Beyond the Surface
Vitra Design Museum, Weil/Rhein
– 20 January 2019
“Christien Meindertsma. Beyond the Surface” is the first international solo exhibition by the Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma. She is particularly interested in industrial production and design work processes which is why not only finished products, but also prototypes, photographs, and material samples are on display.
Meindertsma herself describes her work as “Documentary Design” – a creative process in which every work step is documented and the end result is the combination of all these individual steps, instead of a self-contained and complete, haptic product. She sees design as a medium of criticism, especially of our consumer behaviour, and as a way of changing perspectives and adopting new attitudes. The exhibition concept is based on the designer’s archival approach and looks like a three-dimensional documentary publication. Projects such as “One Sheep Sweater” from 2010, in which she made a jumper from the wool of a single sheep, and “Flax Chair” from 2015, an item of furniture made from the sustainable material of flax, for which she has already received two design awards, are on display. Her creative work focuses on life cycles – the origin of the raw material, processing it, the product, and what happens to it at the end of its life. Just as important to her is the interaction with the people behind the individual production steps. Only by being in conversation can we find out about a product and obtain important ideas about the form and colour of the project, she says. She takes the view that producing things locally can have a lasting influence on people’s consumer behaviour. If consumers knew where and how the product was produced, their relationship to it would change and this in turn would influence how it was used and disposed of.