Over the years, the pouring vessel has become one of Aldo Bakker’s most distinctive design typologies. The ever growing collection of objects is now on display at Kunstmuseum Den Haag (until 7 May 2023), highlighting the Dutch designer’s experimental approach to the medium.
Bakker calls these objects ‘schenkers’, a name he coined inspired by the Dutch word schenken, ambiguously meaning to gift, or to pour. ‘This double symbolic meaning is important, as there is more to Bakker’s schenkers than simply a carafe from which to serve water or wine,’ reads a note to accompany the exhibition.
The designer’s work is largely based on form, the starting point of his at times obscure creations. The 40 or so vessels on display look like experimental ways of containing, declined in several materials that range from silver to Japanese lacquer – reflecting Bakker’s desire to explore his designs’ material possibilities through collaboration with some of the world’s most skilled craftspeople and manufacturing partners.
Examples on display include a 2010 jug made of copper for Thomas Eyck, defined by a tube carrying out all of the object’s functions, from containing to holding to pouring. Also for Thomas Eyck is a soy pourer featuring a dramatic beak that enhances the gesture.
Part of a tea and coffee set designed for Puiforcat and titled ‘Fluidité’ is the Horn creamer, almost abstract in its shiny forms and merging precise lines with flowing curves.
The pieces in the exhibition demonstrate Bakker’s ability to translate his passion across several materials. The ‘Pot Variations’ collections for J Hill’s Standard feature variations of the same shape in different materials. The ‘HopStep’ containers, the designer explains, are ‘pots for holding precious liquids, be it wine, soy, sake or oil; or to use as an infusion chamber for teas and flowers’. The piece has been made by the designer in collaboration with the Irish company in blown glass, porcelain, crystal and stone.
‘Although ultimately just functional objects that have to meet a variety of technical and functional criteria, Bakker’s designs also stimulate the sensorial and imaginative capacities of their users and beholders,’ reads an essay by historian Ernst van Alphen written for the exhibition. ‘That is how each newly designed pouring vessel embodies a new feeling, a new imagination.’
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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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