Tijmen Smeulders

After graduating from Eindhoven Design Academy in 2013, Tijmen Smeulders set up Studio Tijmen Smeulders in 2014. Smeulders principal aims to offer new perspectives on products for everyday use, thus, challenging our assumptions in terms of both materiality and functionality. His work method typically involves a concentrated period of research into the fundamental elements of any given product. This means rigorously questioning and experimenting with an array of features including colour, texture, shape, material, size and function. Eventually, it transpires there is always an inherent logic and reason for using these elements – its about how they relate to, and mutually enhance each other’s presence. It is always crucial to understand the material characteristics that form any product as far as possible in order to reach a meaningful application during a product’d design, manufacture and use. Smeulders strongly believes that working with craftsmen and industrial producers is always an integral part of the process. This ongoing dialogue is a quest to share knowledge and push the boundaries of design.

Project in Arita

  • Title : Jubako and Container Table
  • Period of Residency : June - August
  • Sponsor : Creative Industries Fund NL

During the 3-month residency, Smeulders developed a range of new works; both for standard production and limited editions for the gallery world. Focusing on the outstanding quality of Arita porcelain, he questioned what it means to his work to physically be active in Arita, applying the material in both conventional and less traditional ways and contexts. The work he carried out mainly focused on creating a new materiality and functionality for everyday objects, one in which all the necessary elements become fundamental. These prototypes have been developed in close collaboration with Shūji Hataishi from the Hataman Touen pottery and all the shapes of the pieces were handmade by master craftsman Shihenori Nagatomo.
In addition to these edition works, Smeulders also designed a standard series and proposed making an agreement with interested trading companies in Arita. One of the trading companies, Marubun is interested in taking on the design series in order to be developed by his company. The standard series is currently under development as a new product line which Marubun is aiming to launch in the coming year.
We are waiting with eager anticipation at the possibilities for this new brand that will emerge from the residency programme.
Shown as part of the Creative Residency in Arita Exhibition at DDW 2017