DripDrop for Tom Lenaerts
DripDrop is part of the Objet Portrait project in which Roel Vandebeek captures the identity of 9 well-known Flemish inspirations in unique objects, installations and utensils.
DESIGN ROEL VANDEBEEK
IN COLLABORATION WITH TOM LENEARTS
FOR OBJET PORTRAIT
From the way in which OBJET PORTRAIT was created, we can deduce that for Roel every creation is primarily an encounter. It is a dialogue with the other, which can be a person, a community, an environment, an object and so on. Actually, this involves the two most basic human questions. What is the world? Who am I? As human beings it is the task of all of us to find a relationship between these questions. That makes us who we are. We recognize both in Roel's meeting activity as a designer: his open attitude towards the world and his own freedom to interpret it. Nine people are listened to candidly about their way of being in the world. Although they are people 'of the world', with an explicit public image, they are withdrawn from this mundane image. They reflect on their own roots. How do they understand themselves in their way of being?
Armed with this human wealth, Roel then makes his own interpretation of it. He develops two objects for each of these nine people, one applied and one free. One functional, the other symbolic: the two domains, in other words, between which he constantly moves. Each of these objects is, as it were, the 'face' of the people involved in which something of their soul is expressed. But the soul of the designer also takes part in the debate. As the design process proves: it is a long, uncertain, groping road that leads from listening to speaking. Finding this connection is what it comes down to. It is a meeting between two freedoms. Why should such dialogue not be possible? Or is this a utopian idea? That is ultimately the question he confronts us with Objet Portrait.
Tom is a person who, as he himself says, is able to ‘reframe’. This constructive way of thinking was a starting point during the design process. His garden was being remodelled at the time and I was able to link this to the quintessential garden utensil: the watering can. Drip Drop solves the problems of dosage. It has two spouts instead of one. Besides being more useful, it also looks very funny.
The time spent with Tom revealed that in a conversation he likes to be the ‘director’ who steers, asks and is in control. I transposed these characteristics in the Chamber Chair: a chair that subtly dominates the room from the skirting board.
Portrait photography by Lieve Blancquaert