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Dick van Hoff - Elements

Gallery Libby Sellers presents a pop-up installation by 'industrial tailor' Dick van Hoff that runs over London Design Festival and the Design Art London/Freize Art fairs. 

By Katie Dominy / 24-09-2009

Dick van Hoff turns an old London garage into a striking installation for Gallery Libby Sellers based around the hearth with its key elements of fire, metal, wood, earth and water. 

An old garage - albeit in one of London’s most expensive areas, South Kensington, is an ideal setting, with its painted brick and concrete floor for the first exhibition of Van Hoff’s work in the UK. Choosing to call himself an ‘industrial tailor’, Van Hoff fuses a respect for traditional manufacturing techniques – both craft and industrial - with a modernist approach that reacts against the over-styled work of so much of today’s product design.

“Working as a pop-up gallery, I can either choose venues to suit the work, or choose exhibition concepts to suit the venue. In the current space - an old car park, or garage - I knew we had the space to create a dramatic installation and so it was a perfect marriage when Dick started showing me his inspiration images of ancients hearths found in forest woodlands", explains curator and gallery owner Libby Sellers about the focus of the exhibition on ‘the hearth’. "However the hearth became even more valid as a curatorial device when I started researching around the topic. Its Latin name, focus, conveys its historic role as the central support of a building’s structure as well as the source of all heat and warmth. I also saw in it important signifiers for the values Dick upholds in his own objects – integrity, solidity, conviviality and longevity.”

‘Industrial’ oil green painted rough timbers have been used to create a giant chimney that dwarfs the grey tile stove that van Hoff designed for Royal Tichelaar Makkum, launched in Milan this April. Sitting on the chimney is a shelf featuring six new glass crystal designs for Dutch manufacturer Royal Leerdam – two vases and bowls, cheese dome and jar; only fifty of each style have been produced and they are all different – the walnut handles are inserted while the glass is still being produced, forcing the glass to extend outwards towards the handle.

On simple tables in the painted wooden timber stand Van Hoff’s Office Series for Royal Tichelaar Makkum in ceramic featuring two lamps, clock, vase etc. His Ontwerpen furniture of two chairs and a sofa are made from solid oak with detachable leather covers. No room set would be complete without a painting - so here we have 'Dick van Hoff does Rembrandt' – a photograph taken in 1999 featuring packaged food; this print has been made especially for this exhibition.

“I knew of and had great respect for Dick's work with Droog and Royal Tichelaar Makkum, but only met him for the first time at a conference in Norway in 2008," continues Sellers. "We sat next each other at dinner and established a good immediate rapport. The idea to do an exhibition together was born that night but with no particular date decided for its presentation. As the year progressed September/October did seem a good time to launch the relationship as it offers the best of both sides of the industry - access to press and manufacturers during the Design Festival, then to potential clients and collectors during the art and design fairs in London in October.”

Dick van Hoff – Elements runs from 19 September to 18 October 2009
The Garage, North Terrace. South Kensington, London SW3 2B

Photography: Gideon Hart

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