To start 2019 Room On The Roof wanted to mark 100 years of Bauhaus and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eindhoven de Bijenkorf store designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. We invited multidisciplinary designer Emily Forgot to design a contemporary reflection on both of these events alongside taking inspiration from the architecture of our stores in Rotterdam, Den Haag, Amsterdam and Eindhoven – all of which are registered as monumental buildings.
Emily was given an access-all-areas pass to the archives of each of these stores. Years worth of photos were combed through with the content including Benno Premsela’s 1950s window displays to store events in the 1970s. The graphic heritage brought to life through posters and merchandising were just part of the story though. The architecture of each of the four monumental stores is unique and brimming with inspiration.
The first of the four design sets – Eindhoven – has been completed. It is on display in the Eindhoven windows for a month. Throughout this year we will continue to celebrate Bauhaus by revealing Emily’s reactions to Rotterdam, Den Haag and Amsterdam. The four will form a collection displayed in each store. Watch this space…
‘ONS HUIS, ONS THUIS’
The 1960s exhibition ‘Ons huis, ons thuis’ was devised by Benno Premsela while at de Bijenkorf in collaboration with Aldo van Eyck and Gerrit Rietveld. It featured period rooms showcasing modern living. The simple spaces were brought to life by artists from the Cobra movement. Customers were introduced to the newest colours and materials.
Gerrit Rietveld, a principle member of the Dutch artistic movement De Stijl, informs the maker to inscribe a verse from Der Aesthet by Christian Morgenstern on his red and blue chair ‘When I sit, I don’t want to sit as my seated flesh likes, but rather as my seated spirit would sit, if it wove the chair for itself.’ This quote guided Emily in her chair design. For the domestic object series she also explored the synthesis of art object and functional object alongside the play with 2D aesthetics and how they might be reinterpreted in 3D forms.
This piece was dreamed up while walking down a curved staircase designed by Gio Ponti in the Eindhoven store. Its design nods to two artworks gifted to the city by de Bijenkorf and positioned outside on the Piazza. The first; a steel pipe sculpture ‘Schoorsteenplastiek’ (chimney) by Frans Gast (1969) which has now been moved to Henri Dunant Park. And the second a futurist sculptural seat installation by Italian artist Mario Negri (1969).
Absorbing the patterns, shapes and colours of the tiled facade by Gio Ponti, Emily’s screen design tells the story of her exchange of ideas with the past. Her intuitive relationship with the geometric forms creates both a familiar and abstract aesthetic. Theo Van Doesburg’s 1917 front cover for De Stijl Magazine and Oskar Schlemmer’s relief artworks both have clear influences. While developing her designs in the tower Emily worked entirely with paper collage; this process can be seen in particular in this final piece.
Ponti and Rietveld and many of the Bauhaus designers were known for their multidisciplinary approach. They were graphic designers, sculptors, architects, material developers (Gio Ponti had his own bricks manufactured in a particular green wash). Emily explored how her inspirations could be brought to life in different domestic object forms. This curtain reflects on the Cobra textiles from the 1960s interiors.
This second piece is part of the interior collection “OUR HOUSE, OUR HOME” by Emily Forgot. The stained glass sections in the stairwell of de Bijenkorf in The Hague were the inspiration to make a series of 3 mobiles. Fragments and shapes from the windows have been processed into new playful structures.
The Staircase carpet by multidisciplinary artist Emily Forgot is inspired by the architectural stairwell, designed by Marcel Breuer, of the Bijenkorf in Rotterdam. The result is a domestic object that is influenced by the past but is relevant in the present.