Tord Boontje is a designer from the Netherlands. Studio Tord Boontje produces a wide variety of objects in many areas of design such as packaging, interior design, furniture, jewelry, greeting cards, textiles, tableware, watches and eyewear. Boontje has worked with Droog,has done work for Swarovski along with Alexander McQueen, created pieces for Target stores, collaborated with the textile company Maharam, and has worked with Artecnica, a design group that focuses on meleding art and technology. Boontje acknowleges and utilizes new technologies in the construction of many of his objects. The use of technology is not utilized to exalt the process, but used as a means to create work that is considerate of the user's physical and aesthetic needs. Technology isn't used just because its available and can be used, its used in a way that furthers Boontje's ideas. This is can be seen in Boontje's Inflorescence collection. Like most of his work, this series of drawings is inspired by nature, this grouping of work is described on Boontje's website as "an experiment to see how the computer can be used to draw flower patterns". The patterns are randomly generated, and can then later be used to create 3-D objects using technological processes such as stereolithography.
Marti Guixe is a Spanish designer who creates a variety of objects, including furniture, clothing, games, and objects for the home. Guixe has also had a long working relationship with the Spanish shoe company Camper, and has designed numerous stores for them. Guixe also has designed some objects with the Droog collective such as the Do Scratch lamp, the Private Chair, and the Do Frame tape. Guixe first studied Interior design and then went on the study Industrial design at Milan Polytechnic. Guixe also does a variety of food projects. Each of these projects are designed in such a way as to give the user information about what they are eating, cues to when they should eat what item and during what activity, and instructions on how to go through the process of eating. Most of Guixe's designs are in some way humorous, and seem to cut straight to the object's function, keeping the user and their needs in the forefront. Guixe seems to design objects based on the human need for the object, whether it be physical or emotional, many times paring down unecessary design elements or considerations. Many of Guixe's objects, the method in which they are designed, employ a directness that gives the user a more intimate reltionship with the object.
Core 77 listed the 10 upcoming Dutch designers to look for, among those whose work interested me the most are Yvonne Laurysen, Thjis Bakker, and Fredrik Roije. Yvonne Laurysen works mainly with textiles, her working process relies heavily on experimentation with materials. Her Cell rugs are constructed of pressed industrial wool, creating cell-like patterns referencing her interest in science/molecules and cell stucture. Laurysen along with Erik Mantel make up LAMA, which sells Laurysen's textile works, and Mantel's furniture designs. Laurysen and Mantel also developed a new alternative material to fur, Furore. This material is porous and is described as being similiar to expanded metal. There is also information about Furore on www.transmaterial.net. Thijs Bakker seems to be best known for his Concrete Chair, a chair Bakker designed in response to a self-imposed set of design constarints, the chair had to include concrete, but still be lightweight, apparently Dutch law indicates that chairs cannot weigh more than 25kg. Bakker soved the problem by using a plastic foam and then dipping it in concrete which gave him the result he wanted. Fredrick Roije has worked for Droog, and also has his own design studio Roije. His collection of Spineless lamps is particularly interesting to me, each are unique in their form, but they are part of line. Roije produces this on a larger scale while still maintaining one of a kind features in each piece.
Jurgen Bey finds design solutions by examining existing objects or phenomena and deciphering how these elements can be configured to create objects of more value or purpose. Many of Bey’s designs comment on the importance or value of contemporary production. Bey’s work is many times based on experience and the emotion the specified experience evokes. Bey views his work as investigatory pieces, he converts his own questions about the world and his experiences the objects he produces, and provokes questions about the relationship of humans to objects. Bey is a member of the Droog design collective, and has produced numerous products including Tree Trunk Bench, and Garden Bench. Bey also designed the interior space for Jean Paul Gautier incorporating his wrapped furniture series.
Dutch designer Maarten Baas designs creates hand made furniture using found materials, waste materials from commercial furniture production, and reconfigured materials from kit furniture like that of IKEA. Baas creates his designs starting by making small hand carved models of each piece. In 2005 Baas began collaborating with Bas den Herder, forming Baas & Den Herder studio, making it possible for Baas’ designs to be produced on a larger scale. Along with these two, 10 studio assistants contribute to the production of the designs. Baas’ collections include Hey Chair, Treasure Furniture, Flatpack Furniture, Clay Furniture, and Smoke. Three pieces of his smoke collection were later picked up and reproduced by Marcel Wanders design company MOOOI. Baas has also worked with Droog. Baas has been commissioned by hotels, restaurants, galleries and museums, various places around the world.
Karim Rashid’s designs can be found in interior design, packaging, fashion, lighting, furniture, and advertising. Rashid’s designs are a synthesis of a wide breadth of considerations- social, economic, an understanding and attention to global issues and a strong sense and desire to create designs for a contemporary lifestyle. Rashid’s designs are extremely accessible, due to wide variety of clients he has worked with, creating the opportunity for the masses to surround themselves with well designed contemporary objects. Rashid sums up his design philosophy as “Sensual Minimalism”, or design that “communicates and inspires without excess”. Rashid has worked with Timex, Dirt Devil, Bombay Sapphire, Alessi, Issey Miyake, Method, Target, Taschen and numerous other companies and individuals around the world. Rashid has clearly been and will continue to be an influential design figure.
While his designs are definitely aesthetically pleasing, his most common choice of material is curious to me, particularly at this point in time, and particularly because of Rashid’s insistence on remaining current, not relying on past history to dictate design. As I learn more about the seemingly limitless amount of materials that exist and learn about the many green materials that are being used in design, it seems that utilizing these green materials would be a logical choice for Rashid. Rashid makes it possible for consumers to purchase well designed objects at a price point comparable to other less visually pleasing objects and products, making the choice of which item to buy more clear. Why buy a product that is ugly when a similar product at a similar price is available that also doubles as a design element in an interior space. (Ex. Method soap) The same logic would seem applicable for material choice, Rashid is in a position to make sustainable materials more the norm. If Rashid were to design products using green materials, some would continue to pick these products over competing products due to their aesthetics, but some would also be interested in the products based on their material and its implications. Consumers would buy Rashid’s products based on their visual appeal whether they care or not about the environment, at worst they would be unwittingly making a positive choice for the environment. I realize that some decisions outside of the aesthetics of an object are probably left up to the company Rashid happens to be working with, but Rashid does have the power to choose which products he wants to attach his influential name to. I haven’t really had too much luck so far in finding any of Rashid’s objects that aren’t made of plastic, although I absolutely have not looked through any where near all of the products that Rashid has designed and definitely could be missing something.
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02/karim_rashids_k.php talks about Rashid’s kit 24 housewww.karimrashid.com
http://psychologytoday.com/rss/pto-20060307-000002.html interview with Rashid
Interview with Karim Rashid from designboom.com, http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/rashid.html has a more indepth interview with him.