Holland's hottest rising star
Unpretentious and raw, Sarah van Gameren is minus the gimmicks and jargon. Her work is about revealing the process and not just because it is fashionable or interesting, but because it is beautiful.
Sarah van Gameren left the Design Academy Eindhoven and headed straight to the Royal College of Art, where she graduated in 2007 with a project that garnered her an invigorating dose of early fame.
That piece, a meticulous chandelier made from string and wax, has since evolved with the help of funding from Fonds BKVB and a retired clockmaker who was the first person to tell Van Gameren that her drawings could be mechanically realized.
Part design object, part performance piece “Made By Big Dipper” is a chandelier-making mechanism. Like a clock, the mechanism turns a metal frame on an axis while dipping pieces of string into vats of hot candle wax. One cycle takes twelve hours and produces twenty-four chandeliers that burn for eight hours.
“Made By Big Dipper” has been exhibited around the world and reproduced close to five hundred times. Its beauty is that the process of creation is as magical as the final object.
“There is a real performance aspect to it,” Van Gameren says. “And I like that the spotlight focuses on two moments – that very satisfactory instant when something is happening as well as the final object.”
Van Gameren works with partner Tim Simpson in their London practice, Studio Glithero. Together, the designers are interested in process and organic materials, but unlike a lot of inside-out design where a premium is placed on novelty, Studio Glithero’s creations possess an honest beauty.
Their newest object, Les French, is another celebration of revealed process and organic materials. First they erected bamboo and rope scaffolding around a long storage volume, which is hand sculpted from treated, lightweight foam and covered in gum paper. “But it wasn’t very sturdy,” says Van Gameren. “So we decided to replace the cane with a metal.” The bamboo and rope were cast to create a mould and then burnt away. “It’s organic so it completely disintegrated," she says. Bronze was then poured into the remaining cavity to create a frame, which has a deceptively fragile appearance.
Currently exhibited in London’s newest design showroom Gallery Fumi, Les French has an unpretentious serenity about it; elegantly simple and never over-produced. The flap doors of the volume are secured shut by pieces of roughly wound string. The bumpy edges created by the bandaged gum paper remain visible. Rough and honest, and not just for the sake of it, but because Van Gameren truly believes that method is a thing of beauty.
Images: main, Les French and smaller The Big Dipper chandelier mechanism at work.
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