ABET---newspage---1920x1280px---When Furniture Meets

“When Furniture Meets” Design District 2018

We leven in een wereld waarin ons meubilair en andere objecten in ons dagelijks leven steeds meer levend lijken. In deze wereld van Internet of Things, Robotica and Artificial Intelligence kijkt Abet Laminati naar de toekomst, een hoopvolle toekomst waarin we de relatie tussen onszelf en de objecten om ons heen zullen herdefiniëren.

Abet Laminati nodigde ontwerpersduo Merle Flügge en Job Mouwen van SupertoysSupertoys uit om hun installatie “When Furniture Meets” voor Design District 2018 te ontwerpen. De installatie is een gematerialiseerde cyberspace met “levende” objecten gemaakt van HPL van Abet Laminati. Kijken naar de toekomst met SupertoysSupertoys en Abet Laminati was een perfecte combinatie. De installatie wekt nieuwsgierigheid op, het is fantasierijk en vooruitstrevend. Elementen die Abet Laminati in haar eigen visie onderstreept. ”When Furniture Meets” stelt de vraag of meubels in de nabije toekomst tot leven zullen komen…

SupertoysSupertoys is een opkomende visionaire ontwerpstudio. Hun ontwerpen draaien altijd om de vraag hoe nieuwe technologieën zoals Internet of Things, AI, Robotica etc. onze relatie met de omgeving zullen veranderen. Volgens de ontwerpers zullen onze meubels en objecten steeds meer tot “leven” komen en onderdeel worden van onze sociale omgeving. Meubels, niet als een functionele comfortabele “achtergrond” van ons interieur, maar meubels als huisdieren: waar we op zullen reageren op een emotioneel en empathisch niveau.



Speciaal voor Design District interviewde Menno Bouwens (Abet Laminati NL) Merle Flügge en Job Mouwen (SupertoysSupertoys) over hun kijk op de toekomst:

“When do you think furniture will become alive?”

MB: Tell me about the concept of the design for Design District.

MF: For the installation we imagined what cyberspace would look like if everything in our interior would be connected in cyberspace (Internet Of Things). The installation is a sort of materialised cyberspace of Internet Of Things.

MB: In your design the objects are alive, when do you think furniture will become really alive?

JM: Pretty soon. At least they will appear to be alive. With the rapid development of Internet Of Things, Artificial Intelligence, domotics and robotics we believe we will see sentient furniture in our houses and workspaces before the end of this decade. Furniture and objects become alive.

MB: Is that why your designs are always ‘creature’ like?

MF: Yes, most definitely. We like to play with familiarity. In the way we design objects, play with ambiguity of function, or sometimes make them even functionless, they become creature-like. We believe that in the way we design, people engage with the objects and furniture in a way they engage with for example pets, on an emotional level, an empathetic level. We sometimes dream of a world where objects are alive, like Walt Disney’s Fantasia, this would totally change the way we treat objects.
JM: Objects are alive in one way or the other, part of our social constructs. Humans always created personal relationships with the objects surrounding them. In a way, we are all animists.

MB: We would not dispose them as quickly right?

JM: Absolutely, this would definitely have a major positive effect on the environment and our natural recourses. But most important, it would change our anthropocentric thinking.

MF: Yes. With our designs we would like to challenge the belief that human beings are the most significant entity on the planet. In general, we believe humans have a misled believe that we are more valuable than non-humans, other species and/or objects. It is a serious topic, but we like to approach it with positivity. We use happy colors, shapes and playfulness but we have a critical social-political foundation in our designs.

JM: I think there’s a strong overlap with how Archizoom Associati, Alchimia and later Memphis Group where looking at design and our world full of objects. They were changing the role of the object and therefore the relationship between the object and human through design.

MF: Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Michele De Lucchi and Ettore Sottsass are definitely our heroes. In this context we were thrilled to work on this assignment for Abet Laminati.

MB: The installation for Design District has this strong grid, why?

MF: Just like you Menno, we are both extreme sci-fi movie freaks. The grid is a reference to the 1982’s cult sci-fi movie TRON. This is one of our all-time favourite movies. It was one of the very first movies that made radical use of computer-generated images. Such a strong imagery, it’s flat 2D and 3D at the same time.

JM: The movie is about a cyberspace parallel world, just like our design, I guess it’s an ode to the makers of TRON.

MB: All these round shapes… you would not think of laminate as a material at first, or?

JM: That’s what we liked about working with Abet’s laminates. How to create a 3-dimensional shape with a material which is in essence a 2-dimensional thin plate. We experimented with bending the laminate on its own. Made.up Interior Works and Baars & Bloemhoff helped a lot with figuring out the right way to do it, pushing the boundaries of the material. Although the bent surfaces are hard, the feel of the thin material gives the object a pleasant amiable tactility. We didn’t use any backing material supporting the bent laminate, in a way we wanted to emphasize how versatile Abet’s laminate can be …almost 99% of the installation and the objects are laminate.

MB: What will be the next step for your studio?

MF: Our dream is to create furniture and spaces that trigger emotional relationships between objects and humans. We live in exiting times but new innovations in the field of Internet Of Things, domotics, robotics and AI place the emphasis too much on the question how to make our lives more comfortable, our routines more efficient. We rather want to explore these new technologies to alter or recalibrate our relationship with the objects in our interiors.

JM: Imagine a meeting room where the discussion gets a bit heated, all of the sudden one of the empty chairs moves to the corner of the room, he’s scared… That would have a major impact on the people in the meeting. This is what design, AI and robotics should be about in our view. For the Design District 2018 project we worked together with Interactive-Robotics from Delft. We are brainstorming with them on these topics, and how to make the next step. We would like Abet to join obviously.

MB: We will!


Event: Design District 2018
Locatie: Van Nelle Fabriek
Adres: Van Nelleweg 1, Rotterdam
Datum: 6 – 7 – 8 juni 2018
Openingstijden: wo/do 11-19 (vakpubliek), vr 11-18 (iedereen)
Gratis toegangsbewijs: registreer hier