Wonderlamp is a collaboration between Pieke Bergmans and Studio Job, presented by Dilmos last week in Milan. At the exhibit, we spoke with Nynke Tynagel, one half of Studio Job, who provided some insight into the studio's working process: everyday icons, archetypical forms, contradictions as inspiration, castles, and answering the phone.
Nynke (right) and Pieke are pictured at the Dilmos gallery above.
Core77: Tell us about Wonderlamp.
Nynke Tynagel: It's a collaboration with Pieke Bergmans. She's known for her glass Light Blubs. Sometimes, you see work and think 'I wish I thought of that, I wish it were my idea.' That's why we approached her and asked her to collaborate. She also uses an archetypal material, using glass the same way we use bronze. It was very obvious to put these two together into one object. We also thought it was a nice idea to collaborate; this is our first.
C77: What's the idea behind the project?
NT: There are 7 light objects. Each lamp has its own little idea. In each, the glass represents a different material. In one lamp its steam, in another it's a beam of light. In another, it's smoke.
C77: Historical references and cultural icons are very visible in your work. How did you use these in Wonderlamp?
NT: The pieces you see here, the 7 lamps, are everyday life pieces. The pots and pans your mother has in the kitchen, a torch, and a neon lamp. They aren't really historical. This year we did some really joyful pieces, without a dark, heavy meaning.
C77: How do intuition and research balance in your process?
NT: Of course, we look into history, visit a lot of places and are inspired by a lot of things, but intuition is really important. You develop a kind of language. Job and I, we speak the same language. That's why we end up doing the work we do. For me its very hard to describe my thoughts, to translate them into words. I express my feelings through the pieces.
C77: Does storytelling play a role in this?
NT: We always think about placing our work inside a castle. We see it as a small society with every aspect of life within it. You have the farmer and the big boss. You have religion, a chapel, a dining room, a kitchen. We like to think of a little story that happened in that small society and place our work in every room of that castle.
C77: Can you discuss the graphic nature of your work?
NT: It is always the archetypical form we are searching for. They're in our head but never really exist when we try to find them in life. We are always looking for those shapes. Sometimes we blow them up and they become more like sculpture.
C77: What do you mean by archetypical form?
NT: For example, when you think of a teapot, the form that comes to mind.C77: How do you work through your ideas?
NT: During lunch and dinner, Job and I discuss ideas and find time to create in between busy working days. Job draws on paper and I draw in the computer. These drawings go to our atelier, and we make the molds to realize the projects.
C77: Do you also chip away at something in 3d?
NT: After all these years, we have enough experience to know how a drawing will translate to 3d, but we do make models and maquettes.
C77: Are you and Job directly involved in the making?
NT: We supervise, but we never work with our hands anymore. It's a pity, but we are too busy organizing everything.
C77: How has your work changed from the early days to now?
NT: In the early days, we were more involved in the process of realizing the pieces themselves. Now, we are more often on the phone, behind the computer, busy with emails. It's a pity, but it belongs to the job, unfortunately. We have stayed small, so we can still be involved in every aspect of each project. We want to be close to the making of each piece.
Job Smeets, Nynke Tynagel and Pieke Bergmans in the studio.
C77: On that note, how do you find your craftsmen?
NT: We found them in our neighborhood. The craftsmen are people we have been working with for many years already. We've developed a way of working, we understand each other, and this has grown over time. We've had the same caster for 10 years. We've used one carpenter the entire time. They are all really devoted, and we like people that are perfectionists.
C77: You mentioned before the interview that you and Job weren't really 'design fans.' What does that mean?
NT: We don't like to be here during the fair. We don't like design; we aren't inspired by it. We like to be in our studios and do our work, but the part of showing up at openings and going to fairs is not our favorite part of the job. We prefer to hide in our atelier.
C77: Who do you perceive to be your audience?
NT: We never think about clients or an audience when we are doing our pieces. In that way, we work more as an artist. It's free work. For us, its not important who the audience is or what people think of it. Our work often ends up in museums or with collectors or in public spaces.
C77: If not design, what do you look at when developing your ideas?
NT: We are inspired by animals, by nature, by everyday life, by the good and the bad, and by contradictions. We like to be on the border of beautiful and ugly, old and new. That's what inspires us: the contradictions in life.
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.