Over three decades, artist and industrial designer Hella Jongerius has engaged with topics such as sustainable innovation and responsible production. This former #DI Speaker has a client resume ranging from Vitra to KLM to the UN. Her work is prolific and features in permanent collections in New York’s MoMA, the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Trained as an industrial designer, Jongerius’ research-driven philosophy prompts questions such as: How can we design a sustainable future through traditional crafts? With a focus on the cultural, economic, technical and philosophical aspects of textiles and weaving, her installations emphasize processes over results.
Her new solo exhibition Woven Cosmos is curated by Stephanie Rosenthal with Clara Meister and is on until 5 September 2021 at the Gropius Bau in Berlin. The show demonstrates her process-focused approach with a user-activated installation.
Gropius Bau was once a museum and School of the Decorative Arts and a place where different disciplines came together, making it an appropriate location for the show. Jongerius has not only drawn on the gallery’s history but brought the team behind her Berlin-based Jongeriuslab design studio into the space to work on site for the months leading up to the exhibition.
At the core of Jongerius’ work is the link between craft and industry. Her research into ancient cultural technologies such as weaving sheds light on current dilemmas to do with sustainability. Informed by 25 years of work with textiles, Woven Cosmos is rooted in Jongerius’ original philosophy spanning design, sustainability and spiritualism. Through her open-ended, on-site research Jongerius asks us to reconsider how we relate to objects, our world and one another.
“Through Woven Cosmos I try to understand the cultural meaning of weaving beyond materials and technique. This is also deeply linked to the challenges of our time: questions of sustainability, social responsibility, and spirituality. For instance: what can be the healing function of objects?” says Jongerius.
Woven Cosmos is made up of various installations that fill the rooms of the Gropius Bau, including a loom for three-dimensional weaving, a synergetic method for spinning yarn and woven structures proposed as architectural elements. Jongeriuslab will be working in the exhibition rooms every day, adding a further interactive, behind-the-scenes layer to the activation.
The role of colour according to Hella Jongerius.
Hella Jongerius handles design with care.
Laura Fiori, Magdalena Lepka (pink close up)