Inspired by the impossibly smooth surface of a fake wood office desk, Business Furniture is the latest project from the Rotterdam-based design duo Nightshop. Attracted to the bland and neutral quality of office furniture, designers Ward van Gemert & Adriaan van der Ploeg decorate found objects, like closets and tables, with one-of-a-kind designs. Using colored markers, the artists take to the surfaces of these pieces to create intricate line patterns and cartoonish drawings. A quick ‘making of’ video, which you can watch below, shows van Gemert & van der Ploeg decorating the face of a coffee table.
The artists see their work as an homage to those dilapidated tan desks and sky blue chairs of public high schools across the globe. Nightshop tells The Creators Project, “This kind of furniture doesn’t have an air of pretentiousness." Thus, to van Gemert & van der Ploeg they’re blank canvases. The artists first draw their adornments directly onto the pieces. They then lay down a thick layer of clear resin to help protect their intricate designs. “The end result is a an exercise in patience as well as a declaration of love to the one emotion that binds us all: boredom.”
According to the artists, the series serves an investigation of how we consider good or bad taste, a reflection of what is acknowledged as "lowbrow." Under the same premise, the studio previously created multi-colored carpets made from soft urethane foam. This point was taken one step further when the artists took their works to the streets in a series of short video interviews with a handful of strangers on the streets of Rotterdam. When asked what they thought of the Business Furniture project, Rotterdam residents had brutally honest responses. Through this small collection of vignettes, the artists reveal a critical sense of self-awareness. Brief, comedic interviews present an open-minded sensibility that says, "We don't take ourselves too seriously,"—something that makes all of our daily lives a little bit more comfortable to sit with.
Business Furniture was produced in close collaboration with Robert van Oosterom Interiors & Fine Art Gallery, where van Gemert and van der Ploeg are working towards a new solo exhibition opening Thursday, June 16. Learn more about Nightshop studio here.