Walking past the fantastical windows of department store the Bijenkorf in Amsterdam you may be transported to a playful world of precious time courtesy of Kiki van Eijk for Hermès.
Merry-go-round horses, all manner of circus artist, an array of clocks and a hidden white rabbit is what you’ll see when passing the Bijenkorf’s latest window displays.
Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk – known for her product designs and collaborations with big name brands and Joost van Bleiswijk – was asked to create a series of displays for luxury brand Hermès. Given carte blanche within the theme ‘the gift of time’, Van Eijk has created five designs which each tell a story.
“It was fantastic to receive this commission from such a special brand with a rich history which cares about quality, crafts, know-how, authenticity,” says Van Eijk about Hermès. At the same time she pinpoints exactly those features linking the designer and the brand. Both producing high-quality products which are handmade in private workshops, there are more similarities to Kiki van Eijk and Hemès than you may first think. “Both our brands aren’t fashionable for fashion’s sake; because of it’s design I can imagine you still want to wear an Hermès scarf in 20 years time. I too want to make things to keep for a long time –hopefully a lifetime!”
Van Eijk was asked to let her creativity loose on the theme ‘the gift of time’, a relevant subject in our ever-hectic daily lives. “I explored all kind of viewpoints on what time can be and how we treat it in our Western world. I really think time is a gift, something very precious. Contrary to what we’re used to I came up with the idea to juggle time, making it more playful and free.”
Never designing shop windows before, the designer sought out to tell a different story in each window based on the same theme. Creating almost autonomous installations, Van Eijk even integrated moving objects and her own watercolour paintings. She explains: “All the figures and backgrounds are painted in miniature and then blown up to big scale. I used to do these watercolours a lot when I was a child but didn’t do them for a long time since. This was the perfect occasion to start again.”
Thanks to the successful displays, we may even spot these watercolours in her future projects.
Finally, what message should passers-by get when viewing these beautiful window displays? “My message is about the preciousness of time expressed in a very light and playful way, but I also hope people will be inspired to look at Hermès products from a different perspective: to see the beauty of the details and quality and not only look at the price tag.” She adds: “I think it’s great to see we still have brands and companies which go for top quality, the same as I refuse to follow the demand of the general public and still want to make highly-crafted furniture and ceramics. It’s the only way to keep certain know-how alive in this world.”
The Window displays are on show until 25th March, 2012.
Photography: Frank Tielemans
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