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Five minutes with… Piet Hein Eek

A wealth of new designs greeted us at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, where designer Piet Hein Eek has shown his work for years.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 13-04-2011

What's new this year?

"A range of products, from ceramics to glass, reclaimed materials and leftover wood that has been made into seating, as well as beautiful teak-wood furniture and a curvy glass cabinet."

Wow, that's a lot. Tell us about the reclaimed furniture.
"I bought 600 to 1000 cubic metres of wood some time ago which needed to be used up. The simplest way to make a seat is by stacking wooden blocks to form a chair or sofa. When we saw the result, it seemed like a good idea to use these huge pipes - waste material from my new location in Eindhoven - in the same way."

What about the glass vases?
"These were designed for the glass museum in Leerdam, who invited glass blowers from Africa and the Czech republic to the Netherlands, where they worked together on a project. We had to think of a way for everyone to work together so I suggested they blow glass simultaneously to see what would happen. The result is these vases."

And the ceramics?
"Well, these are Fair Trade Originals. When I was in Vietnam, I visited a ceramics factory where the owner wasn't satisfied with the thickness of her product; preferring the Chinese counterparts. I really wanted to play on that fact and designed really thick-walled ceramics - with clean, clear lines."

The glass cabinet seems a little different from your usual work.
"This is something quite out of sorts for me as I usually work with simplicity in form and construction. The cabinet was originally conceived as a commission for a shop in Germany who needed a curved counter and display cabinet. I redeveloped it as a modular system with curved parts, it's very developed; has an almost art deco feel to it. That makes it a great opposition to my other pieces."

You've been exhibiting at RO for some 5 years now, has anything changed?
"Not much luckily! It keeps heating better and more worldly, but, most importantly, the atmosphere has always remained the same."

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