behind the magnetic madness of designer jólan van der wiel
 
behind the magnetic madness of designer jólan van der wiel
nov 16, 2014

behind the magnetic madness of designer jólan van der wiel

behind the magnetic madness of designer jólan van der wiel

 

 

 

jólan van der wiel thrives on throwing conventions out the window and immersing himself in experimental discovery as a means of unveiling new production process, and realize unexpected forms and products. having focused on joining the cooperative forces of technology with natural phenomena, he has developed new tools in which to bring his ideas to life. designboom speaks with the dutch creative who talks about the biggest influence on his work to date, his infatuation with the force of gravity, and his ongoing collaboration with fashion designer iris van herpen.

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
the dutch designer uses the power of magnets to shape gravity stool
photo by peter lipton
see more about this project on designboom here

 

 

 

designboom: what originally made you want to study design and become a designer?

 

jólan van der wiel: originally I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but at the same time I’ve always been interested in creating things and in painting. being a designer seemed to be the perfect combination as a practice where I can bring all these aspects together. still, over time it has becme clear that creating is most important to me.

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
‘gravity stool’, black
photo by peter lipton

 

 

 

DB: who / what has been the biggest influence on your work to date?

 

JVDW: nature! its brilliant forces and universal laws keep intriguing me. in a time where everything seems to keep going faster and faster, I’m more and more interested and amazed by the most fundamental and elementary powers that still give shape to our reality – even if we sometimes forget them in our day-to-day lives.

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
‘gravity stool’, yellow
photo by peter lipton

 

 

 

DB: what would you say is your strongest skill and how have you honed it over the years?

 

JVDW: materializing invisible natural forces fascinates me enormously. I can concentrate on working the very small details, but at the same time I try to keep the bigger concept in mind. over time, I’ve become more and more focused on getting my final products to be as clear as possible, because it is very important for me to ensure that they successfully communicate my intentions to the viewer. 

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
‘gravity’ candle holder for galerie gosserez
image by peter lipton
see more about this project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: what production techniques and materials have you enjoyed working with the most to realize your designs? what processes or materials would you like to explore further in the future?

 

JVDW: I have been working with different natural materials, processes and forces, like applying gravity and magnetism to different kinds of materials. I still see a lot of possibilities to further hone my skills with these materials and processes, which is also why I like getting into collaborations with people from other disciplines, because all these different kinds of applications keep asking for reevaluation and for rediscovering new potentials. more specifically, for instance, in the future I see possibilities in combining magnetism with centrifugal forces, static energy, air pressure, etc.

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
jólan van der wiel’s magnetic ‘growing’ machine which pulls material upwards to shape each piece
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: how did you come to use magnetism as a means of manipulating material into functional forms?

 

JVDW: magnetism was one of the most spectacular tools I could create. this force creates form within seconds. it has the special quality to make things that amaze people, but at the same time these things are completely relatable because people can easily understand how they were formed.  

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
‘magnetic moon dress’ created in collaboration with dutch fashion designer iris van herpen
image courtesy of jólan van der wiel

 

 

 

DB: how do you try to keep your ideas fresh?

 

JVDW: I try to concentrate on things which are real. the question is: ‘what in our life is real?’ and ‘how can I integrate these subjects in my work?’.

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
strips of magnetically grown material form a garment by iris van herpen + jolan van der wiel
image courtesy of jólan van der wiel

 

 

 

DB: what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?

 

JVDW: at the moment I just finished my last project, journey of a raindrop. the title of this video-work, in which I combined working with completely physical materials and digital animation, actually summarizes exactly my fascination for it: the seemingly simple journey that a single raindrop makes. they go through this grand circular trajectory past all these elementary natural influences again and again. when I imagine what they go through every day… it’s crazy.  

jolan van der wiel interview designboom
detail of the textured fabric
image courtesy of iris van herpen

 

 

 

DB: what’s your personal motto?

 

JVDW: enjoy rain.

interview with jolan van der wiel designboom
‘magnetic motion’ shoes by iris van herpen + jólan van der wiel
photo by federico da fies

 

 

 

outside of his own product development, jólan van der wiel has been working alongside fashion designer iris van herpen on wearable pieces that are brought to fruition using magnetic processes. having debuted their ‘wilderness embodied‘ collaboration at paris haute couture week in june of 2013 with a series of dresses whose textural forms resulted from a combination of attraction and repulsion, the dutch duo have together with canadian architect philip beesley, brought forth ‘magnetic motion’ on the occasion of paris design week 2014 in september.

interview with jolan van der wiel designboom
variations of ‘magnetic motion’ footwear
photo by federico da fies

 

 

 

the unparalleled technological achievement of CERN’s large hadron collider, whose magnetic field exceeds that of earth’s by 20,000 times, was the influence for ‘magnetic in motion’. techniques including 3D printing, laser cutting, vacuum forming, injection molding, magnetic growth and handwork were all used to animate static garments — dresses, jackets, jumpsuit, skirts tops and trousers — giving them dynamic shapes and surfaces that fluctuate with the body’s movement. interview with jolan van der wiel designboom
profile of a show which expresses the magnetic pull that stretches the material to form the shoe
photo by federico da fies

 

 

 

jólan van der wiel worked with iris on the development of the extended collection, bringing a three-dimensional nature, depth and layering to the garments through the realization of shoes, belts and clutches all ‘grown’ using magnetic fields, assisted by the human hand.

interview with jolan van der wiel designboom
the shoes were also manipulated by hand to form their final shape
photo by federico da fies

 

 

 

 

DB: you first worked with iris van herpen in 2013 on a series of magnetic dresses, and now footwear. how did you and iris meet, and how has your collaboration evolved over the last year?

JVDW: actually I just sent her an email, because I personally felt I related to her approach. I really love the way she combines an explorative, experimental way of working with the aesthetic and meticulous side that is so fundamental for her discipline – the field of fashion. so then we started discussing applications for magnetism in fashion. for our first collaboration we created dresses, which were ‘grown’ from magnetic material. this directly was sort of the most expressive thing we could make. this year we created a series of shoes and accessories – belts, necklaces and handbags (or actually ‘clutches’, which are handbags but without the handles – yes I’ve learned a lot!). the challenge, this time, was to use the forces much more subtle and detailed. every time it’s an interesting challenge to figure out how to adjust your way of working and thinking to the these new circumstances.

interview with jolan van der wiel designboom
back view
photos by federico da fies

 

 

 

DB: what were some of the different challenges you faced developing ‘garments’ and worn objects, as opposed to furniture?

 

JVDW: for the development of worn creations, the texture we created had to be much more detailed and should be much softer, so it’s really usable. you need to touch it. furniture can be more expressive and strong.

 

‘magnetic motion’ presented at paris fashion week 2014
video courtesy of jólan van der wiel

  • The model just stepped out from the “Frozen” movies.

    Ben

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