This year's focus at Object Rotterdam was on the international galleries, the likes of FAT (Paris), Helmrinderknecht (Berlin) and Mitterand + Cramer (Geneva) showcasing their latest designs.
The third edition of Object Rotterdam - the autonomous design fair part of the yearly Art Rotterdam event - kick-started on Wednesday with a preview in which some of the top art and design galleries vied for an audience. Adjacent to the art fair at the Cruise Terminal, Rotterdam's Las Palmas was the venue for the internationally oriented design event. Here, Richard Hutten's latest design the Zuiderzee chair was unveiled. The object was designed specially for the museum for which several generations of chairs formed the inspiration. The chair's buyer would get his or her name engraved into the backrest, marking and sealing the acquisition.
Although the fair had a more open-plan lay-out instead of seperate stands seen in previous editions, it seemed a little cramped. The usual suspects such as Joost van Bleiswijk, Kiki van Eijk, Studio Job and Studio Glithero, stood side-by-side at Vivid Gallery's stand. Close-by, international gallery Mitterand + Cramer showed their commissioned Grey Derivations by Maarten Baas, alongside an attention seeking show of spinning lampshades by Studio OÏ.
Various galleries showed jewellery by Dutch and international names, mostly presented in glass cases. Studio Ra, however, chose to present recent Rietveld Academy graduate Noon Pasama's work in a more original way, hanging her rather abstract take on 'badges' from the wall.
Amongst the Dutch galleries showing, well, mainly Dutch design, some international galleries were present at this edition of Object. The aforementioned Gallery Helmrinderknecht showing Wash house by Studio Makkink and Bey. "There are some new editions to the collection," said Martin Rinderknecht of the gallery. "The cabinet, stool and desk have been specially made to store the blankets. Their sizes corresponding to the dimensions of the folded blankets." But why show these works at Object? "It's our first time at the fair and it's a great way to get a new, international audience. Also we get to see lots of Dutch design!"
Another gallery owner keen to share her newest designs is Aurelia Lanson of FAT Gallerie in Paris. The bright pieces adorning the stand are from various designers (Raw Edges, Rodrigo Almeda and Julien Carretero amongst others) but seem to form a harmonious collection. "We are into colourful design at the moment, these are designers we have been working with for a few year now. Some, like Raw Edges, are currently exhibiting at the gallery." Lanson's take on Dutch design? "There's definitely a good vibe here at Object and it's a good way to see Dutch design. I don't like to generalize but I would say it is quite minimal, interesting what's happening in the Netherlands."
Aldo Bakker presented two new works at Particles gallery, his 3dwn1up stool described by the designer as "surprisingly comfortable even though it's made from only four pieces of wood", and porcelain cup and jug duo Hangover "which can take on two positions". His copper table decorations were on show courtesy of Thomas Eyck "This is the first time they are on show in the Netherlands," says owner Eyck. "Apart from at the Zuiderzeemuseum that is."
The knitting windmill by Merel Karhof will also soon be part of the Zuiderzeemuseum's temporary collection during the exhibition entitled NIJVERheden or INDUSTRIOUSartefacts. Karhof explains: "Basically the windmill is powered by the wind, it has a number of cogs and gears which transfer the wind energy to the knitting machine. The idea came from an exploration of wasted energy during my study at the RCA (Royal College of Art, London). Because it's so windy there, I thought why not make use of it." When a large amount of fabric has been knitted, it is then 'harvested' and made into separate scarves. "I colour the wool myself so that a pattern is created automatically by the machine."
A final mention goes to Priveekollektie, a Dutch gallery for contemporary art and design based in Heusden aan de Maas. Shown here is work by four-piece collective de Intuïtiefabriek (the intuition factory). All DAE (Design Academy Eindhoven) graduates, who bundled their pottery powers to create a landscape of tableware aptly named Metropolis. According to designer Eefiene Bolhuis the porcelain and earthenware pieces form 'buildings, flowers, bridges, valleys and ladders' on the table.
All-in-all Object Rotterdam gives a comprehensive overview of what's happeing in the limited edition end of Dutch Design. Although there are fewer new objects on show than expected, the selections made by the galleries don't disappoint. Because of the limited space available, objects were displayed in a rather conventional manner, letting them speak for themselves. Even so, those looking for a little more action would be well-advised to check out the satellite events surrounding Art and Object Rotterdam.
Click on the images to enlarge, images of fair will follow
Main image: Richard Hutten Zuiderzee Chair, photo: Rufus de Vries courtesy of Zuiderzeemuseum
Other images top to bottom: 1.Makkink and Bey at Helmrinderknecht, photo: Jelle Mollema 2. Raw Edges 3. Vivid Gallery 4. Noon Pasama 5. Wind Knitting Factory by Merel Karhof 6. Metropolis, photo: Ine van den Elsen
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