Text by Anna Bates
Photo by Daphne Kuilman
Rick Tegelaar presented at the Milan Design Week together with the design collective Workmates. Instead of a presentation they published a newspaper Good News.
What is your ethos?
I’m interested in designing processes rather than just products. I want to see if I start with the most common and stupid material and develop it, if something new and good can come out of it by creating my own tools.
So this explains why you made a series of lamps out of chicken wire. How do you make them?
I start with a roll of high quality chicken wire. It’s cut to size and rolled into a tunnel shape and slipped over a mould. Then I stretch the chicken wire. It shrinks itself around the form and takes its shape.
This was your graduation project in 2011 – what happened next?
After I graduated I was broke, and I found people were interested in buying the lamp. I’d developed the tools for shaping the wire and mesh at college, so it was a good plan to start producing them and make some money. Three years later and it’s becoming more efficient and economical. I’ve built my own mini factory, which is not so usual for a designer. I’ve recruited people and developed a machine that can stretch the wire very effectively. I’ve got to know my lamps on a whole different level.
Do you see your future in this product?
We are dependent on it now: it makes 90% of the turnover. But I don’t see myself as only a lamp producer.
What else are you working on?
My studio is in a progressive industrial zone that focuses on clean, green technology. At the moment I’m using waste plywood from different factories to work on a table. We get the factories to cut the waste blocks exactly to size, and we buy it. The blocks are glued up in a fishbone pattern – we made a glue-applying machine that distributes the glue evenly – and the end material has a new functional value, and a new aesthetic.
What is your relationship to Milan?
It’s good for meeting people, but Milan doesn’t inspire me at all. It sort of paralyses me: if you see a lot of terrible stuff, you hate your profession, and if I see good stuff, I feel not good enough. I’m not inspired by other design, I’m inspired by a good factory.
Information + Press Kit from his presentation with Workmates in Milan: