When it comes to experimental design we can say without a doubt that the Netherlands has always been a champion. This is why after the debut of 2017 this year at the London Design Fair we must not miss: Dutch Stuff at the Old Truman Brewery in East London.
Among the many original projects which will be presented, we have chosen the one by Martijn Righters: a young designer who offers us a range of avant-garde sofas resulting from an experimentation done with hot-wire cutting. Starting from a solid block of foam, he built a large machine able to sculpt the material through hot wires. The idea starts with considering movement as a liquid form and being able to capture it and translate it into a permanent form.
The concept is as brilliant as that for the project The Color Of Hair (in collaboration with Fabio Hendry) in which human hair is used for surface treatments and decorations on different materials. Applying the hair on a heated surface keratin instantly carbonizes and behaves like the ink creating the effect of unswept hair
Who is Martijn Rigters?
I am an experimental designer who lives between London and Vienna. After completing my product design studies at the Royal Academy of Art (The Netherlands), I attended the Masters in Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London.
Tell us more about the project you will present this year at the London Design Festival.
As part of the Dutch Dutch Stuff exhibition, I will exhibit a new series of objects based on the Cutting Edge technique (wire cutting): a process that uses wires to sculpt large blocks of foam. I started with the sofas and I am expanding to other furnishing accessories.
The Color of Hair is among your projects the one that impressed us the most. Would you like to talk about the creative process that led to the birth of this idea?
The Color of Hair is an in-depth research that I started together with Fabio Hendry of Studio Ilio in 2016. The project aims to explore alternatives, as sustainable as possible, and materials for new applications. During the master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London, we realized that we were surrounded by a large number of hairdressers (over 500 in the city) and therefore we could have an unlimited source of material. The goal was to use hair fibers to transform them. We started to think about the old Raku pottery technique and discovered that we could use human hair due to their high concentration of keratin. The surface is heated and the carbonized hair particles leave their mark.
How do you understand if a product can work?
Most of my projects involve, to a certain extent, the participation and/or interaction of people who often do not have a clear professional connection with design or art. Their feedback is of great importance because it provides new insights from a different point of view and makes me realize that the output is a certain type of audience and the goal is the improvement of daily life.
Do you have other projects in your portfolio that you are proud of?
Foam Party which is a project in which I made custom chairs through a sort of industrial production. I created a low-tech machine capable of mixing and pouring the bicomponent foam into a mold where a chemical reaction takes place. A person is required to sit over the mold (reusable) while the foam is rising to create the custom seat. In just fifteen minutes I am able to produce a completely shaped chair to the person’s body.
What is the unmissable event this year at London Design Week according to your point of view?
The exhibition dedicated to Mary Shelley Frankenstein that I will organize together with fifteen other designers of the Royal College of Art in London! (Horror Show! Frankenstein Reimagined 8 Egerton Garden Mews, SW3 2EH, London).