Passagen Cologne 2014: Gronicles #4

Every two years designers from the Dutch town of Groningen chum together to present a joint showcase during Cologne Design Week.

The fourth “Gronicles” edition is being staged in the former Wohn-bar in Cologne Ehrenfeld and features works by Lotte Douwes, Jack Brandsma, Esther Jongsma, Lambert Kamps and Arend Groosman.

Among a mix of product, conceptual and graphic design projects two works particularly caught our attention: Spatial Vase by Lotte Douwes and Bedcrate by Jack Brandsma.

Created in context of a project by Rotterdam based manufacturer Label Aleph Spatial Vase by Lotte Douwes is not only a delightful object in its own right, but much more is one of those objects that demonstrates what can be achieved by approaching a problem from a new perspective.

Who said vases have to stand on tables or sideboards?

No-one. That’s who?

Why can’t a vase be suspended from the ceiling?

By suspending a vase from the ceiling, the flowers in the vase take on a whole new life, cease to become some passive object, and become an active part of the room decoration. Become an object in their own right.

Simple. Yet genius.

And the fact that Lotte Douwes has realised the hanging vase concept in such an aesthetically pleasing form is what makes Spatial Vase such a stand out product for us.

Passagen Cologne 2014 Gronicles Spatial Vase by Lotte Douwes

Spatial Vase by Lotte Douwes, as seen at Gronicles #4 during Passagen Cologne 2014

Bedcrate similarly challenges accepted conventions.

In contrast however to the aesthetically pleasing Spatial Vase, Bedcrate is a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

Far too much going on, far too complicated, far too busy, far too….. just far too.

However the background idea is brilliant – a spare bed in a crate.

Who said that spare beds need to be inflatable, or converted from a chair or sofa?

The same folk who say that vases have to stand on tables.

No one.

The basic problem with sofa beds is that unless you invest more money than the majority of us are comfortable with, you get a sofa that offers next to no support. And so, paradoxically, with which you are also uncomfortable.

But place the bed in some form of unit and you can invest in a proper sofa that that makes an evening snoozing in front of the radiogram a pleasurable experience. And gain an additional piece of furniture.

Now obviously designing the sideboard/unit aspect so that it is functions as a useful/sensible/uncomplicated domestic object is a major undertaking, but that’s what designers do.

Gronicles #4 can be viewed at Former Wohn-bar, Heliosstrasse 15, 50825 Cologne until Sunday January 19th 2014.

Passagen Cologne 2014 Gronicles Bedcrate by Jack Brandsma

Bedcrate by Jack Brandsma, as seen at Gronicles #4 during Passagen Cologne 2014

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