Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk present PHYSICAL, an ambitious autonomous exhibition at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, including over 30 new works in five separate collections. Taking place at a beautiful modernistic theatre space in the Isola District, the designers have looked at ways in which to explore design in a physical way. Using physics, as a starting point: exploring nature’s balance, motion, warmth, light, electricity and construction, both designers have taken diverse routes of research.
The theme for PHYSICAL also refers to material in a tangible sense. As society is increasingly entrenched in the digital world, for Kiki and Joost, their roles as designers becomes more important. The quest to give shape and substance to an object is a large responsibility. The result is a series of new works from both designers, with each collection consisting of beautiful handcrafted objects.
The first of Kiki’s collections is Physical Interaction, a series of three light sculptures that highlight her passion for fusing handcraft with high tech. The wonder of a child playing has proved powerful inspiration for this piece; she took this movement into account when deciding how to illuminate the lamps. She made the switch interactive, such as blowing on a mobile, lighting a flint, covering a part with your hand to activate the dimmer or off-°©‐switch rather than using a traditional method.
Kiki’s second collection is Conversation Piece, a round table sculpture meant to question the values and worth of product industry and craft by reimagining the Dutch custom of round-°©‐table discussions. Designed in walnut, bronze, and faux marble, the sculpture includes a chair smashing through a beautiful, veneered table with purposefully unexciting desk lighting. With the piece, Kiki is asking, “Do we wonder if everything is wrong, nothing is right and everything is twisted?”
Depicted as a collection of bronze objects, her third presentation, Civilised Primitives, is a conversation about the present value of survival. Focusing on essence and origin, Kiki has looked to survival methods, which encourage inventiveness and joy in nature when combined with the basic forms that man has created: the circle, square, and triangle. The series includes an A-°©‐frame daybed, desk, candleholder, mirror, clock, desk light, curved lamp, and table lamp.
Joost presents Meccanic Constructions, a collection that draws inspiration from the model construction method Meccano, loved by children. In creating a series of hand-°©‐cut elements, which function as construction pieces, Joost ensures everything has both a functional and structural value. The presentation, made up of a coffee table, vertical lamp, shade XL and a cabinet, shows an improvised and spontaneous method of building that feels reminiscent of the structures one discovers in a physical and natural way of constructing. Joost continually added new elements to satisfy the build of each object, giving each piece a feeling of a natural and evolving physical growth.
Joost’s second collection, The Protopunk, was created from a completely improvised outcome of blow-°©‐torched pieces of flat metal, made without moulds, detailed drawings or even defined ideas. The pieces, comprised of thick cuts of steel, were roughly cut with the torch, welded together and then painted black and white. This aesthetic makes the works, a Jack table, clock, little lamp, standing lamp and key cabinet, sideboard, sidetable, chess table, chess set, pendant light, vase, stationary set, dresser become combative-°©‐looking, strong characters. The sensation is punk-°©‐like in its powerful, handmade, one-°©‐off roughness.
“Researching, experiencing and creating with your own hands is the best way to gather knowledge. This is the reason why babies from nature already experiment with physical principles. They obviously feel a need to play with physical things and are not able to live in a purely virtual world. The physical act may be very present in the final result and actual existence of objects in an exponential growing virtual world.” Kiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleiswijk, April 2016
The exhibition is supported by a series of watercolour paintings by Kiki, which will give the visitor more insight into the designers’ practice and inspiration. Photographed by Mariëlle Leenders and printed by Exposize, the smaller versions are also available as wallpapers.
Find more about DUTCH DESIGN ISOLA
ABOUT KIKI VAN EIJK
Kiki van Eijk was born in 1978 and graduated Cum Laude in 2000 from Design Academy Eindhoven. Her nostalgic approach combined with her poetic and personal style comes to life in a wide range of work like carpets, lighting, furniture, ceramics, glassware and luxurious textiles. By combining old and new techniques on unexpected objects, Kiki surprises and delights her audience. Along with her own collections, she works on projects for companies and institutions such as MOOOI, Häagen-ˇ‐Dazs, Serax, Bernhardt Design, Venice Projects, Hermès, Saint-°©‐Louis, Nodus, Omnidecor, La Montre Hermès, Rijksmuseum, 1882 Ltdand private collectors. Her work is published and sold worldwide.
ABOUT JOOST VAN BLEISWIJK
Joost van Bleiswijk was born in Delft, Netherlands in 1976. He graduated from design school in 2001, and developed his signature ‘no glue no screw’ collection, for which he is best known. These collections evolve each year, becoming more complicated, interesting, and architectural. Along with his own collections, he has worked for companies such as Ahrend, Bruut Furniture, Design Connection, Lebesque, Secondome, Moooi, and Rijksmuseum etc. His work has been exhibited in international galleries such as Moss and Vivid, along with museums such as Holon Design Museum and Zuiderzeemuseum.