Top: 600 year old oak timber. Bottom: Julien Carretero's Matchsticks.
This year, the group of designers behind the loose collective Dutch Invertuals had the opportunity to work with a magnificent material: Oak wood that dates back to Medieval Times, forming the foundation to the EIndhoven city entrance over 600 years ago, and excavated only recently.
Each individual studio has conducted their own experiments and research, "translating the value and symbolism of the wood into contemporary design project," focusing especially on ideas bout time and the oak's unique material properties. They exhibited their findings together at a show entitled Matter of Time during Dutch Design Week.
Max Lipsey, for example, engages the wood with a habit of working that dates back to the moment the trees were felled. He built a "Shave Horse" and collection of related tools, emobdying the "intelligence and thoughtfulness of the maker's hand" in the final result.
Meike Meijer has made alternative time pieces based not on the winding and ticking of gears, but on volume, weight and temperature, keeping time in a relative manner.
Raw Color has combined handmade papermaking techniques with digitization, to represent the 'smallest fibre" of the wood. A drawing machine will add year rings to the kernel of form as each piece is produced.
EDHV explores what sort of information cab be distilled from the excavated oak, attaching pencils to its slices in an attempt to "visualize the identity of this symbolic wood."
Caroline Wilcke focused on the tactile properties of the material, creating a series of objects for touching.
Daphna Isaacs and Laurens Manders created a table that shows the original use of these logs as a foundation. Encased in the table top is a fragment of a map from the site of discovery.
And finally, Juliette Warmenhoven illustrates the imminent decision to either preserve the wood or let it rot, a moment only uncovered in its excavation.
The Dutch Invertuals was founded by Wendy Plomp. Read more about their work and collective philosophy here. We love the portraits of the group that come with every show— this time, they've stuck their fingers, ears, and noses through holes in the wood.
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.