In the dark and chaotic basement of Gromov’s Datcha we found a batch of plastic crates. They make perfect chairs already, just as they are. But we decided to saw the handles off and finish them with rounded wooden seatings for a more elegant and frivolous look, referring to the Russian ‘Datcha Style’.
In the streets and in the basement of Gromov’s Datcha we mainly found old furniture and chipboard, not the kind of material we prefer to work with. But we found plenty of different colors and types of it, often of a high quality. By sawing the chipboard into standard sizes, the quality of the material became visible again. We designed panels that can be used to make tables, cases, walls, or exposition plinths. We made this bookcase for a special private Soviet book collection, donated to the theatre group that is now working in the dacha. During a one-weekend workshop we had great assistance of a few local designers, woodworkers and students.
On our first two days we went around the house and the neighborhood for some building materials and met some very kind and straight forward people. A girl named Nadezhda volunteered to show some courtyards that were likely be good places to find discarded furniture. She likes to photograph Sovjet furniture to be reminded of her childhood. Andrey, the director of the local theater group picked up the materials we found with his sturdy Lada and the Gymnasium donated some cabinets.
We landed in St. Petersburg (Russia) and started a new project on the invitation of Creative Association of Curators TOK. Until Monday the 21th, we are working on furniture for the new users of Gromov’s Datcha, an abandonded summer residence filled with history. The temporary new users – a local theater group called Sintez and TOK - are planning to make the place accessible for nearby residents by organizing events. We are exited to be a part of the emergence of this development.
Rhizomatic, a project space for artistic research based in Amsterdam-North, invited us to join their project exhibition Repair! about the sustainable potential of reparation. Hein and Rikkert went strolling through the area north of the IJ river and found a batch of sauna wood at a fitness centre. They turned it into flexible street furniture for the neighbourhood. More pictures by Hein on Flickr.
At the end of August, Rikkert went to work with a group of teenagers on summercamp for five days in Leidsche Rijn (Utrecht). They gathered waste material at building sites and in the streets around the camp. Then they worked together on ideas and sketches, resulting a collection of beautiful sculptural furniture. More pictures on Flickr.