NYCxDESIGN is revving up now through Monday, May 18, with great shows all over the city; one of the most thrilling is Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek’s “Wonder Room” at design gallery slash shop the Future Perfect. Owner David Alhadeff gave me a tour on the eve of the opening.
“It was definitely one of the hardest shows we’ve ever installed,” recalls David Alhadeff, who was like a kid in a candy shop as he walked me through the just-completed installation of Eek’s “Wonder Room,” an exhibit conceived for Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven last October featuring his work along with collaborations with other designers and artists. The exhibit opens May 15, and it is the first time that the space has been devoted to the vision of one designer. Alhadeff says that exporting the show to New York took some doing. The mesmerizing Halo chandelier by Paul Loebach greets you here at the entrance.
The show features Eek’s new one-of-a-kind pieces — like this RAG Pipe table with glass top — along with classics from his Scrapwood collections. His Pipe Chair No.7 can be seen on the right. “The idea of putting a bunch of pipes together in the first place,” Alhadeff says, “and then to be able to figure out how to assemble them so that it’s comfortable and fits to the body is something else.” Alhadeff describes Eek’s work as “punk craft” in that he’s able to reimagine materials that others have discarded.
Pairing Bec Brittain’s Echo 4 chandelier with Eek’s Waste table looks like a brave new world to me. You have to really get up close to see the way the lamp has been constructed with LEDs and mirrors. The table is made up of layers of scrap wood finished with 15 to 20 coatings of high-gloss lacquer, giving it a formality combined with the homeyness of a patchwork quilt.
The rugged, elegant Waste Beam cabinet is seen here under Eek’s “Waste Steel” paintings.
The mirror-finished stainless-steel glossy armchair designed by Eek is upholstered in Maharam fabric. The zinc table and benches are in front of Eek’s Old Window display cabinet, which acts as a natural room-divider.
Another, smaller window display cabinet holds a collection of pieces by E.R. Butler. “This is a result of two decades of working on doors and windows and steel,” Eek tells me on the phone. “Because it’s completely transparent, you have to make all the details very refined. If there is a mistake, it looks very bad. Every detail should be like a little party.”
A series of hammered bowls by Eek were made in collaboration with Floris Wubben. It’s a little bit of artisanal tech, if you will; the bowls have been extruded from a machine that Wubben and Eek dreamed up together.
Eek’s glossy sofa is polished and formal.
An intriguing field of glass disks looking like surreal intergalactic flowers appear in the back of the gallery. They are works of glass art by Marc Mulder framed by Eek’s metal scrap parts.
Eek’s facet vase, according to Alhadeff, was very hard to make. He explains: “The slab-based construction is especially difficult the larger the scale of the piece.”
These Gloriosa flowers and vase by Linda Nieuwstad add a voluptuous folly to the unfolding landscape of metal and wood scrap pieces in the show, looking as if they might belong to the Venus flytrap family.