Design Indaba 09 || Day 3||Frank Tjepkema

Frank Tjepkema’s presentation started quite strangely.  He showed us  images of Holland as it might be in the future –  a model of a sustainable city farm,  its  lack of warmth possibly caused by the inhumanely smooth computer generated graphics.


Frank Tjepkama then moved away from this slightly worrying vision of the future, and continued a theme that was apparent in many of the previous speakers – that of design that is concerned with the personal and the warmly human.


First, we had some more vases.  Once again, an attempt to create a product that was uniquely individual in a mass produced world, just like Marcel Wander’s  sponge and snot vases.  This time, they were based on the owner’s signature:


image from

Another project which subverts the sameness of mass production – the “broken vases”.  The porcelain of the vase is lined with latex rubber so that it hangs together even when broken.  Each broken vase is unique, and bears traces of its history.  “When does destruction become beauty?”

Tjepkama showed footage of vases getting their unique broken pattern by being thrown and shot at. I’m sure Marcell Wanders also showed us some similar work with the destruction of objects, but cannot track down any examples.


A elaboration of this idea is a cruel and charming pendant.  The heart is made of latex-lined porcelain.  The hammer is titanium.  Inevitably the heart will break – and yet remain whole.  Most profound:


Another piece of jewellery takes on the predicament of the person who wants to deck themselves out with every conceivable fashionable brand.  It is supposed to be shaped vaguely like a crucifix, and not like the African continent, which would give it another meaning altogether:



image from

Here is another charming piece:  a set of medals suitable for the family of a new born baby.  Why should the baby get all the attention?  These medals celebrate the new status of the grandfather, mother, aunt and of course, the baby itself:




You can see these and many other projects at the Tjep website

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: