Innovation in furniture design is nothing without art. We check out the masterpieces created by furniture designers for whom thinking out of the box is not a need but an artistic compulsion.
There are certain creations that are designed to make you fall in love at first sight. And as precious as first love, these pieces are one-of-their-kind. So, if you are eager to experience such an emotion, you ought to check out the furniture creations by Studio Job.
Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel founded Studio Job in 2000. This studio embodies the spirit of the Renaissance where traditional and modern techniques are combined to produce once-in-a-lifetime objects. At Studio Job, craftsmanship is more important than quantity and extreme designs take precedence over middle-of-the road options. Job says, “We want to build up an oeuvre, not score a few hits.”
Nynke explains, “Our work is becoming increasingly expressive and our approach increasingly experimental.”
Technique, science and ornamental designs come together in Studio Job’s examples of Gesamtkunstwerk. While Job likes to call their style ‘New Gothic’, with perfectionism and uniqueness as its key features, Nynke likens it to a symphony orchestra where a cohesive piece of music is created from an abundance of different sounds.
Studio Job creations can be found in 40 museums across the world. The designer duo also holds solo exhibitions apart from acting as curators for art galleries. Studio Job’s design motto is Maximalism – the aim to put fiction in charge – and it has resulted in awe-inspiring artefacts such as the royal stamp featuring the Dutch king, Willem-Alexander, the unique life-size bronze sculptures on Miami Beach, the one-off Wunderkammer curiosity cabinet and the global campaign for Tokyo chocolatier Godiva. All Studio Job projects are distinguished by a love of detail, freedom of expression and blend of 2D and 3D.
Works of art
We look at two important creations by Studio Job to highlight the use of Maximalism. Wunderkammer is a Renaissance ‘room of wonders’, which is filled with frivolous expression and accomplished handicraft. Job explains, “This wondrous room is about saying goodbye. About letting go of what once seemed to have no end.”
The host of materials used in creating this masterpiece include myriad resources such as polished and patinate bronze, Swarovski crystals, stained glass, paper mache, laser cut mirrors, Westminster clockworks, Piko electric trains and motors, LED and TL lighting et al.
Another classic creation by Studio Job is the Robber Baron Buffet table that has polished and patinated bronze and 24k gilding. The buffet is an addition to the well-known Robber Baron Suite (2006-2007), which is an important suite of five cast-bronze furnishings, consisting of a cabinet, mantel clock, table, standing lamp, and jewel safe, each to be offered in a limited edition of five. With clouds of pollution belching from towering smoke stacks, and missiles, falcons, gas masks, warplanes, and wrenches adorning golden surfaces, Robber Baron celebrates and shames both Art and Industry.
An instant attention grabber is the Train Crash table by Studio Job. “A massive impact creating an enormous amount of energy. This work is purely autobiographical,” states Job.
The Train Crash table shows two coal-powered engines colliding, letting out a huge explosion of smoke that has 24k gilding and forms the base of the table. On the surface the table top as irregular rounded edges, highlighting the fusion of two creative forces.
Back to nature
Taking inspiration from nature and creating craft is perhaps what designers and artists have done for ages. But to take an industrial material and return it to the state of nature is what very few indulge in. That’s precisely the forte of Benjamin Graindorge, as can be seen in his creation the Fallen Tree. Using carved oak and borosilicate glass, Benjamin has created a piece that traverses beyond the boundaries of furniture and carpentry and becomes a work of art. With Fallen Tree, he explores the DNA of wood, which to any other carpenter is merely an industrial tool. He brought forth the deepest nature of the material by exposing its inner beauty and taking it back to its original form. When asked what inspires his work, Benjamin said, ‘I don’t know’, and yet his work evokes sentiments that link the modern times we live in to the uninhabited world of fallen trees.
HOT in an exclusive interview with Benjamin Graindorge:
Tell us about your background and training in design.
I studied industrial design in Paris after my scientific Baccalaureat in Chartes. During my studies I had the chance to travel to Chili to discover unknown landscapes and to do a one-year internship with the Bouroullec’s Brothers. With them I really understood what it means to be a designer.
Elaborate on the design thought and execution of the Fallen Tree?
I had the idea of the Fallen Tree since a long time, to reveal the DNA of the material and to make it beautiful and sensitive beyond the scientific efficiency. Wood is a living material and I wanted my design to show it through the change from an industrial state – the plank – to a natural state – the branch. For this, I did a lot of drawings and I worked with a sculptor.
According to you, what is the primary appeal of the Fallen Tree?
I think that the important thing for the Fallen Tree is its power and the life that it liberates, which is almost brutal. I like it.
How did you balance ergonomics and design?
Ergonomics is always there. It is always the element that allows one to make a choice and to find the truth of forms. But I don’t think that this element has to be the most expressive. For me, it is only a value given by default that we should consider the less we can.
What inspires you the most while designing furniture?
I don’t know.
Which materials do you like to work with?
For the time being, I really have a preference for wood, but I like all the noble materials, the ones we can see how they are getting old and that we can fix without losing their quality.
Apart from furniture, you have designed lighting fixtures and home decor elements too. Which do you enjoy working on the most and why?
I am able to have a very diverse production in the design field and it’s a luxury that I want to keep. I don’t want to be obliged to choose between furniture design, industrial design, scenography or interior design, because everything lives together and contribute to a global thought.
What kind of challenges do you face in realising your designs?
For the time being, I would like to draw an entire hotel, to show a full design, an emotional parenthesis.
Who is your clientele?
My clients belong more to the luxury world. It is not related to the price of my objects but more to the formal culture they induce.
Tell us more about your association with YMER&MALTA.
My work with YMER&MALTA is the centre of my design work. With Valérie Maltaverne (who is also my agent), we elaborate a thought that goes beyond our gallery productions. It is more of a thinking attitude, like an intellectual look that we glance on the production of design piece in our actual society.
Such is the craftsmanship of these unique designers that onlookers are not only left grappling with the impact of the visuals created by their masterpieces but are also forced to acknowledge the distinctive thought process behind each creation.