For over ﬁfteen years, Dylan van den Berg and Wieki Somers have worked together as Studio Wieki Somers on a body of work that combines innovation and tradition with wonder. The designers work and ethos are shared in an exhibition, presented as part of the Musée de design et darts appliqués contemporains
(mudac) Carte Blanche series until 11 February 2018.
Astonished by a general lack of consideration for our environment, the design duo has continuously questioned why things are as they are, exploring the signiﬁcance and deeper meanings that lie hidden in our rituals of daily use. Out of the Ordinary oﬀers an intuitive and contemplative journey that explores the oeuvre of the Studio via ﬁfteen diﬀerent projects, delving into some of its research themes to reveal how the Studios work transforms the ordinary.
In an exhibition created speciﬁcally for the warm and intimate space of the museum, Studio Wieki Somers has constructed a series of areas where visitors are invited to enter its world and develop a connection with the works and with the art of looking. To capture this secret feeling, the Studio has designed a special colour plan, where hues relate to the pieces and themes of each room, and every window is opened to let in natural light.
Opening the windows also allows the pieces to connect to the outside world, notes Wieki Somers. For example, Chimney Pots stand in line with the orange roof tiles of the buildings surrounding the museum and through the windows behind Bathboat, one can see Lake Geneva and imagine a bobbling ﬁshing boat.
Fascinated by the unexpected qualities of everyday objects, Van den Berg and Somers attempt to bring the soul of an object to life again in their practice, with a poetic association, a ﬂeeting encounter or a subtle touch, all of which can all act as the basis of a new design.
Chantal ProdHom, director of mudac; Studio Wieki Somers work has always impressed me by the apparent simplicity of the forms and shapes which opens a very deep and sophisticated dimension when you look at the pieces more precisely. I like this double shock eﬀect which involves the perception of the viewer and then the practice of the user by opening an unpredictable world.
Lines and circles, light material and heavy counter weights, Western and Eastern aesthetics, soft colours and dark structures are playing an amazing choreography where each object becomes an actor
While Studio Wieki Somers is noted for its exceptional and distinctive visual language and the high quality of its craftsmanship is also considered out of the ordinary, the research that precedes the design is more important than strict design principles.
Our work is connected by a free, open-minded, probing approach to research rather than immutable design principles, says Dylan van den Berg. The fascinations that lie at the base of our design research frequently recur, for example, magical reality, the protagonist, strange combinations, the past, and nature.
Presented in terms of these research themes, rather than chronologically, Out of the Ordinary explores the art of looking via ﬁfteen projects, where the attention to detail and technical ingenuity are combined with unusual storylines.
In the run-up to the show, Studio Wieki Somers commissioned photographer Elspeth Diederix to capture these fascinations and a presentation of her photographs complements the exhibition.