enough comfort for hours of modular fun.
(Although SQUARE.PLAY is specifically for children, her more varied PLAY.SCAPE collection—Welles’ thesis project—is a playful take on those distinctly American schools of modern art, conjuring both Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art in the tiles’ manifold constellations.)
Lastly, Tiddo de Ruiter‘s “STRETCHERCHAIRs” (not pictured) were also on display… the designers happened to be sitting in them, adjacent to the Haagse Binckjes.