While architecture, art and photography easily lend themselves to being represented in book form, product design does not translate quite as seamlessly. The challenge of preserving the tactility of three-dimensional objects on the flat page however, is something that 'Reproducing Scholten & Baijings' resolves expertly. Directed by textile purveyors Maharam and the first monograph of the Dutch design duo, the book is an insightful presentation of Scholten & Baijings' modus operandi, and goes far beyond being just a survey of their work.
The tome, which is published by Phaidon, is a stunning representation of Scholten & Baijing's thoughtful and detail-oriented working process. The pages have been designed by Joost Grootens, whom Maharam approached for his prowess at systemising visual information. Grootens, who has a particular affinity for atlases, tackled Scholten & Baijings' archives in a similar way. Filled with sketches, renderings, swatches and photographs from artisanal workshops, the book brims over with the same charm and grain that Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings impart in each one of their creations.
'The question of how it all comes together is the one most unanswered, and has been of interest to us for some time,' says Maharam's outgoing CEO Michael Maharam, who instigated the book project. 'This exercise provides detailed insight into the diversity of Scholten & Baijings' work and their very specific aesthetic language overlaid across varied products types and categories. But more importantly, it illustrates their hands-on approach from start to finish.'
With essays by design critic Louise Schouwenberg, including a dialogue with Michael Maharam on the topic of design patronage, the multi-dimensional book is the latest iteration of the Dutch duo's ongoing relationship with the textile house. Like Maharam's other relationships with creative powerhouses, such as Konstantin Grcic, Paul Smith and Hella Jongerius just to name a few, Scholten & Baijings have enjoyed the patronly support of Maharam over the years, with the book actually springing out of last year's collaboration on a textile collection entitled, Blocks and Grid.
In explaining the appeal of Scholten & Baijings' work, Maharam says, 'The term "collection" is used quite liberally to describe what, in fact, is often just a bunch of stuff. Building a collection with a clear linear narrative is a discipline which is not easily accomplished, but when done well, the result is immediately, viscerally evident.'
He adds, 'Apart from the quality, thoughtfulness and utility of their output, Carole and Stefan have succeeded in creating a highly legible and cohesive embodiment of their vision. This is their allure and why we relate so well to them, as we have sought to accomplish the same objective at Maharam.'