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Dutch Design Week 2014 Preview: Dutch Landscapes Collection

Four unique design couples have created eight handmade rugs from eight different perspectives.

Details: In collaboration with the eight designers ICE International is presenting the Dutch landscapes collection at Dutch Design Week 2014. Claire & Roderick Vos (Studio Roderick Vos), Jeanine & Piet Hein Eek, Petra Janssen & Edwin Vollebergh (Studio Boot) and Kiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleiswijk will be showing their unique designs.

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Piet Hein Eek: “I thought it would be an interesting feature if the carpet in a waiting room or lobby could also be used as a place to sit; this formed the foundation for the measurements and the design of my Dutch Landscape.”

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Jeanine Eek Keizer: “In the 1980s, my parents had a glamorous Italian design sofa in their living room, with black and gold strips that daringly ran over the couch in a diagonal way. It was the age of big TV shows and my two sisters and I used to hang out on the sofa to watch them together. The sofa was a dominant diva: my fashionable mother had adapted her whole interior to match. For me that role – the foundation of an interior – should be for the rug. All furniture is placed on top or alongside it, so it should be a design in which aesthetics and practicality merge. This is why my Dutch Landscape is less distinctive than our sofa used to be, but still expressive enough to play a leading role in the house. I usually carry out my work in ceramics in my own studio, where I see the result of every action and the lines are short. It took a bit of getting used to the distance with the rug knotters in Nepal and it was somewhat nerve-racking, but the process agreed with me so well, I would enjoy doing it again.”

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Joost van Bleiswijk: “Stereotypes characterised my graduation work, and years later I still love them. It is exactly because things are so well known that they can be played with. For my Dutch Landscape I made sketches of archetypical rugs: a flat surface on the floor, a border, a design in the centre. I just drew what a rug is to me, only using a pencil, crude and no-nonsense, Bobʼs your uncle. I focused on the presence of a rug and not on creating a loud graphic on the floor. The design is very simple, but that is where the challenge lies: it is very difficult to make the end product look as simple. It all depends on the details. Scratching with a pencil results in different hues of grey, while in some spots the paper shines through the pencil impressions. It is difficult to mimic the effect on fabric. It would have never worked with mechanized production, but it worked with refined handwork. It started with countless tests and samples. It is very commendable that, even in these difficult economic times, a company invests in creativity and distinguishes itself with an exciting project such as this one. From this perspective ICE International is an international frontrunner.”

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Kiki van Eijk: “Working with watercolours fills me with almost child-like amazement. When I make a brush stroke on aquarelle paper and see various gradations and colour hues develop, I become inspired. This is why I also regularly use it in my sketches. I was curious if I could capture my simple yet subtle painting in a rug, since I believe a rug equals a piece of art for the floor. In my work I often merge the sketch and end product. The result is almost better than my original painting. Because ICE International makes everything by hand, the yarns were dyed to exactly match my drawing: from subtly light to bright, just like with watercolours. The Dutch Landscape was also made with silk. Normally watercolours have no shine, but in the rug, the silky glow creates the liquid effect of a brush stroke. The workflow during the whole project was very pleasant and almost fluent. The great thing about working with a Dutch company is that they are efficient, without being hurried. There was plenty of focus on each step of the process.”

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Claire Vos Teeuwen: “To me, technical possibilities mark the starting point for each project. The unique post treatments and production methods we were introduced to by ICE International were the inspiration for my Dutch Landscape. As the only one in the series, this rug was tufted by hand and then sheared to create a relief in the texture. There is a special trick to that: the relief was created in two contrasting colours over the central axis. This creates a chameleon effect: walking around the rug, you see different colours from different sides. For this reason I would like to see this rug being used wall to wall in a public space. I think it would have a hugely surprising effect to enter a space and see a rug in a specific colour, and then see a totally different colour when turning back from the other side of the space! The play of colours is strengthened by the degradé. This also typifies my work: whether it involves colour, motif or material, the gradient is a constant source of inspiration. Coming from a family with a history of four generations of textile designers, this project was perfect to express my love of textiles.”

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Roderick Vos: “A two-dimensional archaeological research into traditional patterns of Tibetan rugs is a good way to describe my Dutch Landscape. It is also an homage to the craftsmanship of the rug knotters. I have always been fascinated by hand-knotted Tibetan rugs. Perhaps it is because of my partial Asian background that I am so attracted to the multi-coloured designs. I made a selection of the most interesting patterns from the past 200 years. I took fragments from these motifs, translated them and then placed them in an architec-tonic grid like a puzzle. It is my way of capturing the rich Tibetan culture and showcasing it to others is something I am passionate about. Due to the high quality of the handwork this rug will last for generations, which is also important to me. The authenticity and craftsmanship accommodated by ICE International is unique. There is only a handful of these types of companies in the Netherlands.”

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Edwin Vollebergh: Motherʼs Little Helper: “there’s a little yellow pill… and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day”. My tapestry was inspired by the music of The Rolling Stones. It is an homage to all housewives who are trapped in their homes and daily grind, struggling with all their obligations and tasks. Good husbands will buy this tapestry as a tribute to their wives. It is a strong image, but it will go anywhere: in an aesthetical, empty, colourless interior or in busy, baroque surroundings. Translating a drawing into materials and colours in this weaving technique was an exciting experience. In my work for Studio Boot I make lots of posters, and am used to a wealth of printing and reproduction techniques, but this was a production method I was not familiar with. I thought the Dutch Landscapes title was right on: the rugs or tapestries are almost as flat as the Dutch landscape, yet each designer has created a pers-pective by integrating higher and lower segments, shearing or by working with different materials.

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Petra Janssen: “Why isnʼt there a Dutch equivalent for the Persian rug? And would I be able to design one? These are the questions that formed the foundation for my design process and the challenge I set myself. Looking at Dutch folklore, it features a wealth of form language: with many colours and different patterns that were brought from the world over via the Dutch entrepreneurial spirit. Traditional dress and the house of Sijtje Boes in Marken (a former fishermenʼs island in the Netherlands) provided a plethora of inspiration. My Dutch Landscape follows the style characteristics of a Persian rug: decorative with stylised flower and leave shapes and bright colours. Full and bright colours are important in my work for Studio Boot and the orange colour in the rug was developed specifically for this purpose; it wasnʼt available this bright. The decorative border is also reflected in my Dutch interpretation and I included a cross in the motif which was borrowed from traditional dress, in which various ribbons, strips and applications were used to bring together different patterns and designs. This is also why I see my rug as a sort of sample sheet which features a large diversity of techniques; height and depth differences and various weaving techniques make it a very strokeable rug.”

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