Posts Tagged ‘Mario Minale’

designer for download: interview with Mario Minale

Posted:  April 13th 2011

Rotterdam-based design duo, German-born Mario Minale and Japanese-born Kuniko Maeda began collaborating in 2005. As Minale-Maeda they are interested in perspectives on contemporary material culture. We spoke with Mario about their designs for download.

Can you tell us how you approached the brief?

Mario Minale: On the one hand we were interested in creating a furniture system based on downloadable design and on the other, we were interested in making a statement about the current state of culture and how that intercepts with technology. In both respects, we were curious how downloadable design makes something new possible.

Creating a downloadable furniture system was in line with our ambitions to make things that can be easily manufactured. Inside-out furniture is a very simple line of furniture in which the joinery is brought to the foreground. Seeing the structure helps with the simplicity of the piece and also helps with making it downloadable.

We also had ambitions to make a statement about people’s desire for objects today.

Vanity charms are 3D printed representations of what someone actually wants. They are symbols of the actual objects desired, playing with the question of whether or not symbols are enough. Someone can just like something, and can have it as a charm.

You also designed virtual flowers. Can you tell us about those?

MM: In the Virtual florist collection, we took defining characteristics of flowers and reversed them. Real flowers decay. With 3D printing you can freeze them. Real flowers are known for their colours. Virtual flowers are visually strong because of their absence of colour. Fresh flowers are flown all over the world. Since virtual flowers are distributed as information, they don’t have the constraint of location or season. You can have them anytime and anywhere without needing transportation. Real flowers and virtual flowers are perfect opposites of each other.

You have referenced Gerrit Rietveld designs in previous work such as Red blue Rietveld chair and Rietveld Lego Buffet. What was the influence in your downloadable furniture?

MM: We find the principles of Rietveld very relevant to the downloadable design platform. In his aim to make design accessible, he develops structures that are very sturdy and easy to make. His pieces work in many materials even with limited skills of the maker. The beauty of his work comes from the structure. The same principles drove our downloadable designs. The connections we developed for Inside-out furniture are 3D printed with custom dimensions so that they can match different sizes of wood. The only necessary intervention is to cut the wood to length and to drill the holes. No routing is necessary. Even without a CNC machine, someone can make our designs with a saw and a drill.

In our brief we asked you to imagine a business model for yourself. How do you see this?

MM: The big picture is to create an alternative to large scale productions. Downloadable design makes it possible to take production into a small—or, I would say, human—scale. Downloadable design makes many of the logistical issues—transportation, fuel, warehousing, complex machinery, materials, and so on no longer necessary. The whole industrial overhead becomes unnecessary.
In terms of own business model, one approach can be seen in the 3D connections we developed for Inside-out furniture. They can be adjusted to different dimensions of wood easily, they don’t need a mould to be produced, and they simplify the joining process. They are a proof of authenticity, a sort of signature, perhaps. The other parts can be sourced anywhere.

Are you not afraid that people will copy your blueprints?

MM: Downloadable design is like downloadable music. You buy the band t-shirt because you want to show that you like something and not because you have to. Paying for the signature shows your appreciation.

Pictured above is Inside-out furniture by Minale-Maeda.

Special thank you to 3D print lab i.materialise

 

Share

Q&A with Ida van Zijl, Centraal Museum Utrecht

Posted:  October 26th 2010

Why did Centraal Museum acquire the Red blue Lego chair?

Firstly, because it is inspired by Rietveld who is the most important artist in our collection, and secondly, because we are interested in the more conceptual branch of design. We were the first museum to buy the Droog collection, already in the 90s. The Red blue Lego chair is the perfect combination of these two aspects.

Ida van Zijl

How do you see the piece in relation to the work of Rietveld?

I see more value in the artistic qualities of this chair than in its industrial aspect—in its promise of having people do-it-themselves. I believe Rietveld valued the spatial aspect of design as much as he valued the principles of mass production.

I don’t think it is realistic that people will buy their own Lego pieces to make it, but to me, that doesn’t matter. It is the intention and meaning that counts. It stimulates people to think about design and what it means to them.

Red blue lego chair by Mario Minale

Red and Blue Chair by Gerrit T. Rietveld (1918),  Red blue Lego chair by Mario Minale (2004).

How do you see the chair in relation to movements in the world today?

I think it’s better to compare the Red blue Lego chair to the Smoke version by Maarten Baas (that’s also how we show it at the Rietveld’s Universe exhibition). Rietveld was a master that made and continues to make people think about design. His presence in works by contemporary designers and in design discussions shows the actual value of Rietveld today. To me, that is the most important value of this piece.

Smoke chair by Maarten Baas

Smoke chair by Maarten Baas (2004)

Share

Q&A with Mario Minale

Posted:  October 25th 2010

Centraal Museum Utrecht acquired the artist’s proof #1 edition of Red blue Lego chair from our collection. It will be exhibited at Rietveld’s Universe as part of Rietveld Year organized by the Centraal Museum in Utrecht to celebrate the life and heritage of Gerrit Rietveld from October 20th, 2010 until January 30th, 2011. Here is our Q&A with Rotterdam-based designer, Mario Minale of Minale-Maeda (pictured with Kuniko Maeda).


Minale-Maeda

What was your starting point for this chair?

There is this expression in the world of theatre, “breaking the fourth wall.” It’s about bringing in something unexpected. It’s about addressing the audience, taking them out of their lull and involving them, even passing the responsibility onto them.

What I don’t like about icons is that we just accept them, and we no longer know what they mean, and then they are copied time and time again. I was looking for something unexpected in making a copy of an icon. I wanted to break the mould and no longer see an icon as something set in stone.

Red blue lego chair | Droog studio work | by Mario Minale

What was “the fourth wall” in your design?

It was the appropriation of two icons in a way that creates something new. I started with Rietveld’s iconic Red blue chair and brought in equally iconic Lego blocks, and I think because the spirit of Rietveld and of Lego aligned, it created a breed that resonates.

Why did you work with Rietveld’s chair?

Rietveld intended his chair to be a blueprint from which anyone could make his own chair out of readily available material. For Rietveld, variations of his design were intended. That is why the construction of his chair is so simple. There are no dovetails or other complicated joinery.

Why did you bring in Lego?

Lego represents the construction material of our age—it is convenient. It makes personal expression easy. It is a material that empowers the unqualified to create by themselves.

For Rietveld, it was boards cut to size at the sawmill that made his design accessible. One no longer had to go to the woods to chop a tree thanks to industry. For us, it is no longer about cutting and sawing, but rather about blocks that snap together, shiny finish included. Rietveld broke the chair into 14 pieces to make it easy. Lego breaks it into 4445 pieces, which makes it even more easy.

Was it in fact easy to make this chair?

Not at all. Lego is a basic toy, but the process of making a chair out of it became so complicated that it questioned the simplicity that Lego promised. The process I went through makes the chair an even more authentic copy. The result of making a copy is not a copy. It’s an authentic act.

Lego has the same tension. It stands for simplicity, but the moulds to make Lego are a best kept secret, and that’s why there are no knock-offs. One cannot get rid of complexity but can only displace it. This chair is a metaphor for that.

What do you think of the copyright laws that prevented a larger production of the Lego chair?

One cannot get the Rietveld chairs anymore. Finding a way to copy it makes it accessible, and this was my intention. The fact that copyright laws prevented us from making a larger production of the Red blue Lego chair intensifies this discussion.


Share