by Jeroen van de Gruiter
Touching a door handle is one of the first sensorial encounters an individual experiences when entering a room. Yet the design of this omnipresent element generally serves purely function – cold metals and antibacterial finishes dominate the built environment. By changing the door handle’s look and feel, would it be possible to influence a person’s perception and experience of the space he or she is about to set foot in? It’s a question Jeroen van de Gruiter addresses by means of various material interventions, using tactile fabrics ranging from suède to silicone. Aptly titled Tactile Gestures, De Gruiter’s project emphasises the fact that the transitional objects not only define a space’s atmosphere, but leave a long-lasting impact of encounters with the space through memories.
by Adrianus Kundert
From integrating scratch-proof coatings to finishes that facilitate easy cleaning, we do everything in our power to prevent our products from aging by essentially freezing them in time. But why? Adrianus Kundert believes richness comes with age and it’s a phenomenon that can add to a design’s value. Within his work, Kundert chooses to let gradual erosion become part of a product’s lifespan. The follow up to a series of rugs, which revealed different colours, textures and patterns when ‘damaged’ by usage, Transsaddles is an experiment in seating areas. Just like the floor coverings, they change appearance after repeatedly coming into contact with people. To reach his goal, Kundert deliberately applies lacquers that are known to be too fragile for furniture purposes and combines a soft under-layer with a top layer of hard plastic, which will crack when a person sits down.
by Iwan Pol
Cold, grey, rough, rigid and anonymous: concrete may be the most widely used man-made material yet its application often lacks inspiration. Concrete can take any shape or form, so why not aim for a softer look and feel? In an attempt to change the image of the stone-like mass that dominates our urban environment, Pol hacks the making process and intervenes in the different stages of creating concrete structures. Through various experiments with pigments, texture and casting, he revalues the construction material for aesthetic purposes, envisioning it as a tactile skin for buildings or a soft flooring surface. Thus the designer – both literally and figuratively – gives colour to concrete.
by Bastiaan de Nennie
Conservation and innovation converge in the work of Bastiaan de Nennie, who taps into our physical world in search of shapes that have the potential to live a second life on screen. Objects that are on the verge of ‘extinction’ as a result of technical progress are digitized with the aid of 3D scan techniques. Thus they find their way into the digital realm, where they are taken out of proportion before being reassembled. For Incarnate, elements found in nature receive a virtual counterpart. Taking his project even one step further, De Nennie uses a 3D printer to lend shape to his virtual compositions. As suggested by the project’s title, objects are returned to their physical states, and are then clad in copper foil, styrofoam and fake tattoos. The appliqué adds artisanal qualities to the futuristic forms of the assembled fabrications.
by Sanne Schuurman
Every detail counts in the work of Sanne Schuurman, who believes it’s the combination of all facets – colour, material, graphics and shapes – that results in a lasting impression. Relying on her intuition for creative choices, Schuurman lends form to her inner sense of composition with a series of intricate material samples that are perceived differently from every angle. Through layering and texturing, she carries industrial materials into a new dimension and – by doing so – gives them a new character. The effect is enhanced as the interaction between reflective and matte surfaces adds depth, while the overlapping of dense and open structures results in mesmerizing designs. Plastic, in all its physical states, plays the leading role in Schuurman’s latest experiments, which add a sense of tactility to the ubiquitous matter. The outcomes testify to the designer’s intention to challenge known application of materials, crafts and techniques in order to find new ways of improving our everyday surroundings.
by Studio Truly Truly
Sometimes taking a step back can be the way to move forward, as Joel and Kate Booy of studio Truly Truly prove with Precise Disorder. The project turns back the clock to an early phase in the process of the Australian duo’s latest completed product – lighting series Levity – and turns the early step into the springboard for a brand new venture. Where the design process previously led to Levity’s very refined and sleek outcome, this time around the duo steered the process to explore a more free and loose approach. Truly Truly reconsidered every single element within the collection of flexible lights, down to the pattern and colour of the woven textile exterior enclosing the LED source. The materiality and form of the reimagined luminaires emerged from a fascination with brutalist machines encountered by the pair during the design process. Although known for delivering quick and accurate work, the designers refer to ‘moments of organised mess’ within such fine-tuned industrial processes that they found most captivating and ultimately added the element of surprise to their sculptural clay and textile lights.
by Simone Post
Woven baskets seen in The Gambia became the starting point for research into the design of storage units, carried out by Simone Post. Although partly inspired by aspects of the African culture, which Post believes to hold the potential to inspire design even more than it currently is, it’s the mixture of different ethnic references that most characterize her work. As the world becomes more and more connected, Post believes there is an increased interaction between cultures, exemplified by an eclectic approach towards design. The designer’s latest project includes containers, panniers and bowls that explore shaping and connecting wood with textiles. Using various techniques to weave the two materials together, Post searches for new ways to construct handles, buttons and lids and, at the same time, plays with the elements’ tactility. The result is a series of objects that beg to be touched.
by Studio Plott
Tactility isn’t the first association made when thinking about 3D printed objects. Although the printing technology is already infiltrating the fashion and design scene, the outcomes of the process generally pursue a futuristic design language that’s hard to envision as part of daily life. As a response, Rudi Boiten and Mireille Burger – better known as Studio_Plott – set out to add a more human touch to digital fabrication. By reinterpreting techniques used in the textile industry – such as stitching, weaving and knitting – and translating them into patterns that can be read by a self-developed, computer-controlled printing device, the duo brings traditional textile-forming techniques into the present. The printing filaments are utilized like the yarns of a textile, underpinning the designers’ idea to deploy 3D printing in the creation of graphic, yet tactile, surfaces. Current experiments include tests in flexibility, tactility and diversity. The main goal? To develop a material with both functional and aesthetic value which can be used in the creation of multi-dimensional ‘home textiles’.
by Tijs Gilde
Looking for the awe-inspiring in ordinary construction methods, Gilde aims to simplify the way ‘links’ are approached in design. To carry his research into ‘connections’, the designer selected rope to experiment with. Although the material is largely associated with the forming of knots, it is exactly this method Gilde avoids in his compositions. Replacing the cord’s cores and tensioning the material in various ways, Gilde not only shows alternative ways to fabricate joints but gives shape to an inherently flexible subject. The result, frames of metal and wood are ‘upholstered’ with rope. To explore the concept to its full potential, a number of cords were fabricated especially for a collaboration with the TextielMuseum in Tilburg.