Standing in the shadow of his gargantuan lamp, “The Worker”, Pascal Howe is well aware of how easily his work can be misunderstood.
“Many people think it is just a lifestyle product or similar”, he smiles, “but it has a strong concept behind it and isn’t just about the aesthetic, the material or the functionality”
The exhibition “Pascal Howe – VDI 2860” at the DMY Design Gallery Berlin is part of process to correct such misinterpretations and to introduce the real Pascal Howe.
Following a goldsmith apprenticeship in his native Delmenhorst, Pascal Howe studied Interdisciplinary Design at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, a course which is as varied and multi-disciplinary as its name implies and during which he completed a six month internship with Nacho Carbonell in Eindhoven, a tenure which also included working with and for Kiki van Eijk, Joost van Bleiswijk and Maarten Baas. Since his graduation in 2013 Pascal Howe has been based in Berlin.
Under the title VDI 2860 – a derivation of the German Engineers Association’s classification code for robots – Pascal Howe is presenting a collection of three largely conceptual pieces, yet pieces which are unquestionably products.
“The idea with the collection was to mix an everyday object, something that one can actually use and which has a practical function, with a more conceptual, abstract object,” says Pascal, a concept that can be clearly seen in The Worker.
Despite The Worker’s monumental dimensions, all began with a record player: an RPM 1.3 from Pro-Ject to be precise. Impressed by the way the RPM 1.3 unashamedly exposed its technical workings, Pascal set about developing a table lamp that followed the same principles. A table lamp that, well, let’s say, grew. And today proudly stands over 2.5 metres tall in the DMY Gallery. Fully stretched it can reach 3.6 metres.
As a lamp The Worker functions as a lamp should. As an object it dominates a space and helps define the atmosphere. The obvious parallel is with Artemide’s Tolomeo XXL. But whereas the Tolomeo XXL is clearly a lamp, The Worker is more subtle.
“At Bremen we also developed Operas,” continues Pascal, “the music students scored the work and we created the scenery, and in a way I view The Worker in that tradition in that I’ve created a story without telling a story, rather I present the protagonists and everyone is free to develop their own story around them.”
When we first saw The Worker with its industrial grace and circular saw-esque lamp head we were instantly reminded of the huge diggers that work in open cast coal mines, eating their way metre for metre through the countryside. That would be our opera.
In addition to the fully functional The Worker, VDI 2860 presents models of two further projects: The Porter and The Jumpgate.
Resembling a particularly ungainly three legged mechanical crab The Porter is an object that as with The Worker shows its technology, yet which in contrast to The Worker leaves its function open. Pascal speaks of a function that isn’t immediately clear, of a work which “can be left as an abstract object but which depending on what you place on it, what it carries, becomes its function” For the purposes of VDI 2860 it is being presented as a table, but as a modular concept it can or could also be adapted to be a seat, or a coat stand, a shelving system, whatever.
The highlight of the collection for us however is perhaps the least developed, or at least the least physically developed project on show, The Jumpgate. Considerations about parallel universes and the inter-connectivity of modern lives led Pascal to a room-within-a-room, temporary architecture object that is intended to act not only as a room divider, but as a reality separator of sorts. “Room separators where everything is pre-defined, with chairs, tables, et cetera exist”, explains Pascal, “but with Jumpgate everyone is free to create their own individual universe. You could, for example, integrate movement sensors so that when you enter the space it fills with a fog that then separates you from the outside world”
Just one of a potentially limitless number of possibilities for such a “pod”.
As we say, at the moment there is little more than a plastic tube to be seen in the DMY Gallery, for anything more advanced Pascal needs a little more financial support.
We hope the exhibition helps him find that, for as a concept we find Jumpgate genuinely fascinating and certainly worthy of further exploration.
Pascal Howe – VDI 2860 can be viewed until Friday June 20th at the DMY Design Gallery, Blücherstr. 23, 10961 Berlin. Which of course means that the works can also be enjoyed during the forthcoming DMY Berlin Design Festival.
Full details on Pascal Howe and his work can be found at http://pascalhowe.com