Underfull Tablecloth by Kristine Bjaadal
by sabine7 / March 5, 2010

Subtlety is a key factor in recent work by Norway's Kristine Bjaadal. It's a slow reveal when anything is spilled on the Underfull tablecloth; a layered image comes to life, released by a happy accident. The Underskog textile hides a secondary pattern that will replace the initial texture once it is worn down. The Undertone dinnerware reflects colour from underneath. Now it's time for Bjaadal to reveal more.


What has drawn you to the use of such subtlety in your designs?

In our society we have an increasingly superficial relation to the objects we surround ourselves with. We throw away tons of functioning products just because we lose interest in them. A product that can tell a story in some way - by surprising you, letting you discover new levels, or even let you influence the product's appearance over time - will be connected to personal memories, and is something you would want to keep for a long time.


But storytelling in designed objects often ends in too obvious gimmicks. Subtlety and layered stories are important tools to avoid products that are not much more than gimmicks.


What are the reactions when people become aware of the changes within the pieces?

This was something I really could observe during my exhibition at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. What caught my attention and fascinated me was that people from different countries had very different reactions. Watching Underfull tablecloth, British people were astonished on an intellectual level and described the tablecloth as 'brilliant' and 'genius', while most Swedish people were struck on an emotional and sentimental level, using words like 'poetic' and 'awesome'. Spanish people, on the other hand, saw the playfulness and everyday enjoyment.


By the way, the word 'under' has a double meaning in Norwegian: 'under' and 'wonder'.


It is fascinating to watch you develop similar themes by using a variety of materials. Did you set out to apply this idea to different textures and textiles? What have been some of the challenges?

With 'sustainability through emotional attachment' as an overall focus, I set out with a theme and a scene: subtle surprises in a dining room environment. Then I started to think about the different products used, and different situations that might occur. Are there any negative situations that could be turned into something positive?


I started to play with various ideas. Even though my background is furniture design, I didn't want to limit myself to working with furniture only, but rather let the possibilities in the particular environment lead the way.

Being a furniture designer working with textiles and china, a big challenge was, of course, to familiarise myself with new materials and techniques.


What is next in this "Under" line? Can we expect more textile projects?

At the time, I have no idea. I guess I will continue working with a situation rather than a product as a starting point, and see where it leads me - it's absolutely possible that it will lead towards new textile projects.

What I do know is that "under" definitely will be important to me for a long time to come.


+ kristinebjaadal.com


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