Joost van Bleiswijk
Joost van Bleiswijk (1976) was born in Delft and graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2001. Since then, he mainly works on his own collections in which he investigates how to obtain the simplest lines without the use of materials to hold the piece together. This ‘No Screw No Glue’ philosophy led to several series resulting in a more complicated, interesting and architectural construction. The pieces of this collection look like 'Lego blocks' constructions inducing an edgy and playful feeling (Figure 1).
“I find it interesting to work with construction methods to create techniques that work as dogma for my designs. I create contemporary versions of forgotten objects such as the grandfather clock, hourglass, chessboard and goblet. I draw inspiration from the past and study hundreds of years of product design to find archetypes and conclusions of shapes that lie in history. It’s not only the style of design I find very important but the object itself; I choose objects that tell a story.”
Joost’s works and collections are exhibited and sold worldwide at galleries and museums including Moss Gallery in New York, Galerie Vivid in Rotterdam, Design Museum Holon in Israel and the Zuiderzee Museum in the Netherlands. In addition to his own work, Joost designs for companies such as Ahrend, Bernhardt, Bruut Furniture, City of Eindhoven, Design Connection, EE Labels, Lebesque, MOOOI and Secondome.
Glass by Joost van Bleiswijk
In 2010, Joost van Bleiswijk started working together with Kiki van Eijk with Berengo Studio in Murano, Italy to design the series of 'Venice Projects'. The resulting objects reflect their different design philosophies with Joost's resolutely bold, solid and rigid, geometrical construction to reveal an architectural approach and Kiki's more introspective and feminine view of the world with objects as a representation and concrete expression of the most important things in an individual's life. The jointly designed items, produced in limited edition, communicate perfectly through the attraction of opposites. They are executed in gold coloured glass with an architectural archetypical feeling (Figure 2).
Another project (2011) with glass was Fragile Factory. In our time, in which crafts, workshops and factories are rapidly disappearing, Joost wanted to make a statement about the value of crafts. Crafts are taken over by computer-controlled machines and cheap labour because crafts like carpentry and forging are too expensive these days, while factories grow bigger and bigger and become more and more automated. He likes the process of making so much - with its craftsmanship, materials, factory, the smell of oiled machines and the archetypical factory furniture and items - that he wanted to react against this trend.
“I designed the 'fragile factory' collection in glass as a story of an imaginary abandoned factory. A factory where real products where made with real materials. It was closed down for reasons of modern times. In the abandoned workshop spaces some items were left.”
The work consists of glass installations:
- A trestle table with glass objects. Trestles are made to improvise tables, provide a place to saw or store materials. The trestles are holding a pile of glass rods: the ‘raw material’ (Figure 3).
- A pallet of glass with original euro pallet size, is a very recognizable item of factory furniture.
On this pallet is a stack of raw material, machine parts and bollards. Where a pallet normally is made to withstand very heavy weights, lifted by forklifts and pallet trolleys, shipped all over the world, this pallet is made of breakable glass and therefore more a pedestal for the items displayed on top. Items that could have been everywhere in the factory. Spare parts for machinery, some leftover material (Figure 5).
These installations are made in glass as an ode to craftsmanship. As glass is one of the most difficult materials to work with, and impossible to shape without a very long and good training, passion and talent, glass is the ultimate material for these installations to create an ode to craftsmanship, and the ‘making’ of objects.
The design couple also made the design of the 'Dining Stories Chandelier' (2013). Each of the 30 different arms of this chandelier tells a story about the preparation and the appreciation of a dinner and is executed in glass. The complex construction reflects again the influence of Joost, while the objects that are placed on the bulb holders with kitchen objects are a translation of the influence of Kiki van Eijk.
The work of Joost van Bleiswijk together with his design partner Kiki van Eijk is a valued addition to the Dutch design tradition and makes you wonder what they will achieve with the material glass in the future.
See also >Book and Agenda expostion Co-evolution in Het Noordbrabants Museum, Verwersstraat 41, NL-5211 HT 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands