Materials suppliers have long sponsored workshops in the interest of raising awareness about their vendors' offerings, but Baars & Bloemhoff’s “Transitions” was noteworthy both as the Dutch company's first designer collaboration and a strong showing from six of Holland's most promising young studios. Conversely, although many designers — including all of the participants in “Transitions” — exhibited at multiple venues during Dutch Design Week, many of these products and projects had been around for months if not years (which is not surprising, considering the glut of opportunities, brands, and studios in Eindhoven).
Samples of the materials. Studio photography by RAW COLOR, courtesy Baars & Bloemhoff; exhibition photography by the author.
Introducing the new projects, then, was a felicitous means of introducing the brand, which was founded in 1972 and has made its name as a trusted resource for architects and interior designers, offering a catalog that includes robust laminates, veneers, etc., for both commercial and residential applications. “We travel all around the world to look for innovative new materials,” says Marketing Manager Johan van der Meer. “At the moment, we sell 25 brands and over 3,000 different kind of materials.”
Beyond the product library, Baars & Bloemhoff also works directly with trades to realize designers' vision; working with furniture and product designers was a logical step. And since the Utrecht-based counts Eindhoven's Broeinest as one of their five permanent sales centers, Dutch Design Week was the perfect opportunity to showcase the projects.
The exhibition at Broeinest
Staged in a corner of the ground floor of the community studio/co-working space, the exhibition was demarcated by the strikingly disparate freestanding cupboards in opposite corners. Commissioning projects is an easy way of ingratiating yourself to designers, but van der Meer mentions that the projects also serve as prototypes for production as well. In fact, the “Otto” table by OS ? OOS will soon be available through Please Wait to Be Seated, and at least one of the others has attracted interest.
Here are more details on each of the six projects, as well as the materials that they worked with:
The name of the piece refers to the structure of an aircraft sans engines.
Thanks to the lightweight Decospan oak veneer, “Airframe 01” weighs just 18.5kg.
“Triplex is one of the support materials from Baars & Bloemhoff's range. My design presents this material in a different light. No longer an inconspicuous structural component out of sight, but right there in the spotlight.”
The Eindhoven-based studio drew on architecture for inspiration.
The Color MDF resembles homogenous materials such as stone and concrete.
“Color MDF is an MDF in which staining is mixed through the fiber during the production process. This leaves the material fully colored and creates a unique homogeneous structure... That's what we feel to be the material's strength.”
One of the legs is an axis around which the two-tiered tables can rotate.
Baars & Bloemhoff provided veneers from Italian brand Alpi.
“Our table is easy to extend, making it twice the size when you turn the legs out. The tabletops feature a different veneer on each side, which can be flipped for ever changing occasions. For us the different colors and surface types have specific relations to the sort activity that the table is being used for.”
Lex Pott developed a collection based on the edge-banding of the materials
The Décor collection from Abet Laminati and metal laminate from Homapal
“The Chroma items are interesting from multiple perspectives due to the different-colored surfaces. This does maximum justice to the spatial quality of the panel material, lending each piece a different color combination from another perspective.”
The maquettes along one wall are a nice touch; see all of them below.
The structures are designed to look both lightweight and sturdy.
Homapal metal laminate is just 1mm thick.
“The simplest structural form is a fold... Introducing folds and inter-connecting various surfaces gave rise to a robust structure... normally you would connect Homapal metal laminate on a load-bearing base, but here I'm showing a new use for the material, fully independent.”
Inspired by crates, the external ribs offer structural and aesthetic reinforcement.
The solid surface material HI-MACS is typically used in industrial applications.
“One of the properties of this material is that it is thermally ductile and can be glued together with virtually no seams. These properties are found in the design of industrial plastic crates and were the starting point in our design of the cupboard.”