Rotterdam-based designers Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg began working together as NIGHTSHOP in 2010. Since then, they’ve explored a mix of elements of ‘high’ and popular culture in their designs, so investigating the boundaries between supposed good and bad taste. This week’s Pop-in expo features a selection of their recent work: Business Furniture, Crackerjack and The Strangers/The people in our street.
Although they have never worked in an office, Van Gemert and Van der Ploeg admire office furniture for its boring and ‘neutral’ qualities. With no vintage character or air of pretentiousness, this kind of furniture is a blank canvas. Paying homage to the scratched and graffitied doors found in the toilets of schools, bars and offices, the designers spent a year drawing on various kinds of office furniture. Whether a closet or a table, every object received a unique pattern designed especially for it, and was thus elevated to a totally new design. After the drawing process, all the pieces were finished with a thick layer of clear resin to preserve the fragile patterns. The end result is an exercise in patience as well as a declaration of love for the one emotion that we all shares: boredom.
Van Gemert and Van der Ploeg believe that the problem with mirrors is that they’re as beautiful as the people in front of them. By covering the mirror’s reflective surface with densely drawn patterns, the mirrored image not only becomes less important, but also seems to move and distort depending on the angle of vision.
The Strangers/The people in our street
Van Gemert and Van der Ploeg are fascinated by faces, and would happily stare at people long past the point of acceptability. This is why they turned their eye on the people in their street, documenting them meticulously using resin-based children's modelling clay. The result is a family of outcasts and strangers. Feel free to stare until the cows come home.
Weekly changing presentations in the foyer of Het Nieuwe Instituut. A controversial new design, sensational research, work by an emerging talent or a new acquisition for the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning are given a place in the spotlight.