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"EASY DUTCH" - Aesthetic Design takes New York at Totem Gallery
April 12 - May 13, 2001


Totem Gallery, New York's preeminent design gallery, is proud to present "Easy Dutch," featuring designers and artists MNO (Jan Melis and Ben Oostrum), textile artist Fransje Killaars and ceramic designer Vincent De Rijk. "Easy Dutch" is sponsored by the Mondriaan Foundation, The General Consulate of the Netherlands in New York, and co-sponsored by Bombay Sapphire, Glaceau Water and Go-Go Energy Drinks.

"Easy Dutch" is a contextual showcase for a new wave of Dutch design that is taking the reigns from established Dutch masters like Droog, Artifort and Pastoe. Already established names in the Netherlands, Oostrum, Melis, Killaars and De Rijk are characterized by their accented hands-on approach to design. The hands-on approach is typical of all Dutch design, but spurred by an increasing lack of industrial collaboration and an enormous breadth in the Dutch design community, dirty hands are more than ever a part of a day's work. Producing (or at least developing) the prototype oneself has become a crucial determinant of the quality of the objects. The absence of local industry also means designers are not tied to any one particular material - they are open-minded enough to experiment with anything from wood and plastic, to recycled fabrics. A sense of rebellion against the uniformity of industrial products prevails. "Easy Dutch" is design delivered straight from this creative, non-pigeonholed environment.

The design world of Holland is a manifold one, increasingly influence by global developments. Different waves of design coexist, some bigger than others. "Easy Dutch" exhibits the front-runners of so-called aesthetic design, where the designer is there merely to please with original concepts, tactile and comfortable materials, and enjoyable shapes and colors. The designs radiate a positive atmosphere, and distinguish themselves by being high quality and limited edition. The concepts behind the designs are democratic, in the sense that their intellectual basis is understandable for more than the design elite. In terms of function, shape, material, color and expression, the design represented at "Easy Dutch" have intelligent but understandable parameters. At the same time you can observe the borders between all types of art and applied art diminish. For aesthetic designers, there is hardly any difference in approach to making an art piece and making a design piece - only the demands of production and comfort that more often than not is a challenge rather than impediment.

There will be much to surprise and entertain the visitor, despite the relatively small area of the gallery. Amongst other designs, MNO presents for the first time in the United States the "Pill," a capsule of rotation-molded PE rubber filled with soft foam rubber, and the "Donut," a seating object of elastic foam with a polyurethane coating. Both designs created a stir when they were launched at 100% Design in London six months ago. In addition, there will be new lighting designs and accessories, as well as "The Module, " a sensational coffee table, stool or cabinet. Vincent de Rijk shows his recently completed ceramic series of plates, bowls, cups and vases, in a specially designed display. New models of his polyester liquid dishes will also be shown. De Rijk's colorful and highly original ceramic and polyester resin creations show that what aesthetic design sometimes lack in glamour, it more than makes up for in imagination and playfulness. Killaars will launch an new and colorful installation. Drawing on scenes from everyday life in the Netherlands as well as travels in the Far East, Killaars' installations bring to life colors so strong and vivid they will make you blink. You will probably find yourself lingering longer than expected.
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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