Road works

Traffic cones for tables – Belgian duo Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job unveil their latest collection entitled "Detour" at Design Miami/Basel 2014.

Studio Job's Detour collection of furniture pieces, commissioned and co-produced with Stonetouch, a Swiss-based stone carver, draws on the unlikely object and visual language of road works for inspiration.

The Detour concept was first conceived by Studio Job in 2012 and productions of the marble-bronze objects started in early 2013. The first public display of the concept was ‘Highway to Hell’, a scenic backdrop to the Viktor & Rolf fashion show in Paris in March.

The collection represents the first exploration of marble for Studio Job. “Of course we love marble but we had some creative reservations of using it in our projects. Like bronze, marble is originally an ‘artist material’ rather than a ‘designer material’ and apart from a few Ettore Sottsass pieces and some tabletops, I cannot recall significant use of marble in the field of design,” explains Job Smeets, founder of Studio Job. Simply using the material for the sake of it was clearly not enough for Studio Job. “For us, the use of material can never be the main focus, although we are not afraid to stretch the horizons of material limitations and production methods.”

Smeets and co-designer Nynke Tynagel needed to find a rational approach to the rich material.

We wanted to position the material in a new context so it eases out of its comfort zone. This is a proven method to create new images or, at least, unexpected images, he says.

To achieve this they contrasted marble with glass and bronze in the design of a coffee table, chair, book shelf, and floor and table lamp. It was also impetrative that the collection extended the unique three-dimensional language that Studio Job has been developing over the past 10 years. “Within our oeuvre, [this is] a fresh revival of an older frequency,” says Smeets.