What’s On: Hella Jongerius at the Design Museum London



Hella Jongerius is a Dutch designer who works in Berlin, along with her studio team. Her practice has lead her on an endless search for the many ways in which materials and colours can mix, communicate with one another, and tell us stories inherent within their make-up. Jongerius emphasises the importance of process; according to her approach a work is never finished. This is a useful frame of mind to adopt, particularly when exploring new ideas and techniques. An openness to the possibility that a clear answer to a problem will never emerge can allow us be more free in our explorations.

This sense of freedom is present in the current exhibition of Hella Jongerius’s work at the Design Museum, London. Breathing Colour is a comprehensive show that investigates the subtleties of colour: how it behaves in in different conditions, the different effects of light, our own perceptions. The show is divided into three sections —morning, noon, and evening. Each section focuses on the way light transforms colour in the particular time of the day. On display is an array of textures and forms. There are sculptural objects, samples, textiles, and models. The exhibition is akin to a sensory playground, a place for exploration and wonder. What I find to be the most captivating part of the display is the series of vessels in the Noon section. These hollowed out, geometric forms seem hefty and solid, but are formed from cardboard nets that are scored and meticulously folded. The multi-faceted sides reflect the colours of their plinths in varying gradation, shadows forming natural hues. This demonstration of the subtleties of light and its effects on colour is so delightful precisely because it uses every day materials and accessible techniques to help us to see the magic in the everyday, that we otherwise might miss.

I recommend this interview with the designer herself to learn more about the project. The exhibition is on until 24 September, so if you live in the UK you have plenty of time. More details here.

Photographs: Luke Hayes