Hella Jongerius

After graduating Eindhoven Design Academy in 1993 Hella Jongerius started her own design company, Jongeriuslab, through which she produces her own projects and projects for clients such as Maharam (New York), Royal Tichelaar Makkum, Vitra and IKEA. One of the new things she has done is the Shippo plates, where she has used an old, almost forgotten tecnique, enamelling. She has also made the "Office pets" for Vitra, three curious wheeled objects- all fun and playful (...)

Hella says:
“Traditional enamelling technique opens up possibilities that are in perfect harmony with my working methods and ideas about design. Furthermore, this technique shows strong similarities to the ceramics with which I often work. Like glaze on clay, enamel gives objects a multicoloured, lustrous skin, an effect that is almost impossible to obtain with other techniques. And enamelling technique allows skilled artisans to make very delicate drawings on the surface. That provided opportunities that mesh with the subjects I am working on now.”

Enamelling has a rich history. In Europe, it was used mainly in the Middle Ages to produce elegant jewellery. In the 20th century, it remained in use for colourful outdoor advertising boards, but by now, the craft has practically died out in Europe. This happened for various reasons, such as the high cost and great fragility of enamel work, which makes it unsuitable for industrial production.


The underside, the wheels and the material used make each object seem at home in the context of corporate identities. But at the point where you would expect seats and armrests emerge semi-abstract shapes which allude both to Jongerius’ vases and animal figures. These strange office creatures combine rationality and imagination as if they were quantities which always and self-evidently belong together.

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