Maker’s Marks, T Design Winter 2010


‘‘Hella Jongerius — Misfit,’’ the title of the Dutch designer’s retrospective that opens Nov. 13 at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, refers not so much to her status in the design world but to the imperfect objects she has long championed. As the exhibition demonstrates, Jongerius has never had trouble finding sympathy for her ideas in the design industry, where companies like Vitra, Ikea and Maharam hired her to introduce beautiful inconsistencies into their sofas, vases and upholstery fabrics. As it turns out, the only people who ever took convincing were the craftspeople themselves. Royal Tichelaar Makkum’s artisans cringed when they were told to fire her 1997 B-Set pottery (above) at too high a temperature, while Nymphenburg’s worried that her 2004 Sketches plates looked half-finished. ‘‘Craft has a tradition of trying to make perfect things,’’ says Louise Schouwenberg, the show’s curator. ‘‘Hella told them to stop trying, because industry can do that better, whereas their appeal is more humane.’’ Jongerius persisted, and these days, evidence of the hand of the maker seems completely natural. The misfits have become the mainstream.

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