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The common sense of Ineke Hans

Giving a glimpse into her thoughts, MIND-SETS places Ineke Hans' designs in a broader context of historical and contemporary objects collected from museums in Arnhem and the designer's home and studio.

By Jeanne Tan / 07-07-2010

Currently showing at the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, the exhibition MIND-SETS presents the work of Arnhem designer Ineke Hans in the wider context of historical objects and contemporary design. 

Divided into the themes Communication, Potential Use, Evolution, Material World, Intentions, Common Sense, Fixers & Solvers, Functional Fun and Get Real, the exhibition shows the very human aspect of Hans' work. spoke to Ineke Hans about her inspiration behind the exhibition and her opinions about the role of the designer today.

What inspired you to think about organising/presenting the exhibition in this way?
When asked to do this exhibition I was not interested to make an overview of Ineke Hans 1999, 2000, 2001 etc, but I wanted to make something that would also be interesting to ME.
I decided to make an exhibition on design and my thoughts around subjects in design that matter to me. I illustrate these thoughts with items from different museums in Arnhem and objects from my home and studio. This way I can show my work among things that interest me and place my work in a broader context. The exhibition flows into the museum cafe where my work is not on a pedestal but can also be used.

When you were setting up the exhibition and preparing all the pieces, were there any objects (both designed by you and inspiration objects) that triggered forgotten memories?
The objects I show tell a story on design. They have not been the starting points of my designs. It is not that direct. However there are some objects that are very dear to me, like the simple chair from Het Nederlands Openluchtmuseum. It is not the folkloristic looks of it, but the basic intentions that were the reason for how these kind of objects came about. A problem needed to be solved. The maker used common sense and did not bother about a 'design-sauce.'

How did your sources of inspiration change over time?
As a designer, my personal interests have moved to things that are more complex than when I started off: making products with more to them than just looks, having also social and historical context, using production techniques in an intelligent way, and having qualities for a commercial life. I feel a bit like a juggler who is trying to keep more balls up every year: combining my personal drives with the complexity of mass-produced industry or big architectural commissions.
I am interested in the way design has developed. Before design became a global thing as it is now we also dealt with solving the problems in the world around us. I absolutely think we have to move forward, but I sometimes would like the attitude in design to be more human and based on common sense again.

Tell us a little about your how you see the role of the designer today and how this is reflected in your practice.
The effect of this way of presenting is that my work is relating to the real world. In design, it seems to be forgotten that we are dealing with objects we can use and not with just objects of art. There is more to it than that.
As a designer, you are a technician, poet, psychologist, artist, anthropologist and consumer at the same time, dealing with old and brand new materials and techniques, and social habits that change all the time.
You could also say that we live in a world where we do not really need anything anymore, so as designers we have to make sure that we are innovative.
The last five years, I have consciously started to work more with industry. The reality hits even more here and it lures with many boundary conditions to get a grip on while staying tuned with my personal interests. Innovation and re-thinking of existing human values have become the most important triggers to design industrial products with a human touch.

Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
The exhibition MIND-SETS will go to London in autumn and be on show at Aram Gallery. Also this autumn there are major introductions planned of new products we designed for Ahrend and van Esch at Orgatec and Kortrijk. We are currently working on interiors for the new headquarters of Rabobank Nederland and preparing new work for seven international design companies.

MIND-SETS: Ineke Hans
Museum of Modern Art Arnhem
27 June until 5 September 2010

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