Guest Contribution by Ranti Bamgbala
This is the stuff designs are made of, for me specifically. I am always tickled when a narrative accompanies a product. It is of the utmost importance for me, as a designer, as it not only leads the audience on a journey, but it takes into consideration the intellectual and intuitive powers of the user. The relationship between a product and its user becomes more profound when it includes the elements of play. These ideas have being superbly achieved by the designers Rianne Makkink & Jurgen Bey for Studio Makkink & Bey.
One of the highlights of the Salone this year was the visual feast of an installation served up by the duo exclusively for HELMRINDERKNECHT, a project whcih was shown at the group exhibition "POETRY HAPPENS!" at Ventura Lambrate in Milan. 'WashHouse' is an installation featuring a 3D landscape created specifically for the space in Milan, where visitors are invited to walk through a simulated landscape of a rural village created by the most luxurious of materials, mohair blankets!
Mohair blankets? Yes! The most beautiful intricately patterned and coloured mohair blankets were pegged up on a clothesline and harnessed to create the walls of a house, private divisions and a surrounding landscape featuring wooden trees. The installation is at once a sensory delight as it invites the audience to harness their creativity and play along. Also included in this play-filled "WashHouse" installation is a series of wooden stools that turn into comfortable seats, the level of comfort being dependant on how many blankets you place on top of it. You are literally invited to take your comfort into your own hands. What's better than that?!
The rest of the furniture quite evidently promote a call to action.â¨ The integrated clothes rail allows the hanging of shirts, jackets etc. â¨The WH cabinet is a contemporary interpretation of our grandmothers' closets with their piles of neatly ironed and stapled linen and laundry. â¨The desk with its accompanying chair offers multifunctional use. â¨The top shelf of the desk provides space to pile up to two folded blankets. â¨The space underneath fully accommodates the chair when not in use. â¨ A shelf under the seat can be used to either store another blanket or all office supplies. The WH desk is a contemporary interpretation of both multifunctional and practical home furniture.
'The installation “WashHouse” traces our sensual and experiential perception of private and public spaces. Private space is determined by walls and other extreme demarcations. It is therefore protected and cared for by the individual. Public space is moulded by the responsible cooperation between individuals and groups. It is open, without boundaries and based on the principle of collective participation. Woollen blankets are the design objects through which space is defined, with inner and outer mirroring one another. Like houses, woollen blankets offer human beings protection and shelter. Taking care of warmth and security, they are roofs over our heads and tuck us comfortably in. Both roof and blanket enable and create private, protected moments.'
Something to cherish forever, we adore these blankies!
The woollen blankets were produced at the Textielmuseum’s workshop, Textilelab, in Tilburg, Netherlands. All blankets are two-sided and woven with two different colours. There are a total of five patterns and ten colour combinations. The blankets are limited to 20 pieces of each colour combination. Measurements: 160x250cm. Material: Mohair (goat hair). WashHouse furniture and blankets are exclusively available at HELMRINDERKNECHT contemporary design.
ABOUT Jurgen Bey
Jurgen Bey (*1965) is one of the Netherlands best known designers. He and architect Rianne Makkink (*1964) founded Studio Makkink & Bey in 2002. Makkink & Bey produce work in the fields of industrial design, exhibition design, installations in public space and applied arts. Jurgen Bey teaches at the Royal College of Art in London and was named Director of the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam in 2010. Renowned for continually questioning the role of industrial design in our society, Makkink & Bey approach contemporary questions about the cross-disciplinary field with innovative solutions. This analytical approach is the basis for their design methodology that not only values beauty, but as well strives towards the continuous development of alternative means of dealing with space, the environment and our resources. Makkink & Bey’s new and visionary work is characterised by its focus on traditional craftsmanship and the use of environmentally conscious resources.
HELMRINDERKNECHT contemporary design gallery stands for contemporary design at the interface of art and design. The Berlin based gallery symbolizes great passion in material, solid handcraft, vision and complexity in creation and a poetical approach to it. Art and design is unterstood as mutually inspiring and enriching creative ï¬elds to guide form, function and content. HELMRINDERKNECHT creates solo- and group shows with national and international designers in constantly changing new and exciting locations in Berlin as well as in other cities and countries. Prototypes, models, unique pieces, installations and limited editions in small numbers are exhibited, most of them exclusively available at HELMRINDERKNECHT. The gallery has close ties with Berlin through its "Schaulager"-showroom where visitors are welcome by appointment.