“SetRamics” – LOU VTR’s multiple ceramic creations made using just one mold.
These different sets of ceramics have all been created with the same mold. Lou wanted to explore different ways of working with ceramics: Using sometimes more sometimes less slip, taking care to clean the borders, or not, flattening the top, or leaving it as it is.
The golden set is to emphasize the imperfections and add value to them when looking at the details, whereas the other two sets are more about the space the lines take. The inside and outside lines have been added one by one as a final touch, to explore the dialectic and stress the nature and ‘being’ of the lines.
Light of Day
Lou realized 8 unique sun prints while living in New York - using the oldest non-silver photographic printing process, called Cyanotype. Therefore she used paper containing light sensitive materials and the bright sunlight of the city. Each composition, both charming and delicate, is more intriguing than the other.
Designing an intriguing piece of jewellery was Lou's objective. She created something made from two different sized aluminum tubes (with a diameter of 6.4 and 6.7 cms), cut into bands between 1.5 and 3.5 cms high which were then cut into pieces. Lou only used a small section of each band because she liked the idea of overlapping pieces of different lengths and heights. Finally, she anodised all the different parts separately and to assemble them with 6 mms long golden rivets to add a touch of luxury.
Walking Cane Chair
IX is a very light and foldable chair. This object must be comfortable, height adjustable and stable - and must integrate into a friendly, easy to use fold-unfold system. The chair can also be used as a cane for older people. The walking chair is frequently used when visiting museums, going on urban or country sides, excursions but is also suited for hunting and fishing. At home, the cane chair may be folded and stored.
I selected the most appropriate junction between two chosen materials, an easy way to assemble them. In contrast to the typical metal frame, I opted for oak and nylon which gave it a more charming aspect.
I split the handle into two sections as this makes it easier and more comfortable to use as a walking stick. Lower down the base sticks there are two wooden cross pieces where the strips are securely held.
The sticks are 97 cms high, cylindrical with a diameter of 2.5 cms giving a total width of 5 cms when the two sticks are together. The handles and the cross pieces are 15 cms long and the nylon strips are 36 cms long and 5 cms wide. The handles and cross pieces are attached to the base sticks with wooden dowels and the two base sticks are attached with a headless dowel screw.
Infinity Mirror Table
“Some people never tidy up; why not teach them to do so by designing a playful and beautiful reminder?”
Infinitum is an arduino-powered table that turns on when items are placed on it, and which turns off when they are removed.
This infinity mirror table is designed for people who never tidy up, but leave their belongings everywhere. I decided to design a table that would light up when objects were placed on it, giving people a beautiful backdrop for their objects and the illusion of an infinitely deep hole in the floor. This would also encourage users to tidy up before they left a room because the light would only switch off once there was nothing left on the table.
The table is a set of plexiglass mirrors, set up so that the LEDs between them reflect an image back onto the fully reflective mirror. The table construction includes a piezo sensor switch which, when activated, will light the table up. Click here for more details and instructions.
Infinity Mirror Table 1
There are many variations of sledges. Some are equipped with brakes, others with steering and some with both. Also many different combinations of material are possible: wood, metal, plastic, aluminium, etc.
W&R sledge is a sled composed of three separate 0.5 cms panels of plywood, which are bent into shape. Flexibility is one of the most important points of this sledge. That is why there is a space between the base and the movable vertical rubber edged panel. These two parts touch when someone sits on it.
The sled is made principally of wood, which gives a warm and charming finish. There is also a small piece of rubber attached to protect the movable piece. The elegant and streamlined shape makes it easier to slide down hillsides.
Six modular plywood slabs are ingeniously attached with a cord to provide you with multiple sizes, shapes, and compositions. From chopping herbs to providing a safe and sturdy rest for casseroles, you will come to depend on this nimble product for myriad uses around the kitchen and dining table. When you’re done, it folds up small for storing away! Boxed: 4h x 2 5/8w x 5 1/2d IN
1 vs. 2
1 vs. 2 is cut from a hollow block of aluminium, with three holes and three pins attached to keep the candles straight. I wanted to create something with a simple shape, using straight lines, light and with an elegant touch through which we are able to see through.
I chose aluminum because I wanted the light of the candle to be reflected into the candleholder and so play with the luminosity.
Positioned vertically 1 vs. 2 holds one supported candle whereas in a horizontal position it holds two.
This object brings many specific constraints: Fill up, empty out, capacity, dimensions, stability, integration within context environment: private & public spaces (shop, restaurant, hostel, museum), public or private and interaction with other objects or functions.
Wastebaskets are often made of plastic or metal, I chose wood to render it less industrial and more inviting. I want it to have a totally original form, so people want to show it in the middle of their room instead of a corner or under their desk, whether it is empty or not.
WB24 is a wastebasket made of birch plywood, composed of a suspended oval base and 24 sticks. The sticks have an inclination of 10 degrees to give us an impression of lightness. They are placed one next to each other with an empty space of 1.5 cms to create a transparency, to intrigue us.
Taglio is a functional, efficient and elegant plaster hanging wall lamp designed for Gesso.
The lamp is a rectangle with a diagonal slit in it to give us the feeling that somehow the light split open the box. The light also comes out from the top and the bottom of the lamp. Taglio can be either hung alone or as part of a set.
When I design a specific product I always first observe and analyse what are the functions and their context. Then I think how I could bring an added value to it and to these functions.
I decided to create a wooden pepper mill, composed of three little cubes of Beech, which are stacked one on top of the other, in a messy order.
The top of the pepper mill is a plain wooden cube, which is the lid of the object. In the middle part there is a hole through the whole cube, which is the place containing the pepper. And the third cube is composed of a scrambler. By turning the top cube, you have an opening and will be able to fill the second cube. Whereas by turning the bottom cube, you will jam the pepper.
I wanted to create an intriguing and funny pepper mill as well. One that we want to take in our hands and with which we want to play even if we aren’t cooking or eating at the moment.
Each page is separately folded into long thin rectangles joined together lengthways and then folded and turned from a central crown winding out to a wide brin. A small piece of sticky paper is fixing everything all together.
Although crying is a healthy, natural, and ancient way of expressing and processing both positive and negative emotions, modern society often regards tears as a sign of weakness and vulnerability, particularly in women. Clamor, a speculative new beauty brand seeks to restore dignity to tears with a line of ‘after-cry’ products that empowers women to embrace the catharsis of crying without shame or fear.
Clamor offers two products, each presented in sleek frosted resin cases: a set of brass pebbles for immediate treatment and a set of ceramic pebbles as a long-term remedy. The conductive brass pebbles are soaked in either hot or cold water and placed on the eyelids to reduce puffiness after crying. The ceramic pebbles are paired with essential oils extracted from cucumber, rose water, tea, potato, and milk (natural ingredients with healing properties) to treat dark and tired eyes over time.
Designed as part of Product, Brand, and Experience class, Clamor was the answer to the challenge of designing a product line to promote or support a social movement. Resolved to design a product to support individuals with addictions or psychological ailments.
With its brand promise to dignify crying and uplift emotions, Clamor is positioned between therapy and indulgence and targets the high-end beauty market. The design of the brand communicates its characteristics: simple, elegant, and luxurious. The careful combination of polished metallic materials and matte frosted resin, geometric shapes and symmetrical organic forms is both minimalist and alluring.
"SIDE STEP - A momentary escape from the real world"
Almost since birth I have spent my spare time in museums and galleries. When I’m surrounded by art I have the feeling that my mind flies, time is suspended and nothing else matters, except recharging my energy.
I’m a designer who is very often influenced by art. Art always inspires me and helps me to meditate and escape, but my thesis is not about creating art. I want to change the relationship between people and works of art; by using design to enhance the experiences and environments in which we view them.
My products and services are an attempt to make art accessible, enjoyable and understandable to people who don’t appreciate art. Nine months of research and interviews have resonated and influenced not only my way of thinking but also my work, and led me designing new ways to interact and experience art. I divided my work into early explorations, a co-creative workshop, an app, an event, and many other lenses.
People don’t really look at art anymore. They wander from one work to the next, instead of really engaging with the art. This is why I wanted to take art out of the context of traditional galleries. I created a gallery called ACT. ACT is a gallery where the users can’t be passive anymore. I took an absurdist approach in an attempt to make people look again at works of art in an irrational way, in response to Stephanie Rosenbloom’s observation that “The average visitor spends 15 to 30 seconds in front of a work of art”. For example: in one of the ACT Gallery room, all the artworks are turned away from the visitors, but placed in front of a mirror, to force them to get closer and to move around. In another room there would be a hole in the floor through which visitors on the upper level can see the art downstairs with a different perspective, and also observe the people looking at the artworks, making the act of observing art, a piece of performance art itself.
I challenged the unwritten rules that you can not: touch, talk, get close to or take an active role in your relationship with the gallery.
Developing on this theme, I realized that while we look at art with our eyes, we aren’t allowed to touch the work. This is why I created Sense, which is a book containing pictures of paintings as well as black on black ‘reliefs’. On the left hand pages of the book there are two thematically similar paintings and on the right there is the relief of just one of the paintings. The user has to touch it and guess which one they feel. This sensory approach allows us to experience art on a completely new level.
Another of my early explorations is a set of different lenses called Shades. Every lens has different benefits and emphasize different elements of paintings so that we can see color, form and line in various ways, which allows us to analyze the artworks in more detail. Every lens is different: they increase color contrast, improve depth perception, reduce brightness,... almost like an analog version of Instagram.
Creating these products was inspiring but I wanted to continue to push my work even further. For this reason I organized a workshop where I asked the attendees - with and without an artistic backgrounds - to imagine themselves in 2050 and to make a collage of their ideal space to look at art and to re-energize themselves.
I have my own assumptions about the future of art, principally that art will become even more ubiquitous, and I wanted to see how they corresponded with other people’s assumptions. The findings were that we live in a world where social media forces us to be online all the time. The world is too oppressive, too judgmental. Technology has entered our lives on a huge scale and is having negative effects, and people need to disconnect from their real world as well as from their virtual world.
The take-away was that I realized how important social media had become. It is omnipresent and will continue to be so. People’s visions of the future are totally dominated by social media.
I created an art object, to help people to escape the oppressive, social media-obsessed world we live in and created Beyond. Beyond is a product that looks and feels like a book, but it isn’t an ordinary book. Once you open it you are absorbed by an illusion of an infinitely deep “tunnel of light”. I transformed this specific daily object into a meditative one. Books have the capacity to transport us anywhere at anytime. I wanted to do the same but with light and not words.
This is my usual way of working, but for my next idea I decided to make a platform that would reach out to people everywhere and created Gateway. Gateway is a virtual reality app that allows people to experience the latest art installations anywhere and at any time. It is created for art lovers, who neither have the time nor the money to go to art exhibitions. Gateway features a different experience on a daily basis and teleports my target users to spaces they would never have had the time or ability to go to.
In museums or galleries people are often surrounded by many other people and noises. Using Gateway, in combination with the Google Cardboard, removes the distractions and intensifies the experience by giving the user the opportunity to see the artwork in a new and unfamiliar way.
After creating the app, I wanted to test it out and created Wander Spheres. An event near the galleries in Chelsea, where I used her app to teleport people into virtual art worlds. Therefor I created three helmets, inspired mainly by Walter Van Beirendonck and Ingeborg Morath and Saul Steinberg. Each helmet contains a Google cardboard and an iPhone enabled with audio.
After my experience I realized people were using the helmets between 30 second and 3 minutes, which is longer than the average time I mentioned earlier. People wearing the helmet see something unique, and that specific moment is very strong because nothing else can intervene. There is no distraction: It’s just the user and the virtual art installation.
I took an absurdist approach; the view from inside the helmet is intensely personal but people looking at you using it experience a performance. This relationship between the viewed and the viewer is something that has always intrigued me. The observed experience can be shared on social media, but the virtual reality experience is unique and not possible to share with pictures, only words and memories.
Looking forward I’m thinking to continue designing more ways to interact and experience art, because I the idea of sharing art and making it accessible to everyone is very important to me.
Thesis - Wander Spheres NYC
Project #1: On Soil
"On Soil" is an installation at a Harlem community garden that addresses the issue of contaminated soil. Lead, found in New York soil, is a potent neurotoxin with no safe level of exposure. Prolonged exposure to lead is associated with high blood pleasure, heart disease, and other health problems. By removing and displacing the soil into transparent Plexilglas containers, Lou and Panisa direct the attention to the neglected issue, and liberate it from its overlooked stage. - Jane Jacobs is an independent collective based in New York that organizes efforts to highlight issues and questions in our urban environment and communities. Jane Jacobs is founded in 2016 by Sandra Nuut, Caterina Riolo and Emily Hills to express current urban issues via design and art. It is a floating organization that has no one physical space but uses and chooses mediums that best express, and convey problems and questions that we feel need to be noticed.
Lou started with a year-long challenge of drawing exclusive odd little monsters to share every morning with people to help them think of something else other than all the political, religious and other daily problems and preoccupations. The objective quickly became a ritual which has helped Lou to improve her imagination, creativity and productivity. Every day she challenges herself to find new ways of conceiving her monsters. All unique, exploring different shapes and outlines; all equally delightful and playful.