“The common thread is that all of the designers selected are working with different materials in new and unexpected ways. Either through taking traditional processes and techniques and re-thinking the way that they work with those techniques or by completely inventing new materials and techniques in unexpected ways either through technology or by hand.”
– Rive Roshan, curators of the Dutch collection, “The Healing Collection”
“The Healing Collection” is part of the Virtual Design Destination presented by Adorno at London Design Festival, 12 – 20 September 2020. Join us for a tour of the virtual environment and collection with curators Rive Roshan in conversation with Kristen de la Vallière of @sayhito_ on Saturday, 19 September at 10:00 AM BST. “The Healing Collection” is kindly supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK.
Reflected in the still waters of the Frisian Islands, mirrored forms play with our perception and a sense of calm emanates from objects which silently rise from the landscape. With its intrinsic importance for life, water provides the perfect environment for reflection and a cleansing of the mind and body. As the sun rises, three floating vignettes come into view, presenting a collection focused on encouraging the creation of rituals and healing. Moving across the water’s surface, each calm, reflective space offers a meditative moment, encouraging audiences to consider the ways in which this new reality can work towards healing, new perspectives, and sustainable solutions.
From this landscape in the Netherlands, “The Healing Collection”, curated by Rive Roshan, addresses the current themes of our time by looking at how designers and artists are influencing the process of healing the planet, society, and the self. These three themes are represented in the materials, forms, and methods used to create these visually captivating pieces. Within the larger contemporary Dutch design scene, there is a similar interest in developing new approaches, working sustainably, and creating connections between maker, material, and audience. In this collection, sustainable materials such as Studio Lindey Cafsia & Studio Carbon’s bio-material dungse and Studio Yoon Seok-hyeon’s use of ott glaze; innovative technological design processes like Fransje Gimbrère’s 3D-woven textiles and Rive Roshan’s 3D-printed sand furniture; and the architectural forms of A. Vetra’s hand-knotted wool rug and BCXSY’s stone bench all speak to the unexpected and inventive ways makers are playing a role in shifting their practices towards these themes.
The Healing Collection
What are the main themes presented across the works in this collection?
The underlying theme of “The Healing Collection” is the idea of creating new rituals. The collection creates a narrative of three rituals made up of works by various designers working with various materials and techniques. Each ritual tells an abstracted narrative around Healing Society, Healing the Individual, and Healing the Earth.
All the works are reflected in a surrounding body of water, which shifts in colour, reflected and distorted through interactions by visitors to the environment. Water is one of the most precious materials in the world which every human being needs in order to exist. We chose to set the scenes in water as it is a symbol of cleansing, energy, and healing.
Which three words would you use to describe the contemporary design scene in the Netherlands?
Progressive, Informal, Experimental.
The contemporary design scene in the Netherlands is not bound by existing traditions and expectations. The general non-design society is interested in contemporary design and events such as Dutch Design Week enable designers to launch new ideas and concepts nationally and internationally. Contemporary designers are very much interested in environmental concerns, social design, and creating work which connects on an artistic level to individuals.
Why have you chosen the scenography of the Frisian Islands for this collection?
We have chosen water as the scenography for the exhibition because most of the Netherlands was once sea. Over the centuries, the country has been built on water. We like the idea of taking everything back to placing it on water, something that is very difficult and unpractical to do in real-life. During Dutch Design Week 2019, we created an installation where we created a body of water that our works hovered over, visitors were not sure if they were looking at a mirror, or glass, or water. It is a magical resource which plays with perception and brings about a calming and healing effect in people.
The theme of “healing”, as noted in your curatorial statement, can be applied to a number of topics – especially in a year like 2020. Can you describe your curatorial thoughts when selecting pieces for this collection?
The last six months have given us all a lot of space to reflect and think about the directions that we are heading in. We considered many different topics whilst curating the collection and selecting the works. It can be broken down into the three themes of healing that we wished to express through the collection:
HEALING THE INDIVIDUAL – We have become more aware of ourselves and our roles in these periods of isolation. We wanted to show this through selecting some pieces which are about the patience of making intricate works by hand. The work of Fransje Gimbrère and A. Vetra for us symbolise this concept. Both are textiles based works made completely by hand. Each [serving] a different function.
HEALING SOCIETY – This theme is about coexistence. With all the shifts in the world towards regressive governments against diversity and immigration we want to reveal the beauty of fusing culture and society together. As we all know, the design scene itself is not visibly culturally diverse. We would like to see a shift in the way designers are represented.
We wanted to show the diversity of the Dutch design scene. We very consciously curated the exhibition based on the people behind the works and were very interested in personally seeing how their cultural backgrounds and knowledge of other cultures might influence the work that they create. These are designers from all over the world who choose to base themselves here.
The Dungse project, for example, is a collaboration between Dutch-Antillean designer Lindey Cafsia and Indian designer Itika Gupta of Studio Carbon. The research in the project is based on an ancient material which is still used in India for its properties. The pair are combining their knowledge and expertise to re-invent the material and alter society’s perception of cow dung.
Yoon Seok-hyeon, a Korean born designer based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, works with traditional Korean lacquering techniques to re-think the way that we glaze ceramics.
HEALING THE EARTH – As we have all seen, the last months have shown us that the earth can heal if we take care of it and treat it well and with respect. Whilst many designers are currently looking at creating new materials and questioning old ones, we are moving towards a progressive future of ideas to help heal the earth. BCXSY, for example, created objects which use the often discarded parts of stone which are imperfect for regular use. Whilst we, as Rive Roshan, collaborated with Sandhelden to create objects made with 3D printed sand. Questioning the function of materials and resources is important for the future.
The common thread is that all of the designers selected are working with different materials in new and unexpected ways. Either through taking traditional processes and techniques and re-thinking the way that they work with those techniques or by completely inventing new materials and techniques in unexpected ways either through technology or by hand.
Do you think this shift towards healing – whether this is developing more sustainable materials or commenting on social issues through design – will play in the Dutch design scene going forward? If so, why and how?
Definitely. The topics discussed in our collection are already being explored by designers in Holland on many levels. We have touched on a selection relating to a perspective that we wish to show, however, there are many many designers challenging technology, materiality, science, and society to create new solutions and imagine a new or different future.
With reference to the Virtual Design Destination’s theme, how does this collection respond to the so-called “New Reality”?
The collection is completely based on the New Reality. A new progressive reality where we work towards being better individuals, caring for others and for the environment. This is the new reality we hope to see.
Has your approach to the curation of this collection been affected by the ongoing uncertainty in the world? Why or why not?
For sure. As mentioned above.
Meet Rive Roshan
Rive Roshan is the artistic practice of Ruben de la Rive Box and Golnar Roshan, working at the intersection of art and design. The studio creates limited edition objects and immersive installations to connect with people intuitively and leave impressions that last a lifetime. Through exploring the interplay of light, colour, and material, the studio aims to create sensorial wonder and emotional well-being. A deep interest in colour, texture, and materiality leads to an aesthetic of raw beauty.
As founders and curators of Form Editions, Rive Roshan has brought together many designers and artists in exhibitions across Europe, creating worlds with a progressively driven narrative. They aim to curate stories that bring about awareness, diversity, and change through the transformative power of creativity.
Which aspects of curating a collection for a virtual exhibition have intrigued and/or surprised you?
We like the idea of being able to show work in a way that it can’t be seen in reality. The concept of floating on water is something that intrigues us and we are excited to be able to play with the concept further in a virtual way. We have also been amazed by the way that 2D images can be converted into 3D models. It’s a new-reality in itself.
Whilst we feel that there will be a challenge in connecting with people in the way that a physical exhibition draws an audience, we hope that the Virtual Design Destination audience will be able to find a different and more dreamy way of connecting with the works. It is amazing that you can explore every object in such great detail.
What are you most excited to share (ex. thematically, a piece, a designer, etc.) with the Virtual Design Destination audience?
We are most excited to share ideas! We see the role of curating as a responsibility to have a voice and to show an alternative perspective. For us, this is what drives us to curate. When you can bring together many ideas of many people into one narrative it is the most powerful way to tell a story. The diversity in approach and people is something we are excited to share with the LDF and the world.
“The Healing Collection” is kindly supported by: