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History Repeats

Showing people that one person's junk is indeed another man's treasure, product designer Isabel Quiroga presents her latest pieces.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 10-02-2011

German-born, Holland-based designer Isabel Quiroga takes history as a starting point for her two latest designs; a bureau on wheels and a cabinet made of discarded parts.

The historical figure William of Orange forms the starting point of Lage Landen (Low Lands). The secretaire was borne from research by Quiroga into the history and lives of the Dutch - and William of Orange in particular. The dimensions of the MDF and oak wood construction refer to dates in the Prince's life such as 1533; the length of the table and William's date of birth. Quiroga: "Working with the dates was a lot like a puzzle that should eventually transform into a product. It's an object in which lies someone's life story."

Another quirky feature of the desk is it's resemblance to a wheelbarrow. "It's actually a wheel from an old bike," says the designer. "Because the Prince moved around a lot, I decided to make the object transportable. Products should be able to tell a story," and this one certainly does.

The first of a range of 'historical' Dutch furniture Quiroga explains: "I've made a list of various subjects I would like to explore further. By visiting museums, reading history books and watching films I hope to find interesting stories to inspire more pieces."

But it's not only the secretaire that is rooted in history, The Story Continues Chapter I and II are two new pieces part of the Storyteller series.  The collection started with a private commission in which a number of old tables were painted in contemporary colours and fixed to the wall to create an inventive shelving system. For The Story Continues disused pieces of furniture literally found on the street and in the rubbish, are given a new lease of life.

"Used objects have always fascinated me," Quiroga says. "It's because they have this used look that they have a certain appeal mass-produced furniture doesn't. Another reason I tend to work with old materials is to show people they shouldn't throw away stuff so easily. The irony is that 'garbage' can be transformed into unique pieces."

The cabinet is made from an old table and storage units that have been painted black to give a contemporary look. Recently shown at the Artemis Design Hotel in Amsterdam the pieces are generating quite some attention. "Because it's always a puzzle to find the right pieces and get them to fit together, I nearly didn't finish in time. You always hope to find that last piece of the puzzle standing on a street corner somewhere, then it's just a question of getting in home on the back of a bike!"

Click on the images to enlarge

Main image: Lage Landen
Other images top to bottom: 1. Lage Landen 2. Lage Landen 3.-4. The Story Continues Chapter II

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