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Same same but different

Maarten Baas played with the idea of passing time and standard uniqueness for his presentations in Milan.

By Jeanne Tan / 22-04-2009

From crockery to clocks to chairs, Maarten Baas launched three new collections in Milan this year.

On the opening morning of his 'Real Time' exhibition, Maarten Baas was fixing up the black curtains outside the gallery. The exhibition opened 10 minutes late, but well, that was to be excused given that the opening party finished pretty late the night before. 'Real Time' showed three movies made by Baas about counting time, housed in new clock prototypes. The time devices were animated in different ways, showing how time can be passed. In each movie, which is repeated in 12 hour loops, people literally move the time face. Three small TV screens show three different offices in Milan, New York and Shanghai and the person in each office moves the hands of a clock in their own way. The Milan video is filmed from a live theatre performance of one of the actors in the gallery space. The man is doing his job in an old, dusty office, wasting his time, while he manually moves the hands of a clock every minute.

Inside a grandfather clock, a person wipes away the hands of the clock every minute behind the screen. Sometimes you'll catch him yawn. And no, it's not Baas inside the clock. This grandfather clock is made in a limited edition of 3 pieces. Catch the preview of the clock below.

And in the last clock, street sweepers shape garbage into the hands of a clock, sweeping the hands to move every minute. Baas explains that he was fascinated by the constant and repetitive ritual of cleaning - you clean up a mess, then mess it up again, then have to clean it up again only to mess it up all over again....'Real Time' was made in collaboration with C’N’C Costume National and was shown in their Milan showroom. As a special project, Baas designed 2 limited edition T-shirts (100 pieces) for the fashion label, featuring illustrations of little men who stand beside his Clay Furniture and Sculpt Cupboard.

On the other side of the city at Established and Sons, Baas launched his second collaboration with the glamorous English design label. Entitled 'Standard Unique', his new hand-made chairs explore the idea of creating variations within a mass produced context. Using the basis of an archetypal Dutch chair, Baas literally drew five versions, each composed of 16 components. By interchanging the different parts, the combinations of the elements allow each chair to unique every time.

The sketchy quality of Baas 'style could also be seen in his ceramic tableware for new international design label Skitsch. For 'Haphazard Harmony' the pieces were based on intuitive little sketches from which the moulds for every single plate, cup, saucer, teapot etc was shaped by hand, in foam.

Main image: Maarten Baas and Alasdhair Willlis (CEO Established and Sons) standing infront of the Standard Unique chairs
Image: Standard Unique chairs, Established and Sons
Image: New York time
Image: Grandfather clock
Image: Sweeping clock
Image: Haphazard Harmony

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