held at the van abbemuseum in eindhoven during dutch design week, ‘pracht und prinzip’ is an exhibition that showcases the works of bas van beek, who has given a new layer to the white cube. the show is comprised of different products that have one thing in common: the fusion of the design principles of the bauhaus and the wiener werkstätte with the museum’s collection. the resulting products include wallpapers, a carpet, a piece of furniture, clothes and a wooden jigsaw puzzle.




known for his strong positions against the market mechanisms, branding, conceptualism and uncritical design cults, bas van beek has taken the patterns of the two design schools — some which have never been executed — and has juxtaposed them with works of the museum’s collection. when talking about the research part of the project he comments: ‘although a great deal of important work has been digitalized and made accessible nowadays, many archives are a goldmine. a great deal of undiscovered knowledge has been stored away which cannot be found on the internet, including designs which were never executed. I see whether a design can be executed with contemporary methods and adapt it — if necessary — or interpret it in my own way.’




the designs and happens that haven been taken from the archives and brought back to life can be seen in several places of the museum. although most of the designs date from more than a hundred years ago — circa 1910 — they are still surprisingly up to date, particularly now that they are placed in the context of a contemporary museum.




charles esche, director of the van abbemuseum comments on his thoughts on the exhibition: ‘the use of wallpaper as a background for modern art is a way of breaking through the principle of the white cube. in this way, you can also start to see the artworks in another way; they are no longer isolated, autonomous creations, but there is a single visual experience in which different links are forged.’