Based on conversations with his products, Dutch designer Sjoerd Vroonland is crafting interesting articles that further the dialogue between design and object, user and use.
Design ideas spring from a varied matrix of experience and exploration. Designers often seek to control the experience users have with their product, aiming to polish each interaction and every detail, building upon it to give a positive or even emotional experience to the individual. However, Product Designer, Sjoerd Vroonland’s products are reminiscent of authentic design treasures – reflecting what the object used to be and what it is today.
From the diverse stock available today, we’ve come to realise that a simple natural feature can influence and shape a design. Sjoerd Vroonland’s designs offer a complete experience to the user, not by controlling the process but by directing and channelling it into their psychological needs from the object.
Born in the year 1985, Vroonland realised early on that he wanted to become a furniture maker. He shares, “I was always busy in my father’s garage making things.” After spending six years at the wood and furniture college in Rotterdam, Vroonland wanted to specialise in product design and decided to go to art school. In 2010, he graduated ‘cum laude’ at ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design in Arnhem with his collection, interestingly coined, ‘Revised Crafts’ and launched his own furniture design label, ‘Vroonland’.
Picking excerpts from the very engaging conversations Vroonland delivers, we came across exciting encounters like the Saddle Stool, The Rotan Chair, The Extension Chair and The Bead Mirror to name a few. In fact, the strength lies in the rendezvous between materials. In the words of Elena Miller, “Good design is a child of the past as well as of the future.” Vroonland’s adept hands haven’t failed in bringing these words alive.
Vroonland’s ‘Extension Chair’ is a dining chair which he has extended into an object, used no longer, to only sit on. Drawing on the manners and customs of how we use a chair, he has transformed it into a coat hanger set. What is intriguing is that technology, craftsmanship, storytelling and the actual physical contact all comes together in this
Gracing restaurants like Le Cle in UAE and The Galeries in Sydney, the Extension Chair not only concentrates on its relationship with its user, but also acts as an iconic piece of design that attracts attention.
Product design is not just about sketching, drafting and rendering but about creating, planning and designing products that everyone encounters every day. Vroonland shares, “While some furniture is designed to be beautiful, others are to be used endlessly. The Saddle Stool combines both these fundamentals.”
The more you see it, the more characterful the object becomes. Like the original saddle from Brooks, the Saddle Stool is made from compressed leather. While the flexible material moulds around the body, its ingenious spring system provides optimal comfort.
Great design comes from interaction, conflict, argument, competition and debate. Vroonland’s Rotan Chair is perhaps a child of this process. The conceptual rattan chair is the result of a form study in which Vroonland discovered new uses for the traditional technique of (reed) breading. Binding rattan has always been an artistic form, but with its tie-ribs the chair is able to project a raw and energetic experience, playing with the boundaries of technology. In fact, the Zuiderzee Museum has applauded the design by including it in its collection, alongside more traditional techniques.
In the words of M. Cobanli, “Great design lives beyond time and function.” Exhibiting a fairy-tale elegance, Vroonland’s Bead Mirror is a fragment of this thought. Resembling a sheer piece of art, the beads wrap themselves gracefully around the peripheries of a round mirror. Hung on the wall, it makes the corner look special as it invites several second looks. Delicate and classy in appeal, its design definitely wins against the test of time!
Through research into history and origin, a designer is able to influence the future by giving opportunities to translate the use and perception of a product in a good way. The materials used by Vroonland are uncompromised and the line of work can be clearly seen. Instead of hiding technical detailing, his designs emphasise on the beauty of the structure.
From the archetypal saddle to the evergreen mirror, the designer uses the best features of time honoured designs and finds new ways to apply them and it definitely won’t be an exaggeration to say that the result is both pure and poetic.
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia
Photographs Courtesy The Designer