Colony x Ventura Projects: Dutch Design in NYC
From September 12 – December 20, 2019, Ventura Projects presents Dutch Design in NYC in collaboration with Colony, the designers’ co-op. The exhibition will feature process-driven work of seven Dutch designers; Aleksandra Gaca, Aliki van der Kruijs, Alissa+Nienke, Rick Tegelaar, Studio Jeroen Wand, Studio Kalff and Studio Nienke Hoogvliet.
The show was curated collaboratively by Margriet Vollenberg, founder of Ventura Projects, and Jean Lin, founder of Colony.
The new work will be shown alongside Colony’s regular roster of independent American designers; exposing the juxtaposition of tangential markets. Highlights from Dutch Designers will include; reactive surface design from studio Alissa+Nienka, 3D printed Colback panels engineered through Rick Tegelaar’s tight control of material and machinery; and a fish skin leather developed out of fishing industry waste by Studio Nienke Hoogvliet. As a whole, the presented collection is the result of experimental research where production methods directly influence form and function of the created objects without obscuring their beauty.
Aleksandra Gaca studied Textile Design at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, Netherlands. In over two decades as a textile designer she has devoted herself to pushing the technical boundaries of weaving, for example in her pioneering work in 3D textiles. She works with brands, architects, manufacturers, and institutions to create textile solutions, products and installations that translate her clients’ identities, needs and interests into woven form. Her work appears in interiors, architecture, fashion, and art exhibitions. Her clients include fashion designer Iris van Herpen and Renault, foreign ministries and embassies, and brands such as Casalis. Gaca often collaborates with architects including Fokkema & Partners Architects, John Pawson, RDAI Architecture in Paris for Hermès, The Invisible Party for W Hotel Amsterdam, and with Happel Cornelissen Verhoeven for her resent project for Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. Her fabrics are found in collections of various museums including the Textile Museum in Tilburg, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and National Museum in Warsaw. Her innovative textile designs have earned her a number of international awards.
Aleksandra Gaca’s Colony x Ventura Projects
Aleksandra Gaca designs innovative woven textiles. Her creations unite strong aesthetic qualities with high functional performance in acoustics and insulations. At the outset of her 20-year career, she pioneered 3D woven textiles, becoming an expert in their design, manufacture, and use. Her fabrics unite experimental weaving techniques with her own sensuous approach to materials, color, and pattern. To make them, she combines ancient craft and cutting-edge technology, sometimes creating a sample design on a handloom, before transferring the resulting concept to industrial machines. “Weaving is an ancient technology,” she says. “I like to honor the emotional, deeply human quality of woven textiles while constantly pushing the boundaries of the industry. Every step I take inspires me to go further.” At Colony Gallery Aleksandra Gaca presents her latest 3D woven textiles creations, a selection of sound-absorbent fabrics from series ARCHITEXTILES and her most recent cushion collection –BLOKO. ARCHITEXTILES fabrics RHOMBUS and BLOKO features geometric structures in special color combinations to provide a visual, tactile and auditory experience. BLOKO cushions excite the senses with their luxuriously tactile surfaces and a surprising gradient color effect.
Aliki van der Kruijs
Aliki van der Kruijs is a Dutch designer, artist, and researcher based in the Hague who mainly works with textiles. She works on her own research projects, as well as on collaborative and commission-based creations. Crafts are combined with her deep interest in Earth Science and matter. This interest brings her to consult or collaborate with scientists in domains like meteorology, pedology (soil science), and oceanography. Her works can be seen as publications on her continuous explorations of the living library of Earth and the material culture of its inhabitants. She holds a Master of Applied Arts degree from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and juxtaposes her background in graphic and fashion design with an exploration of how different materials, from ceramics to textiles, can be a means of communication. Her work is process-based and has its fundament in contextual research. Aliki is also an accomplished photographer and uses the medium for research, documentation, and material in her design process.
Aliki van der Kruijs’s Colony X Ventrura Projects
“Made by Rain”
This porcelain collection follows up the textile collection and was developed during a three-month creative residency in Arita, Japan. In a collaboration with the potter Fukusengama, Aliki came to a process to ‘draw’ on porcelain with rain. They investigated how to achieve a contemporary approach to traditional Arita-ware and create a modest patterning on the porcelain by using real rain together with several experimental stages of glazing. They found a productive and stable way to imprint and fix the desired rain patterns. The color used is typical ‘Fukusen’ blue and is used in three tones. The Japanese rain is imprinted on the icon plate from Fukusengama with a diameter of 31 cm and receives, just like the scarfs, the notation of the location, time and weather circumstances of exposure to the weather.
“MM01 / MM02”
These vases are part of a series of porcelain that Aliki developed during a residency in Arita, Japan. Arita is known for it’s rich and long history of porcelain industry where several techniques were sublimed. Next to painting the decorations on the porcelain by hand, nowadays a transfer technique is executed in making prints for mass-produced goods. By intervening in the transfer method that is mainly about repetition and precision, a patterning that resembles marble is achieved and provides unique outcomes. The marmoreal patterns arise by working with leftover inks from the silkscreen studio where the transfers are produced. By painting with the ink instead of silkscreening and adding water, the ink blooms and stills into an organic pattern.
Alissa+Nienke is a material research and design studio specialising in exciting surface materials for interior architecture, founded in 2013 by Alissa van Asseldonk and Nienke Bongers. Both craftsmen, in collaboration with the high-tech industry, research and design innovative materials and installations that trigger curiosity and interaction. Characteristic of their work is the flat surface as a starting point, which is manipulated in various ways to transform common materials into interesting, three-dimensional surfaces with new properties and applications. Their designs are strongly influenced by how we (could) experience the spaces around us in different ways. With the use of natural forces like light and wind, materials are created that build intriguing and enriched spaces for those who live or work in them. Constantly developing their practice, A+N work on commissioned and self-initiated projects in the field of interior design for living, hospitality, office, and the fashion industry. They’ve worked with and for, a.o., Fendi, Christian Dior, Mojo, the Government of the Netherlands, Galleria Rossana Orlandi, Tools Galerie.
Alissa + Nienke’s Colony x Ventura Projects
Like the rippling of a water surface, Dangling Mirror moves, reflects and almost seems to be dancing. The extreme thinness of the stainless steel squares makes it sensitive to air movement, creating an ever-changing pattern, influenced by movement. While the surface functions in a completely analogue way, it flows with an almost digital feel. Every gust of wind evokes a play with waves and reflection.
“New Wave (big piece + sample)”
New Wave is a large, stainless steel panel that gets volume by its incisions and foldings. As all lines catch the light from a different angle, New Wave creates a mesmerizing surface of reflections. Like a chameleon, it takes on the colours from its surroundings and looks different in every space. New Wave is a material panel that can be applied in various ways: from wall surface to window blinds, from partition wall to a piece of art.
“Cc Flo (blue/white + pink/white)”
Resembling a sky with tufts of little clouds (cirrocumulus floccus), Cc Flo forms an intriguing surface, responsive to air movement. As sensitive as a fluid surface, every gust of wind triggers a fascinating movement and invites you to interact with your surroundings. Cc Flo is built up of modular wall panels and can cover any existing walls or create self-standing sliding doors. The size of the modular panels is always altered to create site-specific fits. The design itself is easily customisable by changing the colour of the circles or the back panel while keeping its organic surface and refined movement. Cc Flo is a collaboration with Studio Mats • Anne.
“Mirabilia Metal sample”
What if a (partition) wall is not just a solid surface, but an element of play? Something that changes with the light, or when you pass by? This metal sample is a study for a sliding door, originally commissioned by Christian Dior for their fine jewellery department in Harrods, London.
Rick Tegelaar graduated with honours from the ArtEZ Arnhem product design department in 2011. Since then he has worked independently from his studio and workshop in Arnhem. As a material-oriented designer, Rick’s work is characterized by the use of very uncommon materials, finding new beautifully shaped forms with an innovative approach. Rick has been interested in machinery and mechanical processes since childhood. This fascination for engineering, combined with his delicate sense of aesthetics are reflected in his designs, which shed new light on undervalued materials and existing techniques. “I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction out of the processes of making something. When I was a kid I was always playing with technical Lego. Even now, I sometimes use Lego for making a scale model. I’m a designer who combines thinking and doing for developing new designs.”
Rick Tegelaar’s Colony x Ventura Projects
Rick developed a machine and a set of tools that enable him to form chicken wire very controlled and accurately. By stretching the material over a mold it shrinks itself to the form and takes its shape. The tension that comes into the material from stretching stays captured to form a very efficient structure. The material is now shown with a completely new perspective with new possibilities. The wire mesh acts as a reflector to distribute the light from the integrated LED in an elegant way. This results in changing transparencies due to the different tiers of the chandelier. In this way, the light is captured to form a very visual yet transparent display.
“3D printed panels of Colback”
‘A research on printing Colback yarn on Colback nonwoven’ Rick Tegelaar is enthusiastic about experimenting with materials in different contexts by looking at them from a new perspective and finding out about their potential by developing new ways of working with them. This often involves developing new tools and techniques, or linking materials and techniques from different fields. Since the Colback material was new to the designer he first wanted to learn about the material. Through pragmatic experiments and theoretical research, Rick discovered the capability of Colback to be 3D printed exceptionally well. Rick Tegelaar customized the FDM (Fused deposition modelling) printing process for Colback yarns. The self-made machine stretches over 2 meters which enables tests on a decent scale. The designer also developed a custom printing head to process the Colback yarn and place it on the Colback nonwoven fabric in a very controlled way. The Colback yarn consist of bicomponent filaments. By only melting the outer polypropylene skin of the Colback® yarn the PET (Polyethylene) core remains unaffected and keeps its strength. Rick Tegelaar has developed and customized this technique to create reinforcements, to add rigidity and create tensional strength. The technique can also be used to add a graphic layer on the Colback nonwoven to enhance its aesthetic appearance.
Studio Jeroen Wand
Studio Jeroen Wand creates products, objects and installations that challenge the established order. The studio explores the dynamic raw and unpolished part of design, stimulating the search for alternative forms of what is to be considered beautiful or agreeable. The designs of the studio are not conventional and compliant but go beyond the predictable. Studio Jeroen Wand alters, reinvents and modifies traditional combinations of materials and techniques, culminating into unconventional production processes, such as paper laminating or plaster moulding. The works of the studio are the result of experiment and research where the method of production directly influences the form and function.
Studio Jeroen Wand’s Colony x Ventura Projects
Pieces of leftover veneer are pressed together to form a sturdy whole. For this modular shelving system, the industrial process of laminating is applied manually. Normally, veneer is used to cover less attractive material underneath. Here, veneer is used throughout the whole object. By pressing the layers together over a solid wooden structure, the material is formed and strengthened.
In the process of making these vases, two phases of the same material react upon each other in a biochemical struggle. The primary shape of these vessels, which is based on one mold, is first cast and dried. Afterwards, this basic shape is immersed in newly mixed plaster. During the immersion, the newly mixed and still liquid plaster clings to basic form. Through the combination of control and letting the plaster react freely, the material forms its own unique cover. Here the plaster is not applied as a secondary material but shown in its autonomous qualities and capabilities. Via multiple immersions in different mixtures of liquid plaster, the vessel is covered with several unique layers. The inner shape keeps its clean design, whilst the outside becomes rough and irregular.
Since graduating in architectural design at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2009 and founding Studio Kalff, designer Roos Kalff has produced a steady body of acclaimed work that has not only been recognized for its aesthetic value but has also found its functionality in classic and modern interiors all over the world. In 2013 the silicon table cloth ‘Table Skin’ was commissioned by Droog Design and The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and in 2018 it was added to the permanent collection of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. In 2018 Roos Kalff was also selected to show her work at the retrospective exhibition at the 50th anniversary of the Rietveld Academy.
Studio Kalff Colony x Ventura Projects
Designer Roos Kalff has developed a captivating aesthetic idiom that bridges past and present, echoing historical designs in contemporary pieces which are alike functional and sustainable. New work from her glassware series uses vintage and hand-blown glassware as the material basis to create lighting and table pieces, subtly manipulating the form and function of the original objects. All the glassware is handmade and each piece is unique, composed of individually selected items.
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is a design studio for material research, experimental, and conceptual design. Nienke works as a freelance designer for different companies and institutions but also continues her research in self-initiated design projects. The studio is based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Nienke founded her studio in 2013 and follows her heart ever since by focussing on materials that can contribute to a more holistic world. Her projects raise awareness of social and environmental problems in the textile, leather, and food industry. By creating innovative alternatives she hopes to change perspectives and systems. Her work is exhibited worldwide in institutions like Artipelag, Stockholm | Centre Pompidou, Parijs | Centraal Museum, Utrecht | Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York | Textielmuseum, Tilburg | Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet’s Colony x Ventura Projects: Dutch Design in NYC
Worried about the polluting leather industry, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet discovered that fish skins are a waste product of the fishing industry, while they can also be made into beautiful and sustainable leather. Nienke went to fish shops to collect their waste and discovered a way of tanning the skins without any chemicals. By using an old technique, that requires a lot of manual labour, she created a strong, sustainable and beautiful material that can be used like regular leather. To show the abilities of the leather, Nienke designed a small stool with fish leather seating. This stool is made of salmon leather, but almost any kind of fish can be used to make leather of. While the tanning process was done by hand now, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is working on upscaling that process as well.
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet noticed that today’s society thinks of vulnerability as weak, while Nienke thinks it can lead to strength and protection. She sees blankets as a metaphor for the feeling of protection, which is why she designed one fragile (HIDE pink) and one protective (HIDE grey). Skin inspired the design because it borders our inner world from the outside one. One fragile human skin and one thick and rigid elephant skin. The title ‘HIDE’ captures it all: conceal, cover and skin. The blankets’ patterns are drawn by hand, so they are irregular and unique throughout. To capture the organic feel of skin, the blankets are made of natural materials like mohair, linen and cotton.