In a previous post about the 2016 Dutch Design Week and especially its core event, the design academy graduation show, I was very intrigued/impressed by a student’s universe, Emma Wessel‘s, who was at the time displaying her textile creations and the look book putting them in perspective. The creations were very interesting but the pictures in the book were even more. They showed a very precise and coherent universe. With not much, she could create a very different yet very sensible world, where each object is carefully selected for a reason (purple, pink and blue colors, foamy consistencies, plays on draperies etc.). Emma also created a piece called Palettes which consists in a weaving of foam, rope and wood that can be used as a sitting, a room divider or a carpet, indifferently.
This year, the show in Eindhoven was about other students, and another aesthetic (cf post about Hala Tawil & Elissa Lacoste), but next to the Design Academy show, taking place this time in a place called Campina, was something that totally blew my mind. It was mysteriously entitled “Envisions and Finsa”. There was also something about the Gent museum, I understood later that this meant that there would be a show of this collaboration in Gent at the same time. But what is/are «Envisions » ?
It is a collective of designers longing for teamwork and solidarity and creating this brand new aesthetic that I had seen in Emma Vessel’s work. The first part of the show was really about this collaboration with Finsa – Finsa is a wooden board company trying to find new products – so the new products were interesting and their « mise en scène » was very imaginative: creating a giant black box in black MDF to create only a few views on a board and mirror landscape. But what really caught my attention was the dinner scene Envisions had arranged on the first floor.
The generosity of Envisions is this eye for « total » design. Each detail has been carefully worked on. I later learned that their catalogue was introduced by the great Hella Jongerius (one of the founders of Droog design, one of the queen of Dutch design, who has all her life worked on crafts and imperfections). She mentioned the similarities between Droog and Envisions. This really means that we are hitting a cornerstone here, but Envisions’ approach is less about each single individual talent than about the energy of the group, and the way one can really move forward by crossing all the hyper specialisations of the designers of the team.
The Founder and Art Director:
Born in Sweden and raised in Arnhem, Sanne Schuurman studied both interior architecture and architecture before realising she wanted to downsize in project scale, and definitely not just remix designs made by others. To have a hand in the aesthetic and making of a space’s details – from the curtains to furniture, lighting and floors – is what makes her tick. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Schuurman simultaneously founded her own studio in Eindhoven as well as two group-focused initiatives, the process-oriented design collective Envisions and De Design Shop, a pop-up which brings designer’s work to the market. ‘I think a designer is a connector and collaborator. You need to be able to dive into different worlds and be able to gather useful knowledge to apply to your processes. As soon as you start to collaborate and open up your practice – like an open source – you can achieve things on a bigger scale, joining forces instead of wandering around in your own imagination.’ Schuurman’s playful and experimental way of working is immersed into a layered world of color, material and texture. Not decoration applied as after-thoughts, ornate patterns result from the research-driven process behind material combinations and constructions.
Iwan Pol is a designer and one of the co-founders of envisions. We at hlow had discovered his work with concrete a few years ago (cf image). He works in Rotterdam such as the majority of « envisionaires » as they call themselves so we will only mention the locations of the ones not based in Rotterdam.
Simone Post is a textile and product designer and a former intern of the Jongeriuslab.
Thomas Dirrix is one of the new envisionaires, he is a conceptuel architect. Adrianus Kunderts is a designer interested in the process of erosion and of natural patina. Aukje Fleur Janssen mixes product design with the creation of patterns (mostly geometrical but not only) to create unexpected results. Bastiaan De Nennie is a designer positioning himself at the crossroads of digital and physical, using 3D scanner and printer. Elvis Wesley – pseudonym of Wesley de Boer – is a graphic designer and illustrator who worked in the Jongeriuslab. Emma Wessel whom we’ve already talked about is working in Eindhoven. She mixes design and fashion, she calls for a « versatile use of inner products ». Fred Erik – the pseudonym of Frederik Deschuytter – is a conceptual designer and design thinker based in Brussels. Jeroen van de Gruiter is a product designer interested in the fusion of shape, proportion, color and texture. Lody Aeckerlin is is a movie maker and the frontman of ‘Oneirocular’, a motion-design studio based in Eindhoven. Robin Pleun Maas is a textile designer based in Borås, a city outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. Roel Deden is a digital maker based in Utrecht, focusing on virtual reality and its relationship to the design process, making micrometer-accurate models for production. Ronald Smits is the photographer of the crew, he is based in Eindhoven. He was a former intern of Erwin Olaf, and instead of simply documenting, he is interested in adding poetry to the pictures of the pieces produced by envisionaires. Roos Gomperts is a designer-slash-image maker creates playful fusions of contrasting materials. Rudi Boiten and Mireille Burger founded the Studio Plott in Eindhoven and have developed a computer-controlled machine which is able to print their own custom designs by extruding a molten plastic filament. Studio TrulyTruly is run by Joel and Kate Booy, a duo coming from Queensland, Australia but based like the others, in Rotterdam. They are focussing on furniture and lamps. One of their most popular product is the PS armchair produced for Ikea in 2017 (cf image). Team Thursday is a graphic design studio that focuses on the design and art direction of visual identities. Tijs Gilde works in Eindhoven. He combines trends forecasting with his well-developed skill in product design (cf image). Based in the Dutch city of Hertogenbosch, Thomas Trum is an artist-slash-designer with paint as his muse. And the last: the Eindhoven based Studio Vantot, (Esther Jongsma and Sam van Gurp) creates beautiful lamps and plays with current (cf image of a lamp called « Current Currents »).
This makes a group of 26, basically they recreated a class room, a game-changer, the representative group of a whole generation of style.