me Job, you Vlisco #DDW2013
Vlisco, a textile brand that creates distinctive printed fabrics, showcased their work during Dutch Design Week in an exhibition that unveils the company history, current state of affairs and some steps into the future of their colorful oeuvre. Although well known in African cultures and global textile industry for their organic wax production process and bold aesthetics Vlisco has yet to enchant the European crowds.
“We decided to present our brand at Dutch Design Week because of the Dutch and Design context: to show that it is Dutch design. Even when the initial inspiration was Indonesian textile design, and over the years we have developed African context into the images, all visuals and products are designed in the Netherlands, already for more than a hundred years.” creative director Roger Gerards states.
Walking through the exhibition my eye was drawn to a Congo chair, designed by Theo Ruth in 1952, and more specifically to its upholstery that stood out amongst the other printed textiles. The funky pattern manifested itself brilliantly on an chair named after an African country. As one of the latest works of Vlisco this piece turned out to be a collaboration with Studio Job, notorious for their redefinitions of decorative arts for the contemporary age. The limited edition fabric titled L’afrique is an intriguing jungle of African symbols and icons, a meeting of both Job’s and Vlisco’s qualities. “Job Smeets contacted me to suggest a collaboration on a textile design for their Land Rover project, which will be launched at the Pan art fair in Amsterdam. Besides the fact that the visual language between both our brands has similar semantics, Job was also interested in the arts & craft technique of the Vlisco Wax production. And Vlisco being a design product adored by West- and Central Africans, the design for Studio Job doesn’t copy the Vlisco design DNA but is a visualization of the ‘wooden shoes and windmills’ decoration of Africa itself. It reflects the cliché perception of Africa.” explains Gerards.
With this collaboration Vlisco signals its aim to develop a new assortment in the coming years, which will be arts and crafts based, expanding their knowledge of textiles to areas such as accessories- and fashion design. Interior design and other uses of their textiles, like in the field of art, are under development as well and it is seems to be a matter of time before the vibrant iconography could become embedded into our daily lives.
Jules van den Langenberg
Jules van den Langenberg recently graduated at Design Academy Eindhoven. He initiates-, curates- and exhibits projects in which applied art and design are used as a medium to cultivate culture. Jules approaches the world as a library full of potential, with an inexhaustible resource: humans and their skills. Within this wonderland of opportunities the young -Willy Wonka like- artistic industrialist travels to meet people and research the social- and cultural impact of all that is man made.
Through associative thinking Jules develops narratives and concepts which form fundaments for publications, exhibitions and self initiated projects as well as commissioned works. During Dutch Design Week 2013, Jules shares with us some of his discoveries and « coup de coeur ».