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September 26, 2011

Curated by Héloise Park at the Aram Gallery, the Geenen & Hoon exhibition brings together two young furniture makers who approach design through structure—but from opposite ends of the nature-nurture spectrum. It is a good-looking show filled with the artifacts capable of depicting the design process succinctly: sketches, models, maquettes, prototypes and even machine-like molds.

“I’m not just making up shapes. I’m letting the shapes be defined by natural forces,” explains Bram Geenen, a graduate of Utrecht’s HKU who is now based in Amsterdam. Geenen often works in collaboration with tech companies and begins by repurposing their cutting-edge production techniques or materials, but winds up with organic forms derived from physics and the properties of his materials and “better, stronger, lighter, more sustainable products,” he says. “Today any shape you can imagine, you can build. It forces me to be very careful and honest in choosing my forms.”

London-based Il Hoon Roh, trained at the Architectural Association and as a product designer at the Royal College of Art, works from the point-of-view of nature and ends up with extraordinary machines that produce elastically oozing forms. His table on show has aesthetic qualities but its form actually illustrates how forces flow from the table top to the ground, he says. “The forms of nature are not accidental at all. The organic beauty is there for a reason.”

The show was filled with artifacts detailing the design process of both men.
The show was filled with artifacts detailing the design process of both men.
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Models for chairs by Bram Geenen.
Models for chairs by Bram Geenen.
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A mock-up of a stool by Geenen.
A mock-up of a stool by Geenen.
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Components and experiments that would eventually become Il Hoon’s pendant lamp.
Components and experiments that would eventually become Il Hoon’s pendant lamp.
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By pulling a vertical bar at the center of Il Hoon’s lamp, the user can alter the direction of the light to make it more diffuse or directed.
By pulling a vertical bar at the center of Il Hoon’s lamp, the user can alter the direction of the light to make it more diffuse or directed.
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A coffee table designed by Il Hoon beside the machine-like mold used to create its elastic forms.
A coffee table designed by Il Hoon beside the machine-like mold used to create its elastic forms.
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Here's a detail of the form used to shape the oozing top and legs of Il Hoon’s coffee table. The shape of the table actually illustrates the nature of the forces acting on its surfaces.
Here's a detail of the form used to shape the oozing top and legs of Il Hoon’s coffee table. The shape of the table actually illustrates the nature of the forces acting on its surfaces.
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More experiments into form and physics by Bram Geenen.
More experiments into form and physics by Bram Geenen.
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Geenen isn’t just “making up shapes.” He is choosing forms deliberately, and they often articulate the physics that is invisible to the naked eye.
Geenen isn’t just “making up shapes.” He is choosing forms deliberately, and they often articulate the physics that is invisible to the naked eye.
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Formal and material experiments, one of which was used to make a ceramic material both stronger and lighter.
Formal and material experiments, one of which was used to make a ceramic material both stronger and lighter.
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A small table by Hoon that allows visitors to see how the finished product was constructed from molded parts.
A small table by Hoon that allows visitors to see how the finished product was constructed from molded parts.
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In nature, form follows function naturally, which is Hoon’s preoccupation in the series of tabletops shown at the Aram Gallery.<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dwell/
In nature, form follows function naturally, which is Hoon’s preoccupation in the series of tabletops shown at the Aram Gallery.

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The show was filled with artifacts detailing the design process of both men.
The show was filled with artifacts detailing the design process of both men.

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