Wild flowers sprouting from cracks in the concrete, rural houses, old tools whose use has been lost over the time: those are some of the inspiration’ sources of the young Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk.

Graduated with honours from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, a hothouse of creative talents, Kiki loves to rediscover and rehash disparate objects and materials guided by feelings and memories. The exhibition “Weaving” Traditions, currently hosted by the Plusdesign gallery in Milan, presents a selection of her wonderful creations, including the soft tapestry Wallhangings, which recalls the domestic life, the imaginative furniture-sculpture series Cut & Paste, designed for Secondome, and the latest lovely carpet Flowers Savage, produced in limited edition by Nodus. On the occasion of the opening, we met her.

DROME: You said you prefer using “pure and honest” materials to create your astonishing works. On your opinion, how does a material or an object meet this criterion? And how does its use affect or change our individual and collective everyday life?
Kiki van Eijk: “Pure” to me is something which can create a very direct visual and which preferably doesn’t need a very complicated high-tech technique. So, for example, things you can cast easily like ceramics or metal, or things that are easy to cut like wood or metal or fabric, or glass blown by hand or into a mould. Most of the times these are “natural” materials. Something that with relatively simple means (the hands or basic tools), but an intelligent idea could “easily” be formed into a new design (whether it’s craft made or machine).  If you don’t make the process unnecessary complicated by coming up with a clever idea, than your reduce the spoil of energy. You can feel this in a product and the consumer will feel it too. I like objects that communicate clearly what they are or could be and that have a strong emotional value. This way you care more about your product and you’ll keep it longer…or ideally forever!

D: Your design pieces have a strong emotional component, they recall ancient traditions and outdated customs. The concept of remembrance is very important for your designing process, isn’t it?
KvE: Yes it is, because I think we should respect and acknowledge traditions. This is the only way to break through and make it contemporary at the same time.

D: What about your future projects?
KvE: Some projects will be presented during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile. One of them is born from a collaboration with a brand of perfume, but it’s still top secret! Then, a partnership with a company based in Erba (CO), the OmniDecor, for which I designed the decorations on glass plates by the technique of engraving with etching. Lastly, two new types of carpet are in preparation for the series Savage Flowers. They are entirely hand-made, and their processing will take approximately six months.

text by Francesca Cogoni
photo portrait by Carlo Beccalli for DROME magazine

“Weaving” Traditions
PlusDesign Gallery

Milan, until March 31, 2012