Stamtafel by Lotte van Laatum
One of Utrecht's elderly centres as part of a welfare organisation has been given a new home, but the volunteers initially had their reservations about the big move.
Portes is a welfare organization based in Utrecht, that aims provide a better quality of living for its inhabitants. An important part of the organization is the elderly centre which has recently been moved to a different location in the Vorstelijk (royal) complex. To somewhat ease the transition for the older members designer Lotte van Laatum was asked, in collaboration with some of the active volunteers, to design an object that holds memories of the past while also creating new ones. Van Laatum was a natural choice for the project due to her focus as a product designer on the context of the materials used, yet also the people they're designed for.
"The best thing about the project was getting to work with the volunteers and elderly people at the organisation," says Van Laatum. "Working with other groups is always inspiring, but it can be tricky to find a balance between the wishes of the patrons and your own ideas about design. Luckily here, everything went smoothly." While the volunteers at the centre played a big part in choosing form and subject, Van Laatum was given artistic freedom in the design.
A number of enthusiastic volunteers at Portes's elderly centre were asked to participate in the design process, resulting in the Stamtafel or genealogical table. The welfare centre lies at the heart of the organization and provides not only a meeting place for older community members, but also a place to participate in activities. The table for the activity room was a logical choice as it will act as a focal point, functioning as a spot where people can actively come together to talk, play games or even study.
Emphasising the various activities which can be undertaken at the centre, the table's form is loosely based on that of a photo frame. The table itself is made from sycamore wood, a reference to three trees that can be found at the entrance of the Vorstelijk complex, with a tabletop made of glass held to the base by white, aluminium clamps. On the underside of the glass is an image printed in white which features the silhouettes of the volunteers at work. Depicted are people playing pool and bowls, learning Dutch and Arabic, practising yoga, and having a meal together; a good representation of just some of the activities held at the centre.
A closer look at the illustration reveals a pattern of lines running through the picture, "these lines make up the façade of the former building in the Zuilen area, that used to house the centre,” explains Van Laatum. Another quirky detail is the stylized columns found in the tabletop, "these are an allusion to the coat of arms of Zuilen (literally columns), a neighbourhood each of the volunteers has a strong connection with." Although the initial glass tabletop broke just before its unveiling, the table is now in use at the centre. "It's a great sign that the elderly visitors are already making good use of the table."
Points of sale
( 4 Votes, average: 2 out of 5)
click to vote
- Amsterdam Fashion Week 2013
- Dutch Design Week 2012
- Milan 2012
- Amsterdam Fashion Week 2012
- Dutch Design Week 2011
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2010
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2011
- Dutch Design Week 2010
- Dutch Design Double 2010
- Milan 2010
- Design.nl 100th Issue Favourites
- Dutch Design Week 2009
- Dutch Design Double 2009
- Milan 2009
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2009
- Going Out - Restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs and hotels
- Graphic Design Festival 2008
- Dutch Design Week 2008
- Retail Therapy - Where to buy Dutch design
- FreeDesigndom 2008
- Milan 2008
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2008
- Design.nl Tokyo favourites