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Spin at ICFF in New York

Master student Daphne Zuilhof shows Spin stool as part of Konstfack’s Negative Space exhibition at ICFF New York

By Katie Dominy / 13-06-2013

Every year at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), the Schools section is hotly contested, with only 8 stands up for grabs. This May Konstfack from Stockholm has one of the golden tickets and takes to New York ten Master students in Industrial Design, including Dutch designer Daphne Zuilhof.

The theme of the exhibition is Negative Space and we asked Daphne Zuilhof how she came up with her project Spin, a collapsible stool whose name comes from the Dutch for ‘Spider’

“I am interested in the interaction between person and product. I like to get people actively involved and give them the means to create new experiences. Spin is an object that explores the framing of a space. How can the unfolding movement of the shape influence the complete experience of the space in and around the object. The inspiration for Spin is in this shift, in this transformation. The choreography from a compact to an open shape was actually explored before I decided to develop the concept into a stool.

“I work very exploratively, I think with the materials in my hands. For Spin I first made a large series of scale models and after that I also made multiple versions of full-scale models.

“Making Spin work was actually quite a struggle, but a good struggle if that makes sense. Spin is made of ash wood, Valchromat (a material made of woodchips, natural resin and natural dyes) cotton straps and wood glue. Spin has this tension between the natural materials that have their own will and the precision the mechanism strives for. In the end they manage to meet and perform one fluent movement while still having their own friendly character.”

Continuing the theme of interaction between a person and an object, Zuilhof has also created the Quint lamp. 

“In this case I wanted to make a very open piece that people can interact with. Several combinations of shapes are possible so you can adapt it to the space and the setting you are in. The process of constructing the lamp is both enjoyable as well as demanding some effort; this combination makes it possible to really engage in the activity and start exploring.

“For both pieces my own fascination with the simple magic created by combining logic and form has also been a big influence. Discovering these possibilities while working with shapes is simply a joy and something I hope others can experience through the interaction with the objects.”

Can you tell us a little of your background? Where did you study before Konstfack?

“Originally I am from Amsterdam but I did my bachelor studies in Eindhoven; I studied Industrial Design at the Technical University there. The education I had during my bachelor is very unique. The education is built around the idea of competency-centred learning; you write your own development plan at the start of the semester and choose courses and projects to help work toward your own set of goals. The ID faculty has

several research groups and the teachers cover a large scope from design practitioners, design researchers, or experts based in other disciplines.”

How would you describe the difference in teaching between the Netherlands and being in Sweden at Konstfack?

“Konstfack and the TU/e are two different worlds completely. While first my neighbouring faculties were, for example, physics and engineering, here we have faculties such as jewellery and textiles. Where the technicians at the TU/e can teach you to solder and program software, at Konstfack traditional crafts are far more alive. That is what I enjoy a lot about it actually, learning to approach design from such different angles.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

“During this master I am discovering the place within design I want to be, after that I will find where I need to be to develop further. My dream would be to start a collaboration, like a small design studio, with like-minded creatives from different backgrounds.”

Spin was shown as part of Negative Space by Konstfack at ICFF from May 18-21 at the Javits Convention Center, New York

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