Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Editorial article: Kiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleiswijk

Written by Michael Leung

Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk started with a photo of themselves in a workshop, both dressed up. In the picture, Kiki was leaning against her ‘High Table’ made with powder coated steel and Joost standing beside her, both staring a trophy in the ‘No Screw No glue’ series Joost had made for himself as he wanted one but have received none so far, he said. Kiki and Joost are known as part of the new generation talented Dutch designers. They graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven and started their studio since. Kiki is working on her own projects which have been exhibiting in many places and also work on projects for brands such as Swarovski and Moooi. Joost have been working mainly on his own projects like the ‘No Screw No glue’ series.

“Hands on” as the theme of the lecture, Joost explained how they set up the new studio in Strijp-s and showed us the before and after pictures. Like the theme, they prefer to really get their hands on making things, from their studio to their design, even the snacks in their exhibitions. They believe it is the way to design, really get your hands on to it. It’s also a reason that most of the works shown are limited editions. Like the first few pieces in the ‘No Screw No glue’. The material used is plywood, not the most precious or valuable material, but Joost said the time and effort they had to spend on it makes the difference. Also with the later pieces, which is made with stainless steel sheets that are laser cut and then polished and hand assembled. Another reason for making the limited editions is that they have to worry less about the production costs. It is also a way to protect their client since they believe it is not reasonable if someone paid so much for one piece, but they keep making them, which eventually diminishes the value of the object.

The lecture then divided into two parts, first with Kiki explaining her works and then Joost explaining the exhibitions they did during Milan Furniture Fairs and his works. The way they work is quite similar, focusing on the technique, material and archetypes, yet, the style is rather different. Kiki’s design is more emotional, like some elements repeatedly used in her design, which she personally links to. She explored different materials throughout her works and it is not difficult to see some well crafted details. Joost’s works is more masculine, like his ‘No Screw No glue’ series which he had worked quite a lot on. It is a series of limited edition objects that he made with plywood and stainless steel sheets. Like the title, it is all about the way the pieces are constructed in. with over 4 years of development, Joost now mastered the skill and is able to make more complicated objects through the simple structure.

The lecture ended with an interesting Q & A section. A question from the audience triggered Joost to give some very useful and practical advices, especially about the Milan Furniture Fair, where they have been showing their limited edition pieces. With the financial crisis, Kiki and Joost will be showing a lot less limited editions this year. Limited editions are now becoming limited. It is time to show some designs that are for users and not collectors.

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