I went to quite a few talks at this years London Design Festival. Its a great way to catch some fascinating insights into the design process directly from the designer and; if you’re brave enough, ask a question or two!
The V&A ran breakfast talks at the Sackler Centre and the first talk of the festival for me was Kiki van Eijke and Joost van Bleiswijk interviewed by Surface Magazine. The talk covered their careers to date from the graduation and early Milan shows up to their new textile collection for Bernhardt Design,which was launched at the festival.
Despite their close connection and showing their work together they sketch out ideas independently before discussing and developing projects. Kiki talking about a room divider and chair shown in Milan a couple of years back. “A lot of people think that the construction, the metal part is Joost’s design but its not; I was drawing it. Its just… I think somehow superficial that people think “oh its metal it must be Joost” but it doesn’t work like that’ Joost “We always see the same films, we have same books I think you can see a sort of wave across the things that we do, it has the same feel “
For the Bernhardt project Joost explained that the project was initially given a working title of “Fun Fight with Fabric” reflecting the conflicting opinions that went into this collaboration.
Joost wasn’t really used to doing patterns so he escaped from the computer making structures from pieces of metal or wood and Kiki would add on to the piece either with stitching or on the computer to develop the designs. I really liked the playful “Fun Fight with Fabric” title and how it describes the process; but from a commercial stand point Workshop best conveys the actual outcome.
The sofa was initally made from themselves but became a part of the project when it became clear it was a great way to show the breath of the collection they had created. “We liked the fact you have a number of different textiles on 1 sofa in different colours ….there are 40 textiles, 5 different textures, 8 designs, and they can all be combined.”
It was also interesting to hear about their new studio in Eindhoven and how space can have an influence on what and how they develop products. The huge new studio was originally a Phillips paper factory building and its scale has an impact on how they can design. At 1200sq metres and 11 meters high,the scale allows many different uses in one space, it also acts as a showroom for pieces that are not out on display or haven’t been sold. It suits Kiki’s play on proportion that runs through her work and the industrial architectural feel to Joost’s.
Kiki also revealed a collaboration with Haagen Dazs for a Christmas cake made of ice cream. Its not gone through the final tasting test yet but I can’t wait to see what it will be like – no pictures were seen so I guess we’ll just have to wait for Christmas!