Studio Visit: Dutch Textile Designer Hella Jongerius Is Cherishing Her Paper Archives and Enjoying Some Good Soup

The designer's new art installation will soon be on view at the Gropius Bau in Berlin.

Hella Jongerius. Photo: Nick Ballón. Courtesy Maharam.
Hella Jongerius. Photo: Nick Ballón. Courtesy Maharam.

The acclaimed Dutch industrial designer Hella Jongerius has been busy. While working with major clients such as IKEA and KLM airlines, Jongerius is also a thriving artist whose textile works are informed by her technical proficiency with woven materials, and her deep understanding of the cultural history of fabrics.

Her berlin-based studio, Jongeriuslab, where she marries her keen interests in art and design, is a teeming creative space where she creates objects like her acclaimed Polder sofa, which was commissioned in 2015 by the Vitra Design Museum in Basel.

She has also been working on her ambitious installation, Woven Cosmos, which will be presented at the Gropius Bau in Berlin from April 29, and which will continue to evolve throughout the course of the show. Her multi-room presentation will include a three-dimensional loom that the designer has been developing.

We caught up with the artist as she put the final touches on her installation.

Hella Jongerius with her work Woven Windows. Courtesy

What are the most indispensable items in your studio and why?

My own archive of paper models and textile samples, which were not selected for various reasons, but are a great source of ideas and shapes. I never start from an empty [sheet of] A4.

What is the studio task on your agenda tomorrow that you are most looking forward to?

Tomorrow, I have a-kill-your-darling-exercise: I have to decide how to hang the Woven Windows in my show at the Gropius Bau in Berlin, and so determine which ones go in, and which ones are out.

What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when you work?

A silent and calm atmosphere.

Jongerius in the studio. Image: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

Do you listen to music or podcasts, or do you prefer silence?

When I do repetitive hand work like weaving or lino-printing, I listen to interview podcasts. For the rest, I like silence.

What trait do you most admire in a work of art?

Feeling possibilities.

What trait do you most despise?

Greediness, victimization, and mansplaining.

Photo by Roel van Tour. Courtesy Lafayette Anticipations.

Photo by Roel van Tour. Courtesy Lafayette Anticipations.

What snack food could your studio not function without?

Soup.

When you feel stuck in the studio, what do you do to get un-stuck?

I go running.

3D Weaving 2. Photo: Magdalena Lepka.

What is the last exhibition you saw, virtual or otherwise, that made an impression on you?

The last exhibition that impressed me was in the Kröller-Müller Museum, in a national park in the Netherlands.

I enjoyed so much the early Modernistic atmosphere of the architecture of Henry van de Velde. The collection is amazing but the building, with its small-sized rooms and superb daylight, makes the works extraordinary.

How would you describe your mood right now?

Sharp and excited. I have one week of installing ahead here at Gropius Bau and then the work is open for other eyes to see after two years of working.

Woven Cosmos” is on view at the Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstraße 7, Berlin, April 29–August 15, 2021.


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