Object Rotterdam 2010 highlights
Object Rotterdam, now in its second year, is a show dedicated to ’autonomous design’. This is the term the organisers have coined to describe those limited edition objects and unique functional objects that have become known as ’Design Art’.
The most sensible label for the new - and until now, somewhat blurry - field of creativity that we’ve come across, the term sets the tone for the refreshing coherence and sensibility of Object Rotterdam.
Similar to both Design Miami and Pavilion of Art & Design London, Rotterdam is billed as a supplementary event to a more established art fair – in this case
However, while it may be similar in feel and size to both Miami and London (only 20 galleries are exhibited), Object Rotterdam is different in that the work on show is entirely contemporary.
Another reason for the coherence, perhaps, is that the majority of exhibitors hail from The Netherlands. Considering the current appeal of Dutch design - with the Design Academy Eindhoven churning out graduates to join the likes of Maarten Baas, Kiki van Eijk, Makkink & Bey and Scholten & Baijings – the show proved that while the physical landscape might be flat in this part of the world, the creative fields are anything but.
One star commission – created expressly for Object Rotterdam is Total Table Design - a commission by the Audax Textile Museum Tilburg. Travelling to Milan in April, Total Table have produced a series of designs fit for an entire table - from the tablecloths down to the teaspoons. Designers Kiki van Eijk and Scholten & Baijings have each developed entirely new ranges for cutlery (Royal VKB), crockery, table linen (the Textile Museum) and glassware (Royal Leerdam Crystal).
Van Eijk’s setting is based around the concept of slow food, featuring warm earthy tones and oversized imagery. Scholten & Baijings, by contrast, produced a concept which played on materials. ‘Paper Table’, for instance, sees folded cardboard models for the crockery realised in light grey, unglazed porcelain.
The show also offered the chance to catch the first view of the latest instalment of Maarten Baas’s Real Time project. A film, created with Zuiderzeemuseum, featuring four yellow coated beachgoers building a working clock from sand, as the tide ebbs and flows in the background.
Where Design Miami and Design Art London both rely heavily on 20th century investment pieces to pad out the newer work and guarantee sales, Object Rotterdam instead has a clear emphasis on contemporary jewellery.
Far from the finely crafted, fragile items you might see at Collect, these adornments would be just as at home on our walls as around our necks, and were a perfect complement to interiors items found elsewhere in the show. Galleries of particular note were Galerie Louise Smit; Galerie Ra; and the exceptional new Ted Noten designs at Galerie Rob Koudijs.
Two further designers of note include Rabih Hage, who exhibited his own designs with his eponymous gallery; and Marly Gommans, whose covetable furniture and fashion mix was available at Galerie Judy Straten.
Both mixed up their disciplines in a refreshing way: Rabih – a gallerist/interior designer/hotelier/entrepreneur - showed a number of pieces he had adapted to suit his latest ’Rough Luxe’ philosophy – involving in one instance stripping ancient lacquer from some old Chinese chairs
by sandblasting them and adding flat topped nails to the seat to produce a distressed aesthetic.
Marly, a recent graduate, displayed beautiful handmade dresses in felt and leather, which are sold alongside her furniture, ‘dressed’ in the same fabrics in the gallery.