“It was very lucky and very last minute says,” Nacho Carbonell, one of the collective’s founders. “In two days we would have been on the street and then the offer came.”
During Dutch Design week members of the loose collective exhibited small personal projects or processes that they have been working on. “I wanted to reveal how my mind works,” says Carbonell.
Objects, sketches, samples little glass jars filled with metal dust, coils of wire and a sense of colour. “From all of this you can see how I make connections and how things come about,” he says.
Now Carbonell is working on a new lamp, a commission from the BSL Gallery in Paris. “I am experimenting with how things can be both transparent and opaque at once,” he says admitting that his mental state is not what it was when he was based in the church. “This space is good, but I could never have made the bird tree here,” he says. “I am really questioning what I can do next.”
Another of Atelierdorp’s founders, Julien Carretero, has been busy experimenting with a new was to cast metal using a fabric clamped in a steel stencil rather than a traditional plaster mould. “I am using a very heat-resistant, high-tech fabric made from silicia and casting liquid aluminium in it at 680 degree,” he explains.
Carretero’s motivation was to find a way to create a serial production piece with metal casting as the start point. “But that particular process requires too many steps,” he says. “Every time a piece is created, the mould is destroyed and you have to start again from scratch. I wanted to find a simple way to solve that.”
Aluminium is a very difficult material and the process has proved harder than Carretero expected. For more than one year his experiments ended in frustrating failures. A film depicting the myriad of complications runs behind the final prototype – a chair.
The main problem was that the weight and pressure of the metal would cause the fabric mould to collapse. When the fabric was stitched back together, the stitches would burn on impact. “Every time we improved something we created a new problem,” says Carretero.
But despite some concerns with thickness, Carretero is pleased with his first functional prototype. “I want the seat bit to be thinner,and the overall propetions to be re-adjusted, but other than that this is starting to look promising."
Scottish designer Fraser Ross came to Holland to do an internship with Carbonell. For Dutch Design Week he exhibited “A Breath of Life”, a series of creatures in glass domes that look like dead specimens. “If you breathe carbon dioxide into the system, you can create a brief moment of life,” he says. “The tress, branches and leaves light up and literally grow.”
It was a beautiful concept and presentation that interorets death as a temporary state and celebrates the interaction of humanity and nature.
“Of course that is not really how it works,” Ross says. “Inside is a pressure sensor. When you blow it uses the small amount of heat from your breath to activate the mechanism.” Images: Carbonell, Carretero's chair, "A Breath of Life".
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