The young Dutch designer explains how and why he crafted a lighting fixture out of lowly chicken wire – and how it got into Moooi‘s latest collection.
How did you start working with wire mesh?
I had wanted to take a very simple material and just add value to it in the broadest sense of the word. So I thought, what’s one of the most banal materials I can think of? The answer: chicken wire! At school [in Arnhem], they laughed at me: They were like, “You can’t be serious.” But that was the whole point: to take the material very seriously and to get at its hidden functional and aesthetic qualities.
Is that when the Meshmatics Chandelier was born?
At school, I built a machine that allowed me to shape the chicken wire in a very controlled way. That resulted in these very light, aesthetically pleasing structures that came even more to life when we put light into them; [light] showed off every transparency as well as the structure itself. I really liked this image of a chandelier made of a humble material but still having this decadence. It’s a true chandelier, but it’s made out of almost nothing.
How long does it take to produce a Meshmatics light?
Hours. And it’s all still done by hand at Moooi. I like that it has this manual touch that even today is hard to achieve with a machine or robot. We’re also now working on different sizes and configurations, like a floor lamp or a wall-mounted light.
Is material a starting point for you?
When I [consider] a material or a technique, I just want to find out what’s possible. I’m not looking to make a chair or a lamp. I want to know more about the material and to find something that maybe is new about it or we don’t know yet, deepening the material spectrum.