(smow) blog compact Dutch Design Week Special: Ontwerpduo – Impossible things before breakfast

One of the highlights for us of Dutch Design Week 2014 is and was the showcase of works by Eindhoven based studio Ontwerpduo a.k.a. Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink. For although in the past we have seen various Ontwerpduo projects individually, there is no real alternative to seeing a studio’s collection together in order to build a more complete picture of the designers and their work.

In addition to reunions with those Ontwerpduo products with which we were already familiar, including the candle Tallow, the lamp Lloop and Light Forest, a most delightful cross between honey fungus and plumbing, the Ontwerpduo exhibition also presented a series of new products, one of the highlights of which was, for us, the Tile Table.

A disarmingly simple and equally disarmingly charming object Tile Table does pretty much what the name implies: it is a table with tiles. Available in three versions the split-level side table and coffee table were the stand out versions for us; largely on account of the gap in the lower level, a feature which neatly breaks up the geometry of the objects and thus endows Tile Table with a certain visual lightness. The taller version isn’t without its appeal, but struck us as somehow unnecessary.

A further new product which caught our attention was the Loena Lantern. A pleasantly formed but otherwise unspectacular lamp Loena unveils its true beauty on being turned off: the shade having been screen printed with a luminous ink meaning that when the bulb is extinguished the shade continues to shine with a pleasing blue light. Thus delaying the arrival of darkness; and so perfect for all who maybe aren’t so keen on the dark and who would like a little light until they are asleep. The idea in itself isn’t new, but there is certain understated grandeur in how Ontwerpduo have realised Loena which really appealed to us.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a few lamps that remain “light” after they have been turned off; all completely different in technology and operation but all pursuing the same goal. We’re not sure if we should talk about it being a tr**d. So we won’t. But the Loena Lantern is definitely a delightful example of the genre.

The Ontwerpduo collection as presented at Dutch Design Week 2014 doesn’t contain any objects that will revolutionise our world or our understanding of our world; but then we don’t suspect Ontwerpduo want to. We suspect they want to help you create a personal space that is ever so slightly removed from the public world you have to move through everyday. A personal space that offers just enough distance from reality to distract you, but not so much that you don’t feel comfortable. And we certainly see in the current Ontwerpduo collection not a search for individuality, but for comfort and homeliness. Which is just as important as revolution.

More details on Ontwerpduo and their work can be found at http://www.ontwerpduo.nl

And should you be in Eindhoven Ontwerpduo can be visited at Halvemaanstraat 20 (Piet Hein Eek Arena) aka Venue 6

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