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Missed Connections

by Parker Hutchinson in Design on 22 August 2005

Let's talk about feelings. According to Dutch design house Demakersvan, it's a subject not often enough addressed in the contemporary design world, and their assertion just may be true. The vast majority of furnishings either look good or perform a function well, or, if you're lucky, both. They sit idly in our living spaces and favorite clubs, reflecting little more than our tastes and our times. Demakersvan believes that very few offer the opportunity for real connection, the kind that seamlessly blends function and emotion. Their "Lost and Found" series, featuring the work of Judith de Graauw, seeks to correct that-- one design at a time.

Rife with nostalgia, these new works harken back not to decades past, but rather centuries, to a time when, for many, objects were more than eye candy. Aesthetically, the Lost And Found Stool (pictured left) certainly stands out, looking like a cross between a teddy bear and a toilet. But its selling point is in its construction; it was assembled with the same techniques employed in the making of antique plush children's toys. Instead of cotton or wool, it's made of silicone sheets, trespa and crylfiber, but its playfully animalish form and almost squeezable appearance lend to it an air of sentimentality usually reserved for hand-made keepsakes. de Graauw's Latern (pictured right) is a throwback to a time when utility meant connection (i.e., nighttime strolls with match-lighted oil lamps) and a bond was formed between person and object. More than decor, this light requires interaction: it only works when picked up by its handle; when set down, it goes right to sleep.

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