August 13, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Nothing is impossible.

In 2017, Bob Elzen had the role of strategic marketing director for the Busines unit  Interiors &Transportation within Low & Bonar. His function comprised an inquiry into the current as well as future market activities of the company. It is from this position that the In4nite Project has been conceived, initiated and realised. This year, In4nite will be participating for a second time in the Dutch Design Week. At present, Bob has taken up the role of segment leader within Automotive at Low & Bonar, carrying responsibility over every aspect that concerns the automobile department. Additionally, he is also still strongly involved with the In4nite Project.

What does In4nite mean to him? In which achievements does he take most pride? And how does he view the company’s collaboration with the designers?

What is your current role within the In4nite Project?

The best way to describe my position at In4nite would be that of a supervisor. I spend a lot of time sparring with Soon Joo (current project leader) about the process and planning, and I provide behind-the-scenes support. For instance, I secure the contracts and main agreements with our various locations and partners. I also safeguard the planning, and I was involved in the selection process of the designers.

What inspired you to initiate In4nite, and how did you select the current collection of designers?

The composition of this group of designers occurred by happenstance. I know several designers personally, from private circles. Last year, when we began to renovate our home, I contacted a couple of these designers. Upon entering the HE Building, it first occurred to me how they work, what they’re capable of, and how the process of designing unfolds. I permitted myself to ask: “What if we were to provide you with materials: how would you use it?” Following many enthusiastic responses, the potential of this idea rapidly spread throughout the building.

Slowly but steadily, from what commenced as an open question and a vague plan, increasingly concrete plans and designs emerged. These designs turned out to be so interesting that we felt compelled to make them known to a wider public — resulting into a fantastic presentation at Dutch Design Week. We’d had our very first meeting in March, and already in October we presented the exquisite outcomes at Dutch Design Week.

Where did the name ‘In4nite’ originate from?

The name, ‘In4nite’, sprung forth from the idea that the world is in a state of transformation, value chains are changing, and so do our clients. In4nite represents the future and the boundless possibilities of our technical skills and our materials.

We are standing at the brink of a fourth revolution, and yet, many companies do not seem to be aware of this, let alone manage to actively engage in the process. As a matter of fact, I dare to profess that we are already in the midst of it. Just think about everything that is changing around us: the inquiries into new value chains,  the urgent need to solve pressing issues such as climate change and the incessant desire for new kinds of materials.

As a company that produces such cutting-edge materials, it is imperative for us to understand what these new value chains might look like in the future. This piques the question: ‘How?’ How can we positively influence Product Design and channels of distribution that impact these value chains? I believe that an open attitude and a dedicated propensity to innovation form a solid base for our future.

In this sense, In4nite mirrors our present-day market and product combinations; In4nite began as an experiment, set into motion by the desire and necessity to unlock new possibilities for Low & Bonar. The thought that innovative designs and deep understanding of applications become more readily available through collaborations with designers is rooted in this.

What purpose does In4nite serve?

In evaluating the first edition if the In4nite Project, we grappled with the question: “What exactly is In4nite? What have we created with In4nite?” We came to the conclusion that In4nite functions as our ideation platform — at the advent of any innovation or development, the first step is ideation. It denotes a phase of unlimited ideas and imagination, which can eventually be converted into tangible product development, step by step. The ideation phase ideally generates as many new ideas and potential applications as possible.

By disseminating clearly who we are and what we do, we demonstrate our aptitude for innovation and change. In4nite testifies to the fact that as a company, we are capable to not only think out of the box, but also act out of the box; in taking on novel forms of collaboration, and taking serious our research into new chains of value. To underline this fact, we constructed a theatre that functioned as a platform for discourse and knowledge exchange during the presentation of In4nite I at Dutch Design Week. ‘Materials and the Future’ formed the principal topic for discussion.

The main purpose of this additional programme was to foster a continuous dialogue between our customers, designers, and existing institutional knowledge. As such, In4nite operates as a platform that supports open discussion in considering the ways in which materials can be applied, as well as questioning how we can bridge the gaps surrounding communication, knowledge exchange, and access to knowledge.

 

 

"In4nite proves to me what I actually already knew: nothing is impossible. I simply don’t believe in limitations. With In4nite, a stone was cast into the pond — the magnitude of its ripples are becoming apparent only now."

 

 

How does In4nite II differ from its predecessor?

This year, we want to pay more attention to the functionality of the material. In the previous edition, each of the designers have already had their share in this field of research; think about the exploration of Colback’s acoustic qualities; but also that of its strength, lightness and transparency. These fall in line with the functionalities that we’re interested in, as there is an added value to functional significance. For the forthcoming edition, we’d like to see the diverse qualities of our technologies highlighted in the final designs.

There is also a strategic element to the composition of this years’ group of designers and public presentation; the participants that will exhibit at Dutch Design Week have been selected for their professionality, their entrepreneurial experience, as well as their distinct fields of expertise. Participants are active within the fields of product design, graphic design, as well as industrial design. Consider MinusplusMinus, for example; I expect that their modes of presentation will allow us to develop our own techniques into an unprecedented digital direction.

The structure and general set up of In4nite II shall attend more to our target markets, allowing us to emphasize what is the essence of our expertise. We are, all in all, a technological company. By collaborating with designers and their respective fields of knowledge, we are offered the opportunity to shed light on the technologies that are responsible for our products.

Looking back at In4nite I, what are you most proud of?

It required incredible amounts of organisation to get everyone — the designers, Low & Bonar, and third party participants — on the same page; but finally this turned out splendidly. We really managed to make the most of it. The most satisfying moment is to meander at the opening, drink in hand, and oversee how the show simply unfolds; then realising that it is just right, it simply works.

As a company, we can take pride in what we have accomplished; also having provided me with the liberty to undertake this endeavour. I am proud of the designers, who really have buckled down in order to make this happen. I absolutely want to emphasize the fact that the designers are the heroes of this project. This includes last years’ designers who will not participate in In4nite II, whom we still support with materials, technical knowledge and our expansive network.

The first edition of In4nite and its subsequent presentation at the Dutch Design Week, marks the very birth of our platform. The attention that was generated for the designers and the designs has thus far not yet halted, as a matter of fact, it seems to only increase. Just recently we were featured in the KLM magazine, as well as in the Financial Times and Mint. We receive invitations to participate in design shows from London to Dubai. Attention from the design industry aside, it remains a source of joy to present our clients with the brochure that was printed last year, and to really talk about innovation for once.

In4nite proves to me what I actually already knew: nothing is impossible. I simply don’t believe in limitations. With In4nite, a stone was cast into the pond — the magnitude of its ripples are becoming apparent only now.

August 7, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Design process – Joris de Groot

Last year, Studio Joris de Groot garnered a great deal of attention with his colourful Colback design; the Pleated Seat. Still today, Joris often receives recognition from the press —his design was featured in the Financieel Dagblad ( Dutch newspaper) just last July. For the Pleated Seat collection, Studio Joris de Groot gathered inspiration from the production processes of air filters, a product partly made of Colback. Triggered by the construction of filters — which consist of various layers and materials — Joris commenced his research with the aim of designing a new product. This year, his research departs once again from existing technical applications of the Colback material, from which he will draw new possibilities that combine functionality and aesthetic quality.

Joris: Existent Colback products form the base of my design process for In4nite II. I have carefully examined the products that are already being manufactured from the Colback material. Learning to understand the technology behind each product offers me gateways into exciting new manners to apply the material.

One of the current uses for Colback is its implementation in the automotive industry, where it is incorporated into the upholstery of car interiors. This I find a fascinating fact. I am currently looking at the various stages of production that precede the final upholstery; particularly the tufted and moulded elements of the car interior and the carpeting of the car hold my interest.

I searched for a company that produces tufting machinery in order to learn more about the technology. I discovered a company that specializes in tufting. They also run an additional research centre, where different tufting techniques are thoroughly investigated.

Moulding Material

After tufting the Colback, attention is drawn to the moulding of the material, to examine the ways in which the material behaves in car interiors. The moulding is outsourced to another factory, who I will also pay a visit in order to better understand its process and possibilities.

The moulds that are used for this moulding process are extremely valuable and highly specific; simply creating one such mould is a project in its very own right. For this reason, I have inquired what might be momentarily available in terms of these moulds. Which moulds already exist, and what purpose do they serve? Thusly, I have acquired a test mould that belongs to Low & Bonar.

This test mould has been developed in order to minimize irregularities within the interior. However, I’d be interested to play with these irregularities. For example; by adding graphics to the material; by making the Colback visible in certain places; or by tufting the material at divergent heights. It is precisely these details and irregularities that I would like to emphasize because it reveals the techniques and the materials behind the design.

Take a simple linear pattern, for example. If you were to tuft and subsequently mould such material, the lines would become distorted, which in turn highlights other details. Linear patterns thus emphasise distortion. I also want to investigate the effects of tufting at different heights; when the tufting is quite low, surface colours bend and reveal the colours below. It could also be that I decide to make the Colback itself visible precisely in those spots.

 

One of the current uses for Colback is its implementation in the automotive industry, where it is incorporated into the upholstery of car interiors. This I find a fascinating fact.- Joris de Groot

 

The factory as point of origin

As my way of working as designer is always in close collaboration within the industry, I have already visited several manufacturers with whom I will collaborate for certain. It is important to me to mirror the steps within the production process in the final presentation. In that sense, graphic lineation plays a part in this, too, as it exposes the moulding process. Other details come to mind as well; For the finishing of the product I am inspired by a car mats manufacturer, which I recently visited. The various techniques that are applied in the manufacturing of car interiors thus return in the final design.

At the moment I cannot say with certainty what my final design will look like — perhaps it will turn out entirely different from what I imagined. Naturally, this depends largely on what I encounter during factory visits; I’d like to see what else they have in store. And although these visits take up ample time, I find them invaluable. They allow me to follow the production processes from start to finish. Whilst attempting to memorize details of conversations that are had during these tours, I simultaneously try to keep my imagination active. It has the potential to generate brand new trains of thought that might inspire the company to re-evaluate their production processes.

Showing one’s true colours

After the scheduled visits, I must commit to creating samples as quickly as possible. The first step would be to tuft the Colback, and roll in onto a spool. Next, I would examine the functional- and aesthetic details of the material after using different techniques and I shall design a model contingent upon the outcomes. Considering the limited time, I am certain this will prove to be quite a challenge.

This year’s colour scheme will slightly differ from the previous year. Last year, I used filters as my source of inspiration; their colours were so dazzling that they could be directly applied to the final design of the chair. This year will be trickier, because generally speaking, colour schemes of car interiors are all but pronounced; especially the carpeting. Therefore, I think I will introduce  a new selection of colours. Or perhaps I will resort to the standard colour scheme, but employ conspicuous patterns and combinations which would underline the shapes of the material; contrasting blacks and whites, for example.

I’ve also been on the hunt for assorted car industry yarn — however, this proves to be difficult because of its specificity. Usually, yarn is produced in the colours grey, beige or black.

July 17, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Look, matter, last – Introducing designer Marc Meijers

Marc Meijers, founder and owner of design studio MMD Design Innovation, is known among other things for having developed a spectacular method to repurpose discarded and surplus jeans materials. The result is a high-grade, state-of-the-art material: DenimXIn a nutshell: Meijers concocted the DenimX recipe, which combines recycled jeans fibres with bio-based plastics. With this composite material, three-dimensional products can be created. Trendy, solid and sophisticated. DenimX is quirky, a bit rebellious, authentic and certainly extraordinary. DenimX products do not only inspire through intelligent design, meticulous craftsmanship, and application in a wide variety of industries; they also contribute to a more sustainable environment.

This year, Marc Meijers will be one of seven participating designers in the forthcoming second edition of In4nite. His work will be presented during Dutch Design Week 2018.

 

A brief Q & A

 

By way of introduction; who are you as a designer? And who are you besides your profession?

Developing innovative, well-made, and sustainable products is where my passion lies. The design studio’s leitmotiv; LOOK, MATTER, LAST, is coined this way for a reason. Notably, the word matter (as in: mattering; significance) acts as a representative for the value of a product, in my view. Innovation is all but an easy road, the process of which generally follows a pattern of three steps forward, two steps back. Personally, I am often distinguished by my passionate nature, my level of engagement and an intense character. I vivaciously take up challenges — for example, I have run the marathon eight-fold, and recently climbed Mont Ventoux.

How long have you worked as a designer, and what brought you to engage in this profession? Do you hold any particular specialisation?

Working as a designer offers what I consider to be an ideal combination of requirements; technical skills; creativity; conceptual thinking; and ingenuity. One essential aspect of quality design is bridging the gap between the rational and the emotional, and balancing these out. In short; talent, knowledge and commitment is called for in a variety of fields and on a number of levels — this matches my disposition and character. Today, having actively worked as a professional industrial designer for twenty-five years, our studio has delivered commercially successful designs and concepts to numerous companies of all shapes and sizes, each product incorporating the aforementioned equilibrium in design and technique. Furthermore, I am engaged as a specialist in smart upcycling for the last six years. This amounts to the conversion of surplus textiles into high-grade, composite materials with added value. The company that has resulted from this is DenimX.

What is your background in terms of studies?

I studied Industrial Design at the Technical University of Delft, where I graduated in 1992 with the design of an interactive and publicly accessible information system for Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

What did you do after your studies?

I founded my own design studio, MMD Design Innovation, in Maastricht almost immediately after graduating.

How did you get involved with In4Nite?

I was approached by Soon Joo Bovenschen, who works with Low & Bonar. They were looking to expand the range of designers who had already confirmed participation in the In4nite project. Due to my specific background, experience and technical knowledge, my role can be viewed as complimentary to the other designers, who each boast a rich variety of qualities.

Marterial research Colback by Marc Meijers

What made you decide to participate?

The open structure of In4nite makes it an engaging initiative; it offers an appealing platform (Dutch Design Week) and leads to new networks and connections. At the same time, I enjoy the challenge of working with a designated material; to probe its possibilities and limitations.

Have you worked with companies in the past? If so, how did this take shape, and what function did you or your studio fulfil in the collaboration?

Essentially, we work exclusively for and in collaboration with companies. In most cases, we supply concept design, engineering, prototyping, and the configuration for series- or mass-production. This not only requires extensive knowledge of processing, production techniques and materials — but also sharp insight into marketing, commerce and sales.

With what kind of materials do you prefer to work?

As mentioned, my proficiency lies in the application of composite materials, textiles and synthetics. But also wood, steel, glass and ceramics have my attention — especially when the opportunity arises to create a synergetic combination of materials, allowing for optimal utilization of each material’s advantages.

What is your take on non-woven materials? Have you worked with these before?

With DeminX, we constantly employ non-woven textiles. The processing of the material might vary after production, but I am well aware of its production methods and the remarkable possibilities this offers.

What do you think of the Colback material?

Next to an aesthetic quality, Colback presents excellent opportunities to make use of its clear-cut functional features, which offers another range of possibilities to demonstrate the versatility of the material.

In this project, what do you consider your biggest challenge? How will you approach that?

For this project, the aim is to devise an attractive design that combines the aesthetic appearance of the Colback material with its outstanding tensile strength. The product should amount to an impeccable expression of the previously mentioned balance between technique and design, the rational and the emotional.

When you begin a design process, what does that look like for you? Do you make sketches; go into deliberation; or engage in theoretical research? Please tell us more.

First of all, it requires somewhat of a mental jump to create something from nothing; to arrive to a concept design that incorporates all the basic points of departure. It starts with getting to know the material; deepening your knowledge of the assignment; researching reference products; and initiating a few material tests.

What are your expectations of Low & Bonar in this process?

I anticipate Low & Bonar to act as the initiator, facilitator and instigator of the project. They will see to the procedures, materials, communication and publicity, by means of which they can offer the designers a platform that allows them to excel, without having to carry the burden of commercial and financial restrictions. Innovation and progress requires an open mind, after all, alongside an incredible drive and passion.

What do you hope to gain from your participation in In4nite as a designer or as a studio?

In an alluring and innovative design, I aspire to expose unique possibilities of Colback that have not yet occurred to Low & Bonar, or their customers, markets and designers.

July 9, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Carefully balancing aesthetics with functionality – Introducing Daphna Laurens

 Photo by Mike Roelofs

Design studio Daphna Laurens spawns the unification of designers Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf (1982) and Laurens Manders (1984). As graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven (in 2006 and 2008, respectively), their combined scope ranges from bespoke items to carefully crafted interior designs. Without question, their forte lies in the fabrication of objects and products.

Initially they put their efforts into creating the designs and layouts for exhibitions, first commissioned by former director of the Design Academy, Lidewij Edelkoort. Daphna Laurens are responsible for a great number of her exhibition installations, such as the Glass exhibition; Archeology of the Future; and the Talent exhibition. In late 2009, Wendy Plomp invited Daphna Laurens for an exhibition in Milan. This proved to be their first in a series of shows, now known as the Dutch Invertuals. Daphna Laurens continued to make exhibitions for Plomp, whilst simultaneously commencing on their first range of product designs. By the start of 2010, Daphna Laurens launched their very first designer object, and with great success. ‘Tafelstukken’ (transl. ‘Table Pieces’) comprises a series of lamps made from wood and porcelain. Having been awarded the DMY award after presenting the work at multiple design fairs and exhibitions, it came as no surprise when the design was welcomed into the now world famous Cappellini Collection in 2011.

Today, Daphna Laurens have designed a wide array of products, ranging from paperclips to folding curtains, and glass carafes to exhibitions. Their work has been presented by Gallerie Gosserez; Mint Gallery; Gallery S. Bensimon; and Křehký gallery, among others. Alongside an honourable place within the Cappellini Collection, their work has been added to the collections of Areaware; Label Vij5; Nationaal Glasmuseum Leerdam; Monoprix; and Jasno.

Carefully balancing aesthetics with functionality, design studio Daphna Laurens creates poetic objects as well as industrial products. With much attention to detail, priority is given to the quality of the design. “We really like the Dutch word for designer (‘vormgever’ — literally translates to ‘form-giver’), because it describes exactly what we do; giving shape to ideas, objects, product and spaces.”

Daphna Laurens applies a variety of methods to achieve their designs, largely depending on the assignment. However, one thing that characterizes the studio is the playful and intuitive approach that is wielded in the designing process. More often than once, their techniques have been compared to those of the surrealists or Les Automatistes, who employed automatic writing and drawing to create forms, texts and shapes that the rational mind is not capable of generating. Often times, this leads to hundreds of drawings and collages of a similar style, from which the most interesting images are selected and cultivated. By associating freely, the images are likened to recognisable forms, such as the side view of a chair, or a birds-eye view of a stool, for example. The results of this method have often led to nice surprises, as in the case of the studio’s signature paperclip.

Daphna Laurens creates unique products in carefully chosen materials and colour schemes, that stand out due to their simplicity and excellent finish.

A brief Q & A:

Who is Daphna Laurens?

We are Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders, and together we are Daphna Laurens.

When was Daphna Laurens conceived? And what brought the two of you together?

Daphna Laurens came into being gradually and naturally — its conception was effortless and never needed a second thought. We’ve been working under the moniker Daphna Laurens since 2012, but in reality we have worked together since 2008. Back then, when we just started out, each of us still used our own name for our businesses. By late 2011, we thought it was time for us to find an affiliated name. We decided on Daphna Laurens due to a chance encounter; an online image of our work was captioned under this name. As such, we co-opted someone else’s mistake as our company name.

Where lies your focus in the commissions you receive and the designs you bring forth? What is the mission and vision of studio Daphna Laurens?

Ultimately, we want to create beautiful, compelling and sustainable products which are cherished by their owners and therefore kept for a long time. In the case of designing exhibitions or interiors we wish to generate a positive effect on the visitors, and to inspire or amaze them.

What are your backgrounds in terms of studies and (working) experiences?

Daphna was born in Colombia and raised in Wageningen. She graduated from the Design Academy in 2006 and has lived in Eindhoven since commencing her studies there, not counting a brief intermezzo of living in Amsterdam for 1,5 years after graduation.

Laurens was born in Eindhoven and raised in Best. He graduated from the Design Academy in 2008 and has also lived in Eindhoven since the beginning of his studies.

Generally speaking, what materials have your preference, and why? Where lies your expertise and focus in terms of materials and techniques?

As a rule, we don’t pick our materials until we have completed a design. But generally speaking there is a tendency towards natural materials such as wood and metal. This isn’t necessarily a preference as much as it is a practicality.

Why did you choose to participate In4nite?

We really like to work together with large-scale companies. What we bear in design skills, we lack in technical abilities. Therefore, it is a wonderful opportunity to work with somebody who has an abundance of knowledge in this field.

What will be your approach for this project? Sketches, deliberations, research?

This will most likely be a process of trial and error; testing the material in various production methods and learning more about its qualities. Once we know more, we’ll be able to create a design that fits our style.

Where, to your mind, lies the biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge will be to create a 3D object from a one-dimensional material. In this sense, the material is very exciting to us, because we do not yet know the full scope of its capabilities.

 

 

June 26, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Process & goal – Project manager Soon Joo Bovenschen

Soon Joo Bovenschen is the project manager of In4nite II and research and development manager for interior and transportation at Low & Bonar. She works with Colback on a daily base, which her department issues to the carpeting industry and Automotive. Alongside a dedicated team, she works on product development, provides insights to our customers through targeted research, and supports our technological department.

Could you tell us a little about your background?

I was rather young when I graduated in Chemical Technology at the Institute of Technology, and really wanted to continue my studies afterwards. I decided to take up Chemical Engineering at the University of Technology in Eindhoven. Here I also discovered the significant differences between academia and the business world.

I chose to continue my line of work in the latter, because I wanted the research I was doing to be implemented. In every company I have worked for so far, this aspect of applied research has always played a role. It’s something I truly enjoy doing, and it remains a part of my occupation until this very day.

In retrospect I am glad that I combined my studies at the Institute of Technology with a university degree, because each represents an entirely different manner of operating. The Institute of Technology maintains a very hands-on approach, whereas the university proffers conceptual and analytical thought — proficiency in both methods has proven to be extremely valuable.

Process photo of In4nite II by Minusplusminus.

You are now also project leader at the In4nite Project. What does In4nite mean to you?

What I enjoy most is that it’s unlike anything else I’ve done at Low & Bonar. At the same time, it’s an entirely new way of working for the company itself. We started the project last year and the results have been so positive that we decided to continue it. For the forthcoming edition we’d like to further expand on the experiences that have been generated last year.

The project provides a fresh and unusual approach into our materials, which is incredibly exciting. We’ve been working with the same materials for decades, and even though we continue to innovate and improve our products, our technologies essentially remain the same. We know exactly what the qualities of our materials are and emphasize these in their uses and development, but as a result, we tend to operate within an area that is already familiar to us.

Although our materials are generally essential components in a wide array of products, it is often applied in ways that renders it invisible. By placing the Colback itself at the centre of attention and approaching it from a different perspective, we learn new ways of understanding the material, which in turn originates entirely new uses for it.

It is a rediscovery of a material that we know so well. And if we are capable of this, we hope that others are, too — such as organizations that have never even heard of Colback, for example.

 

The driving force for the project is definitely the quality of the final designs; and these merely denote the results of a long and complex process. As of yet, what these designs will turn out to be is not clear at all! This is a very compelling thought, and marks an entirely different way of working for me.

 

We now know which designers will participate in this year’s edition; can you tell us something about how this team was put together?

This year, we’ve decided to embark upon this adventure with a smaller team. We’d like to build upon the successes that were achieved last year, which is why we’ve included several of last year’s participants. In addition to these talented designers, I especially wanted to introduce a larger variety of expertise. Industrial design combines the aesthetic choices of design with technical ingenuity; I’m very pleased that we’ve managed to add these features to our team, which now comprises a much broader scope of designers in comparison to last year. This diversity excites me.

 

What excites you most?

The driving force for the project is definitely the quality of the final designs; and these merely denote the results of a long and complex process. As of yet, what these designs will turn out to be is not clear at all! This is a very compelling thought, and marks an entirely different way of working for me. Generally speaking, I know exactly what the final product of a project will be. We spend a lot of time working towards preconceived goals, aiming for clear and definitive end results. And although I am of the curious kind — I like to find solutions off the beaten track — I am also most definitely a goal oriented person. I always carefully consider the purpose or necessity of each and every step. I will have to completely let go of this tendency, which is quite fun and exciting.

 

Taking purpose and necessity in mind; what do these words mean within the framework of In4nite and the exhibition at Dutch Design Week?

I really hope that, once we have set up our show at Dutch Design Week 2018, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised with the outcome; not only forming a revelation to the audience, but also for the designers themselves, our partners, and of course Low & Bonar. It is ultimately less about the individual designs and much more about the overall picture. I would like to increase our visibility towards other companies and consortiums, and forge new bonds or collaborations in the weeks running up to the event. Not only can we assist other companies with our skills and technologies, but such collaborations could also offer interesting opportunities for our designers. The Dutch Design Week marks the kick-off for what I believe will be fruitful collaborations to come.

 

 

June 8, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Aesthetic acoustics – Mieke van den Hout

Mieke Lucia creates sound absorbing objects, with a tactile appearance and an intuitive colour palette. Function and aesthetics merge, resulting into vivid interior objects, designed for any space that is in need of noise reduction. Evincing a strong love for colour and textile, Studio Mieke Lucia will once again be part of the In4nite project in 2018, during which she will deepen her research into design with a focus on acoustic solutions.

Mieke, pleasure to meet you! Last year you were a participant of the In4nite Project; how did you end up taking part in the project?

My reasons to participate were multifaceted; next to receiving the complete freedom to do with the materials as I pleased, I was also offered expert knowledge and technical support in the process. This generous combination of factors opens up a world of possibilities to grow and develop as a designer. For me, it was the perfect opportunity to establish my own design studio, and to collaborate with a large-scale company.

The circumstances allowed to switch between working collectively and working individually — a very pleasant modus operandi, as we all operate within varying fields of expertise and know-how. We’d often consult and deliberate amongst each other, finding ways to inspire one another throughout the project.

Last year, your focus primarily concerned acoustics; how did you come to work with this topic?

Back in the day, wall-to-wall use of carpeting and curtains was omnipresent. Today however, this is considered to be old fashioned, and most interiors have been fitted with more spacious and modern arrangements. Many acoustic solutions are currently integrated within the architecture, for example in ceilings or tables. Personally, I find it a pity, because I like making such structures visible. Not only does it literally produce a ‘softer’ space, but also figuratively speaking.

I wanted to produce an acoustic solution which doesn’t merely do its job; I wanted it to be a beautiful object too, one that becomes part of the interior design. The acoustic panels that I designed last year are able to absorb sound as well as reduce noise. In empty spaces, the sound is taken in, resulting into pleasantly hushed rooms.

Colback isn’t a naturally sound-absorbing material. However, it possesses qualities that can be applied in acoustics. Thanks to the technical support that I received from Low & Bonar, I was able to further develop these acoustic properties for my design. They provided me with ample material which I was able to use in sound experiments. This support by Low & Bonar offered me the fantastic opportunity to research and work with such new techniques.

From this process, two panels have resulted that I would like to proceed with. By making small adjustments I’m currently developing these further, making them more suitable for production.

How did you approach the project? Did you know what you wanted to do right off the bat?

I knew that I wanted to work with acoustics. Too much freedom actually has the opposite effect on my productivity; I find it stifling. With dedicated focus, it becomes easier to sift through all the possibilities. When I’m given too many options I lose this sense of possibility — because where, then, should one start? It is imperative for me to set myself a goal. In this particular assignment, the main questions were: ‘What can my design do for an interior?’ and ‘Which properties of the Colback material can I employ to achieve this?’ I’ve also considered to create wallpaper, or folding screens, for example.

In 2015, I graduated in product design with a bag collection. This might sound like a world away from what I’m doing now, but my imagery, use of form and colour, as well as my methods of working are distinctly present in both projects. I mould materials. The moment I hold a material in my hands, I probe its shapes and forms. I don’t usually start with sketches or drawings; not even in the case of designing bags.

 

I wanted to produce an acoustic solution which doesn’t merely do its job; I wanted it to be a beautiful object too, one that becomes part of the interior design. The acoustic panels that I designed last year are able to absorb sound as well as reduce noise. In empty spaces, the sound is taken in, resulting into pleasantly hushed rooms.

 

In what way have you applied Colback in your design?

I used Colback for its strength — anything produced from textiles doesn’t necessarily hold form. Fabrics are often heavy, or tend to gravitate towards one direction. Colback generates a fine, malleable material. I also find its structure stunning, and really wanted to work with the transparency of the material.

Colback comes in white, grey, and black. I had the desire to add colour to this mix, so I started to experiment with various shades. Any colour layered beneath Colback turns soft and pastel-like; the material acts like a filter, spawning a range of muted colours that I enjoy working with. Next to layering the material with colours, I’ve also attempted to add colour to the Colback material itself. Initially, I wanted to dye the material in solid, even hues. However, in beginning this experiment, I accidently spilled some pigment onto the Colback, which caused for beautiful, luscious stains to emerge. I decided to continue working with the stained Colback.

Dutch Design Week 2017

For the next edition of the In4nite project, you will be participating once again. Do you expect things to be different this time around? Perhaps you might want to reveal a little about your plans for this edition?

The first edition proved to be quite free and exploratory, which was very useful by way of an introduction into the project. My departure point was my studio. At present, I sense the freedom to actually establish a production line. I’d like to further develop my own project, and deepen its design. A thought I’ve been playing with, is to disrupt an existing production process, for example.

I’ve spent some time investigating the techniques that Low & Bonar employ, and the products they have already produced so far. There’s a great number of options for flooring, and I’d like to explore how these techniques could be used for wall decoration. It would be great if I manage to bridge the gap between materials used for flooring and those that are applied to the walls. Or to create a product that can be used for both. I’d really like to have something of the sorts produced at a factory.

June 7, 2018Comments are off for this post.

TUBO by – Karl Marius Sveen & Ørjan Djønne

Karl Marius Sveen studied at the National College of Art and Design in Bergen, Norway. Karl Marius draws inspiration from the Scandinavian way of thinking and living. This can be seen in his products, which are easy and simple furniture, with both aesthetic and functional values.

At the moment Karl Marius is researching the possibilities of the non woven Colback material:

“We were looking for a non woven material with the right structure. As many ‘normal’ lamp shades has flat structures, the non woven has a rich structure that is also translucent, like pressed paper. We used the Colback with another material, to create the best possible light experience. ”

Prototype TUBO, Design: Karl Marius Sveen & Ørjan Djønne | Manufacturer : UTOPIA workshop

 

May 25, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Different worlds – graphic designer Dana Dijkgraaf

Besides being equipped with a sparkling personality, Dana Dijkgraaf is the proud owner of a blooming graphic design studio. Her enthusiasm, expertise, and entrepreneurship are reflected in the attention to detail in her designs. In 2017, she participated in the In4nite project — and she will be a part of this project again this year.

Dana: “After my graduation from secondary school, I was extremely conflicted as to what study to choose. I really wanted to be a vet, but when I learned that being a vet means being confronted with people who treat their animals in a different way that you would like to see and hope for, I opted for my other passion next to nature: sketching and image making. My drawers were filled with sketch books, collages,  and typography.

It turned out to be the right study for me. I graduated in 2013, and because I couldn’t find a job as a graphic designer right away (this was largely due to the economic crisis), I took up an internship to expand my experience and portfolio. By the time I finished as an intern, I had already started to establish a small customer base that consisted of some minor requests. It was just enough to start my own business. In thinking of it, I really grew into having my own business.

I’ve had my own design studio for four years now, and things are going great. I‘m working on several really nice projects at the moment. I generally work on commission for a variety of brands, for example ArtEZ University of the Arts, Stedelijk Museum Breda, Vakblad Fondsenwerving, Schipper Bosch and several designers. I offer a wide range of services, from designing a responsive website, to creating a book design, and expand my designs into different kinds of media, such as booklets, posters, logo’s, and everything in between.”

 

I think we tend to underestimate our role as designers quite often, which is more important than we often give credit for. It was during my studies at the academy that I became aware of the position you can take as a designer; not only do you design and make products, but you are also actively re-shaping the world with your perspective and innovative ideas.

 

 

Odd One Out

Dana: “I suppose I am somewhat of the odd one out within the in4nite project; unlike the other participants, I’m not a product designer. So I guess my approach to this project was a bit different than theirs.

Normally I create a concept based on a story, starting with a mood board or a theoretical concept. But because the focus was on the material in this case, I started the In4nite project by sketching shapes that were inspired by the structure and the possibilities of the Colback material. I used the translucency of Colback to research the possibilities of layering, for example. My departure point was to make everything I could think of from my own perspective as a graphic designer. I really wanted to approach the material from a graphic design point of view, and let the Colback determine the story-line.

After the sketch phase, I experimented with different kinds of printing techniques, such as silk screen printing; perforated printing; and digital printing. I applied different colours and researched techniques of sewing, binding and coating. I printed the material with a flatbed printer; a very big printer that moves around the material, whereas the material itself stays in one place.

I combined various patterns and designs and arranged these into a collection, making the possibilities of Colback tangible. As a graphic designer, this kind of material-based approach is an experiment and an exploration of my own skills, too. “

Presentation on the Dutch Design Week: Dana Dijkgraaf Design

 

 

 

Different Worlds

Dana: “What I really like about graphic design, is the possibility to work with all these different kinds of people and companies. Not one day is the same — I love to dive into their stories, their worlds, and contribute to their mission and vision with my own acumen as a graphic designer. I really like to create things. When you start from scratch in forging a concept, everything is possible.

To keep the inspiration flowing, I visit museums and read magazines on design, nature and philosophy. They feed me with new insights and support me in creating ideas and working out visual stories. In my opinion, there is one designer in particular who represents the cream of the crop; his name is Stefan Sagmeister. My dream would be a collaboration with him — you might say he is one of my heroes in the design world. His vision and view of the world is of great inspiration to me; he purports a unique perspective on the world through his designs and really can surprise you in a sparkling way.

I think we tend to underestimate our role as designers quite often, which is more important than we often give credit for. It was during my studies at the academy that I became aware of the position you can take as a designer; not only do you design and make products, but you are also actively re-shaping the world with your perspective and innovative ideas. In a way, as a designer you are making imaginary future scenarios tangible.”

 

Future Scenarios

Dana: “I would love to explore more materials, and also possibilities for collaboration. I really appreciated the enthusiasm of Low and Bonar, and the openness of this very big company towards working with designers. One big plus is that the Colback material was made abundantly available. I also loved the freedom they gave us to explore the material and to create at our own will. The entire experience of having started from an investigation into the material and ending up on Dutch Design Week was very enlightening.

In light of improving the process, I think there is something to gain in terms of planning the schedule and following up leads. I would also love to collaborate with designers from different fields of work, such as fashion designers and bio technology, to explore more possibilities and create interdisciplinary crossovers.”

 

 

 

May 22, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Call for proposal – In4nite

In considering the future, we can’t imagine a better way to solve the problems we are facing than by ‘thinking through design.’

Thinking through design is a practice-based method to solving problems. In short, it offers different perspectives that allow us to reframe the problems we are dealing with. The In4nite platform is aiming for new collaborations; appealing designers that want to apply their skills into making the world a little better.

We possess an abundance of accessible knowledge; high performance materials; and the desire to work together with innovative talents. We would like to exchange and expand on the possibilities that we have already experienced in the first year of existence of the In4nite platform. We see a lot of potential in the research and exploration of our materials by designers. The In4nite project positions itself as a lab, in which we explore the possibilities of future applications. In order to do so the In4nite program will be working with a group of designers again this year. The end results of the material research will be presented at the Dutch Design Week 2018.  

 

In order to grow as a platform and to explore new possibilities, we are looking for new design talents to join us creating change.

Are you a designer and would you like to be a part of  In4nite? Add your expertise and collaborate to our platform, re-imagining techniques and materials.

Let us know about your proposal, or send in your portfolio: get in touch with your ideas and enquiries!

We are looking forward to be hearing from you.

May 8, 2018Comments are off for this post.

An excellent method to present the characteristics of a material

The first edition of In4nite marks the introduction of Colback as an aesthetic substance. Initially an invisible material, the In4nite project has transformed Colback into carefully designed eye catchers. The designers have found different ways the material, and to transfer its distinct characteristics into a design. They have visualized the intrinsic properties of Colback, and made them tangible.

 

Transparency.

We also know that Colback is transparent, and this characteristic is often used as Colback quality verification tool. Erik Stehmann has been able to utilize this characteristic in a functional and aesthetic way by designing a lamp.

The slight translucency of Colback, and the way in which the material transmits light, is a new and fascinating feature. An ordinary lamp creates shadows whenever its beam of light is obstructed. This is due to the direct light that the lamp emits. Colback, on the other hand, emanates a very diffuse light, which results in the absence of shadow. If you were to you put your hand under the Rilly Nice Lamp, no shadows would appear, as Colback breaks up the rays into a diffuse sort of light. Imagine what this could do for your workspace!

This design also plays with the light weight of the material by distributing the weight of the lamp off-balance; nonetheless offering a sturdy design. Its light transparency means you can place a LED light inside. Erik has combined all these characteristics of Colback, known to us for many years, into a single, innovative design.

3D Printing

Designer Rick Tegelaar has integrated techniques with design aesthetics.

By applying Colback bi-component yarns in a 3D printing technique. Here, the bi-component fiber is melted to create 3d structures, in addition to a pleasing aesthetic performance. 3d printing also makes it possible to strengthen the material on very specific points. It is a perfect example of the ways in which designers can transform qualities that we are already aware of into tangible forms.

 

“In4nite is an eye opener, and an excellent method to present the characteristics of a material in a different way, making its intrinsic properties more visible.”

In our current applications, we know that our material can bring stiffness to certain constructions, but it remains hard to visualize that. We know about the pliability of Colback, but it is nice to demonstrate it as wonderfully as this design does. The qualities are present, but In4nite exhibits them in a tangible way. The designers have combined all these aspects into their designs, making us (at Low and Bonar) think differently about Colback and its application possibilities.

We see a lot of potential in the research and exploration of our materials by designers. The In4nite project positions itself as a lab, in which we explore the possibilities of future applications.

 

 

infinite-logo_footer

Low&Bonar Arnhem

Westervoortsedijk 73, 6827 AV Arnhem, Netherlands

Other links

LBlogofooter

Copyright © 2018 Low & Bonar. All rights reserved.