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Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Hella Jongerius

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Hella Jongerius was born in de Meern, Netherlands in 1963, and graduated from the Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhoven in 1993. In Jongerius’ designs, she often manipulates ancient craft technique and modern technology to yield a product that reflects their ultimate potential. Her early work for Droog Design, the Dutch design collaborative, has been standout in the world of product design for over a decade. At her design firm, Jongeriuslab, materials largely determine the direction of their designs. The range of materials and techniques used at the firm are diverse and very broadly derived. For example, an exploration of polyurethane resulted in Soft Vases (1994), where the form of an antique urn is recast in soft, malleable polyurethane, and, in another project, a primitive wooden African prie-dieu, or prayer desk, is transformed into the Kasese Chair (1999), which couples the elemental nature of felt with futuristic carbon fiber while still preserving the poetry of the original form. Jongerius’ unique approach to design objects, specifically textiles, and her willingness to experiment leads to inspired final products.