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Main / 2003 / 2002 / 2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
Double Dutch 2:D/3:D At Totem Soho
An exploration of Graphic and Furniture Design from the Netherlands

May 17 - June 13, 2002


Totem, a multi-faceted company dedicated to promoting design through physical stores, exhibitions and educational multi-media brings another inspirational event to the New York design scene. The company was founded in 1997 by David Shearer to explore the meaning that inherently resides behind the best design available to the market through an educational process that focuses not just on objects but on the people and processes behind the design. Opening during the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York in May, Double Dutch takes an in-depth look at a country with a rich history of design and culture.

Focusing on the graphic design of the multi-disciplinary firm OPERA ontwerpers and book designer Irma Boom as well as furniture design from Artifort and Pastoe, Double Dutch looks at two sides of Dutch design as well as considering a bi-polar culture.

The exploration of the Dutch mind, persona, character and personality offers insight into the current plethora of art and design emanating from the Netherlands. Holland is a small country that in many ways is the face of Western Europe. Due to its global positioning and and an openness to other cultures, Holland doesn’t bother to dub TV programs so everyone speaks five languages.... This multicultural environment has created, at first glance; a country with no soul of it’s own. A dichotomy in contrasts...This dualism, some might call it cultural schizophrenia, brings the staid, conservative Dutch personality together with a social outlook where anything goes. Dutch design to this end also exhibits tendencies that have at once catapulted the personas and products to the forefront of the world with exhibitions, books and a plethora of press. Take for example Droog design or the Dutch Individuals…. Even on a more minute scale of Marre Morrel or Harry and Camilla…Dutch design is here to stay - whether we like it or not…the little Dutch boy has pulled his finger from the dike and the flood is about to begin...

OPERA ontwerpers was founded in 1981. Since 1994 OPERA ontwerpers has two offices (Amsterdam / Breda) and is active in three design disciplines:three dimensional, graphic and multimedia design. When work requires a strictly three dimensional or graphic approach, OPERA designers work separately. OPERA interactive media cooperate closely with OPERA graphic design in making websites and cd-roms; and also with OPERA three dimensional design when interactive displays, as part of the exhibition design, are concerned.

Irma Boom Graphic designer, an Amsterdam based designer, has established an international reputation with nearly 200 books that she has designed. Her work is recognised for the uncompromising attitude in approaching projects, reinterpreting the facts, and accepting nothing else but total freedom. Ms. Boom received her degree at the AKI Art School in Enschedé, Holland. For five years, she worked as a senior designer for the Government Printing & Publishing Office in The Hague. She is now a freelance designer. She has taught at the Gerritt Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht. She has also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been published in I.D. and exhibited in the United States, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. She was appointed lecturer in graphic design at Yale in 1992.

Artifort produced and sold for more than 100 years furniture for the residential and contract market. Set up as "garnisseur-tapisseur", expanded to become by the late 20s a producer of well designed furniture and internationally known. Kho Liang Ie was the designer who in 1958 started the formation of an international design team. Kho recruited the French designer Pierre Paulin and the Englishman Geoffrey Harcourt, and by the end of the sixties the creativity of these two designers has established for Artifort a world-wide reputation. The colourful and revolutionary sculptures for upholstered seating of Pierre Paulin opened a new world, while Geoffrey Harcourt attracted much admiration with his contract seating which ranged from beam seating systems for waiting areas to office and conference chairs.

Pastoe founded in 1913, Pastoe was one of the first companies in the Netherlands to mass-produce well designed, modern furniture after World War II. The company began with a simple mission: to create timeless design based on simple geometric shapes and minimalist detail. Today, almost nine decades after Pastoe's first products were introduced in Europe, the company continues to build on its past with an eye towards the future. By consistently working with designers that share the company's disregard for whim or trend, Pastoe has the unique distinction of having some of the most sought after original designs on the vintage market, and some of the most innovative new products of today. And, if the past is truly an indication of the future, these newer designs, like their predecessors, are certain to become the heirlooms of tomorrow.


Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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