Nº 266

Soft Skills

Foams are easily identifiable on the basis of certain characteristics. Their cellular structure means that even the slightest pressure causes them to shrink significantly in volume. Synthetic foam is a soft, low-density material, which in many respects resembles natural sponges and is to be found in countless objects of everyday use. Pot scrubbers are a classic example in this context. The designer duo Putput turned the spotlight on this everyday object back in 2012, when they created “Popsicles”, a series of images that capture the seemingly banal in the elevated style of classical object photography. Now, in 2016, foams have once again become a focus of attention for the design scene.





Amba Molly, Eefiene Bolhuis, and Eva Gevaert, known as the Dutch designer trio De Intuïtiefabriek (↗ form 252, p. 96), took part in a project called Another Perspective initiated by the internationally renowned tile and sanitary fittings maker Cotto for this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. Inspired by Cotto’s Pætchwork collection, they created Waterscape, an aesthetically appealing set of building blocks (↗ form 264, p. 6), which make ideal bath toys because of their floatability. Made of synthetic foam and pumice stone, the blocks come in six different colours and are sized and shaped so that they can be combined as desired.






Softie Wanted is a series of floor coverings and seating objects created by Mandy Roos and Victoria Ledig (↗ form 261, p. 12) with a view to maximising the haptic experience. It was first unveiled at the collective show “Form and Seek” held in parallel to the Salone del Mobile 2016 in Milan. The two designers took a profane material, industrially made foam, and through the contemporary application of colour opened it up to a potential new area of use as an interior design element, liberating it from the need to remain hidden inside upholstery or underneath cushion covers.





Jo Nagasaka and his team from Schemata Architects completed the Sponge Table project for the shop at the museum 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo in February 2016. The table was to be first and foremost lightweight; but it was also to be built so that it could be set up or dismantled without difficulty by just one person. Nagasaka therefore decided to give it a foam core encased inside two thin wood veneers. This allows the table to be broken down into its constituent parts without the use of force and reassembled either as a display table or as a room divider, depending on the shop’s needs.




The Copenhagen-based designer duo Putput consists of the Swiss Stephan Friedli and the Dane Ulrik Martin Larsen. They began producing still life photography at the interface of design and sculpture in 2011, specialising in works that turn on ambiguously staged objects of everyday use. The results might be described as a kind of hybrid of pop art and surrealism. In addition to their classic “Popsicles”, they have also created a project called “Soft Construction”, which redefines a familiar material. This series shows various standard cinder blocks remade in different types of foam. The shift in material re-establishes each brick as a decorative object, while at the same time stripping it utterly of its original function.


Nº 272

form Design Magazine

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Die Kunst mit dem Zeichen

Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt

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form Edition #3

Wooden Object by Kai Linke

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Higher Faster Further
Technik auf den Leib gerückt


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Setting Sail