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.
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.