As another University year ends in the Netherlands, we feel it is fitting to spotlight a new graduate in this month’s edition of our Art of Design series.
Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen’s graduation project Engineering Temporality presents furniture from a very different perspective. Tolvanen uses design as a means of communicating the frailties of the human condition. Fragile and almost ephemeral, Tolvanen’s design objects aim to eloquently express what it is to be human.
“In the same way as human life is fragile, transient, and flawed, design should reflect these same values, thus bringing more care into our surroundings ..”
It was witnessing his grandmother’s disintegration with Alzheimer’s Disease that inspired the designer to explore this concept.
‘Her Alzheimer’s disease is unravelling the fabric of her life, knot-by-knot, and vaporising the very core of her personality and life, her memories, and turning her into a shell of a human being.’
To create the work, Tolvanen welded small tubular steel rings around wooden furniture forms – then set it on fire.
Purged by the flames, what remains is the physical space the object occupied; creating a metaphysical bond between the object and memory.
“My pursuit was to give an object a memory, create tension and stage a play between the perfect, anonymous mass-produced structural material and the imperfect of human being,” says Tolvanen. “The shell that is left caresses the vanished object, the memory of it, referring to the past.”
Tolvanen believes that in expressing fragility and the transience of life, we perceive the objects as more precious and beautiful.
The Engineering Temporality series was on display throughout October at the Design Academy 2012 graduation show, as part of the program of Dutch Design Week, in Eindhoven. No doubt we will hear much more about this new designer in the coming months.
About the designer
Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen has recently graduated Cum Laude from the Contextual Design MA course at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands. During his studies, Tolvanen participated in a number of group shows, and won two design awards. The young Finnish designer has established Studio Markunpoika to work on projects ranging from industrial design to limited editions and one-off pieces for companies, galleries and private clients.
For full details of Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen’s Engineering Temporality concept, and other design projects, visit the Studio Markunpoika website.
Photo credits: Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen, Joost Govers, Design Academy Eindhoven.
- On 13th November 2012