'Hella Jongerius - Misfit', Rotterdam

Coloured vases (Series 3)' by Hella Jongerius for Royal Tichelaar Makkum,
(Image credit: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie)

'Coloured vases (Series 3)' by Hella Jongerius for Royal Tichelaar Makkum, 2010, on show at her 'Misfit' retrospective at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photograph by Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie

Hella Jongerius' (opens in new tab) furniture has often divided the design cognoscenti. But, whether you love the 'Frog' table or loathe it, there's no denying the artistry involved in its making.

Sculpted from French walnut wood with blue transparent enamel, the Frog table is one of a whole troop of eccentric creations by the Dutch designer on show at Rotterdam's Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (opens in new tab), including a series of 'Office Pets' and a 'Fox' mirror. Aptly named 'Misfit', the show encompasses Jongerius' entire oeuvre, but without chronology and giving no hierarchy to preparatory studies and finished products.

Jongerius began introducing individuality and imperfections into industrial manufacturing processes in the early 1990s, when she founded her own studio,

http://www.jongeriuslab.com/" target="_blank" >Jongeriuslab, in Rotterdam, and has long believed that the quality of craftsmanship is not visible in perfect products, but only in the 'misfits' that betray the hand of the maker. Whether a commercial product or a limited edition piece, there's a rebellious streak of fantasy that threads throughout her work, often with witty results.

Take her 'Office pets', a series of fabric characters - including a dragonfly, bird and a beetle - fashioned atop what looks like the swivelling base of an office chair. Created for Vitra (opens in new tab) and later Galerie Kreo (opens in new tab), these pieces connect the rational corporate world with the narrative world of fairy tales to extraordinary effect.

And, with the infamous Frog table, the decorative amphibian functions as an intermediary between user and product - a guest at the table who can't be ignored. It's a brilliantly confrontational way of presenting the power of decoration in design.

Also on show at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (opens in new tab) is Jongerius' new series of vases for Royal Tichelaar Makkum (opens in new tab). Each vase is used by Jongerius as a canvas, on which to experiment with colour, using a mix of classic mineral glaze recipes and modern chemical ones. Colour is another vital element to her oeuvre, around which the exhibition is organised.

Most of the works in the exhibition are displayed on the wall, which deliberately strips them of their normal functional context. In the museum, the visitor is cast as an observer rather than a user, which places the focus on the hidden meaning behind each design.

An existing vase is used as a canvas

The final designs are an experiment in colour, for which an existing vase is used as a canvas.

(Image credit: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie)

Series of colourful vase with industrial paints

Whereas the first two series employed industrial paints, this series uses a combination of historical mineral recipes and modern chemical glaze recipes. 

(Image credit: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie)

Swatch' table by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo

'Swatch' table by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2008. courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset,)

Frog' table from the 'Natura Design Magistra'

'Frog' table from the 'Natura Design Magistra' collection by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2009.courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

The 'Frog' table is made from French walnut wood and blue transparent enamel

The 'Frog' table is made from French walnut wood and blue transparent enamel.  courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

'Backpack' sofa and stool by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo

'Backpack' sofa and stool by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2007.  courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

Closeup of the 'Backpack' sofa.

Closeup of the 'Backpack' sofa. courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

Artificial vases' set from the 'Natura design magistra

'Artificial vases' set from the 'Natura design magistra' collection by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2009. courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

'Bird' from the 'Office Pet' series

'Bird' from the 'Office Pet' series by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2007. courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

Dragonfly' from the 'Office Pet' series by Hella Jongerius

'Dragonfly' from the 'Office Pet' series by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2007.  courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

Beetle' from the 'Office Pet' series

'Beetle' from the 'Office Pet' series by Hella Jongerius for Galerie Kreo, 2007.  courtesy of Galerie Kreo

(Image credit: Fabrice Gousset)

'Layers' by Hella Jongerius for Maharam

'Layers' by Hella Jongerius for Maharam, 2006

(Image credit: Hella Jongerius)

'Polder' sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra

'Polder' sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra, 2005

(Image credit: Hella Jongerius)

'Animal' bowl

'Animal' bowl by Hella Jongerius for Nymphenburg, 2004

(Image credit: Hella Jongerius)

'Long neck and groove' bottles

'Long neck and groove' bottles by Jongeriuslab, 2000. 

(Image credit: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie)

ADDRESS

Museumpark 18
3015 CX Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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