A love of experimentation and a unique approach to colour informs the work of Dutch design studio Scholten & Baijings
A love of experimentation and a unique approach to colour informs the work of Dutch design studio Scholten & Baijings. Vogue Living speaks with studio cofounder Carole Baijings on the duo’s latest project.
Our focus on colour started as a sort of surprise,” says Carole Baijings, one half of design duo Scholten & Baijings. The Dutch practice is celebrated for an oeuvre that spans concept cars for BMW, porcelain for Japanese firm Arita and, most recently, a line of modular furniture for Herman Miller and a new textile range for US-based textiles company Maharam. Baijings and her partner in design and life, Stefan Scholten, launched their practice in 2000; since then, the Amsterdam-based couple has built a reputation for a highly individual take on colour. It’s a signature that began with a failed textile sample, which, after compliments from friends, was developed into a blanket that today remains a bestseller. “It taught us that something that in our eyes was a total failure could, in another context, be a great success,” says Baijings. The pair’s flair for hands-on experimentation is captured in their latest collaboration with Maharam, a heritageinspired range of three individual fabric designs and the duo’s fourth collection for the company. Here, Baijings describes her inspiration. Our new textile collection is based on Dutch
darning samplers from the 17th century. Mary Murphy, the vice president of design for Maharam, knows Dutch culture very well. She suggested we look at our own textile history and in particular, darning samplers. It’s a Dutch tradition, used as a teaching tool to help young girls learn how to sew. Some are elaborate works showing the methods of repair on various fabrics using different yarn types and colours. They eventually became like works of art and are now bought by collectors and museums in Japan and America. It’s important to us to create new forms that you
cannot possibly design on a computer. We mix our own formulas, make our own materials and even colours that are just right, and not just chosen from Pantone. If we send a Pantone colour to a manufacturer then they don’t use their own knowledge anymore — and we need them to really create the colour we’re aiming for.
We just bought a new 3D printer and printed our first textile. We curated a show at the textile museum in Holland about Scandinavian design and they asked us to create a collection. We printed small so it feels leaves like in a different fabric. It’s colours a sustainable and connected material them — made from rice and corn — so, like leaves in nature, it will eventually dissolve. Our Dutch heritage has really influenced the
way we work… from artists such as Mondrian, Van Gogh and Rembrandt to the way our country is so flat with linear landscapes and horizons. It mirrors the characteristics of Dutch design, which is very minimal but also experimental, innovative, unconventional with a sense of humour. That’s in our DNA — although sometimes our work is described as being quite un-Dutch. I think maybe in the layering and detailing and the way we work, almost like an artist, but still working with industry. In our opinion it’s extremely important to work with industry — that’s where the greatest restrictions lie but also the greatest opportunities.
FROM TOP a co p Baij A g Sampler Large, one of the duo’s newest textile designs for Maharam, shown on B&B Italia’s Andy ’13 sofa.