Text by Annemiek van Grondel
Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann
They do not call themselves design duo, but Mieke Meijer (1982) and Roy Letterlé (1978) work together closely. They met fifteen years ago as students in Eindhoven and have been life partners ever since. Their research-based work – ‘furnitecture’, as they like to call it – is a loving marriage between craft and modern techniques, thoughtful designs distinguished by clear lines, constructive imagery and industrial detail.
Meijer’s Design Academy project Newspaperwood, ‘wood’ made out of newspapers, was further developed in a company of the same name, of which they are co-founders. They are currently cutting the paper wood into very thin veneer. It is only a matter of time before a product arises.
Contextualising architecture is some-thing the two did for the new exhibition Once Upon Design: New Routes for Arabian Heritage in Sharjah, near Dubai. For four months, their Courtyard Culture will be on show – it is an installation that re-contextualizes regional courtyard architecture, with stairs, sitting corners and many cooling plants.
Just like last year, Studio Mieke Meijer is presenting along with fellow designer Jeroen Wand in Prometeo Gallery (Via Ventura). This time, the exhibition stresses the differences between their designs. Meijer: ‘We made clear choices in what we are showing. Jeroen exposes his identity through products in a kind of Wunderkammer setting, with impressions of his work place, testing and manufacturing processes. His work is intuitive with a raw edge, while ours is rational and minimalistic. Precisely this contrast makes a very surprising mix.’
Studio Mieke Meijer focuses on a construction principle, which emerged from the Airframe 01 project. The luminous building blocks are lightweight and covered with canvas. The user determines the size and how it is applied, from tiny to space filling. Letterlé: ‘It shows a development in our work that focuses on the area between product and space. We are doing less and less product design, and focusing more on spatial interventions.’
The title ‘Maybe blue would have been better’ indicates the continuous designer dilemma of choices, the uncertainties in the design process, where and how to present, is it too functional or not at all, sustainable enough, the right colour, the right market? Meijer: ‘In Milan, I want to discuss this with visitors. Designers sometimes live in a kind of bubble. There should be more room for dialogue.’
Find more information about the presentation of Mieke Meijer, Roy Letterlé and Jeroen Wand during the Milan Design Week 2016 here.