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New Dutch Design: Aldo Bakker

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Familiar objects take surprising new forms in the hands of experimental designer Aldo Bakker.

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  Bakker’s 2010-2011 3dwn1up stool is crafted from elm and comprises a seat and four legs, one of which functions as an unconventional backrest

    Bakker’s 2010-2011 3dwn1up stool is crafted from elm and comprises a seat and four legs, one of which functions as an unconventional backrest

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  “Every material has its own beauty, but I’m mostly drawn to wood because of its variety of texture, smell, and color,” Bakker says. Maquettes made of balsa wood and plaster are displayed in his studio and are used as guides for skilled Dutch or European artisans who produce the finished pieces in silver, glass, ceramic, and copper.

    “Every material has its own beauty, but I’m mostly drawn to wood because of its variety of texture, smell, and color,” Bakker says. Maquettes made of balsa wood and plaster are displayed in his studio and are used as guides for skilled Dutch or European artisans who produce the finished pieces in silver, glass, ceramic, and copper.

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  When working in the studio, Bakker says, “I always need to speak my idea out loud. Speaking and sketching at the same time help me to explain the idea. Then I do all the technical drawings myself because they drag me out of the illusion that I am almost there.”

    When working in the studio, Bakker says, “I always need to speak my idea out loud. Speaking and sketching at the same time help me to explain the idea. Then I do all the technical drawings myself because they drag me out of the illusion that I am almost there.”

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  Bakker’s girlfriend, fashion and furniture designer Brecht Duijf, sometimes suggests colors for designs. “I would not have been able to think of these colors,” Bakker says, holding up tiny ceramic chips she selected to determine the palette for Jug, a water carafe with a neck bent over a drinking cup, looking like a primordial creature feeding its young.

    Bakker’s girlfriend, fashion and furniture designer Brecht Duijf, sometimes suggests colors for designs. “I would not have been able to think of these colors,” Bakker says, holding up tiny ceramic chips she selected to determine the palette for Jug, a water carafe with a neck bent over a drinking cup, looking like a primordial creature feeding its young.

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  Tonus is a sculptural stool made in 2010 from a solid block of oak that continues to swell and shrink like a “living, breathing” creature.

    Tonus is a sculptural stool made in 2010 from a solid block of oak that continues to swell and shrink like a “living, breathing” creature.

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  Bakker has designed many new kinds of vessels for producer and curator Thomas Eyck, his friend and first patron, including a watering can made of a single copper tube. “With the watering can, I questioned the relationship of its elements. I made the spout, handle, and container continuous and the same size. Everything is now container, handle, and spout at the same time.”

    Bakker has designed many new kinds of vessels for producer and curator Thomas Eyck, his friend and first patron, including a watering can made of a single copper tube. “With the watering can, I questioned the relationship of its elements. I made the spout, handle, and container continuous and the same size. Everything is now container, handle, and spout at the same time.”

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  A porcelain reservoir for vinegar.

    A porcelain reservoir for vinegar.

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  Among Bakker’s cherished objects that began as shapes with no fixed purpose is the 2006 three-legged Urushi stool coated with several layers of transparent Japanese lacquer that seem to “tremble next to each other.” That piece later evolved into Stool, an all-wood version, which won international plaudits on its release in 2010.“Home is very important to me but Brecht has more exquisite ideas about the interior,” Bakker says of their 850-square-foot harbor-front apartment. Duijf designed their coffee table—a beanbag-style base with a solid onyx top—and also scattered tons of little Ikea cushions onto a navy blue couch that the couple’s baby, Zora, likes to play on. Bentwood chairs and a leg splint by Charles and Ray Eames are complemented by sheepskin rugs and Bakker’s sample Stool.

    Among Bakker’s cherished objects that began as shapes with no fixed purpose is the 2006 three-legged Urushi stool coated with several layers of transparent Japanese lacquer that seem to “tremble next to each other.” That piece later evolved into Stool, an all-wood version, which won international plaudits on its release in 2010.“Home is very important to me but Brecht has more exquisite ideas about the interior,” Bakker says of their 850-square-foot harbor-front apartment. Duijf designed their coffee table—a beanbag-style base with a solid onyx top—and also scattered tons of little Ikea cushions onto a navy blue couch that the couple’s baby, Zora, likes to play on. Bentwood chairs and a leg splint by Charles and Ray Eames are complemented by sheepskin rugs and Bakker’s sample Stool.

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