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Like Pastoe: 100 Years of Design Innovation

Opened last weekend at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal, Pastoe celebrates a century of furniture design.

By Katie Dominy / 28-02-2013

For the Utrecht-based company Pastoe the centenary festivities are not only concerned with looking back at their past, they are an opportunity to look forward to new concepts, such as the involvement of four designers, Konstantin Grcic, Naoto Fukasawa, Claudio Silvestrin and Scheltens&Abbenes, who have each created installations, with the assistance of the Pastoe workshops.

Last November spoke with curator Anne van der Zwaag about this project. At the time van der Zwaag was keen to stress that the historical aspect of the exhibition will be far from a dull chronological display, as with the help of Dutch visual artist Krijn de Koning, the Pastoe archive collection of special designs, publications, posters, sketches, models and photos is presented in new and surprising ways. In addition, the objects are displayed in three buildings inside the Kunsthal. These buildings have been designed by de Koning and architect Anne Holtrop especially for the exhibition, each with their own specific form, colour and atmosphere.

In addition, visitors can combine a trip to the exhibition with a tour of the Pastoe factory in Utrecht. spoke with Pastoe Director Remco van der Voort about the exhibition.

Can you tell me a little on the outcome of the exhibition - was it how you expected it?
“It is even better. In the exhibition the themes are mixed. The great thing is that old, current and new Pastoe go hand in hand and can be combined. The reason for this is the quality, craftsmanship and timelessness. The products have been made in the same factory for 100 years as well.”

The four designers who have created new work are the Italian architect Claudio Silverstrin who has created Proposition, a bookcase as sculptural object, while Konstantin Grcic has created Clouds, brilliant orange cabinets, Naoto Fukasawa minimal shelving called Outline and Scheltens&Abbenes a photo gallery entitled Pass Through.

Can you give us some feedback on the work created by the four designers?

“They are very inspiring for us. Konstantin Grcic’s project really sets us to reflect on the future of our craftsmanship. On the other hand it also shows how beautiful handwork can be. Naoto Fukasawa’s project is simply beautiful. We just have to fine-tune the aluminium extrusion. Claudio Silvestrin gave us a new perspective. His furniture as architecture shows what furniture can do with space. Scheltens&Abbenes visited our factory and took photos of products we see every day and don’t realise how special they are.

There is a strong educational aspect to the exhibition, especially with the workshop installation that allows visitors and students of all ages to learn about Pastoe and craftsmanship – both the traditional woodworking aspect and also modern digital techniques.

We asked van der Voort for more information about this aspect of the exhibition. “Visitors (children) can make small 3D Pastoe houses. There will be videos explaining the making process and showing how, for example, Konstantin’s project was made. They can influence the process by determining the material, colour, form and size of a piece of furniture and by visualising it in their own living environment using a 3D drawing program with an app. Most of all I think the whole exhibition offers lots of possibilities to engage with the products.”

What do you hope the public will take away from the exhibition, as a memory and experience?
“I hope they will be inspired and enjoyed the experience. And realise that beauty lies in their own home.”

Like Pastoe: 100 Years of Design Innovation (video) is supported by Premsela and  nai010 publishers and runs February 23 to June 02 2013 at the Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Main: Like Pastoe
1 Pass Through, Scheltens & Abbenes
2 Claudio Silvestrin & his work Proposition
3 Konstantin Grcic, photo of  & Remco van der Voort with Grcic's Clouds
4 Naoto Fukasawa & Outline
5 Birch furniture, Cees Braakman ca 1951


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