Translation by Anneke Maas

During Dutch Design Week, E52 will be introducing you to the festival’s Hidden Gems. Ten special designers who we feel are the stand-outs of this edition. A different Hidden Gem will enjoy the limelight each day of DDW. Today: Ulrike Jurklies (designer, founder mo man tai)

What See-through

By Ulrike Jurklies

Where Area51

For the third time, an exhibition by designer Ulrike Jurklies can be seen in Aera51. Together with her partners Zweko Optics, processor of plastic, BIG Impact, which makes prints in large format and Arla Plast, producer from the plastic industry, she’s giving a view, literally as well as figuratively. From the moment you enter, ‘See Through’ is an experience that takes you through the entrance hall to upstairs where transparent furniture made of residual material are shown.

For as long as Ulrike has lived in Eindhoven, she has participated in DDW. First with her own label ‘mo man tai’, which means ‘no problem’ in Cantonese, and for four years as Ulrike Jurklies: “A designer who wants to realise fun projects which warm up my heart”, the German woman smiles.

“During the DDW, I can let go of that commercial thought and see how far it gets you.”Ulrike Jurklies, Designer and owner mo man tai

“Throughout the whole year, what I do has to have a purpose. I have followed my course in München and that really is industrial design. It is very technical and everything needs to be realisable. That’s very different from the Design Academy, where they are much more conceptual. The way it is in München is the same with my label, I eventually want my interior products to end up with the consumer. So that it doesn’t end up in the drawer halfway because it actually is too expensive or it turns out it can’t be produced. During the DDW, I can let go of that commercial thought and see how far it gets you.”

It started four years ago with the expo Dreamland in Area 51. Along with her friends, Sarah Mesritz, with whom she shared a studio at the time, and Willemijn de Wit, who is now head of the creative department of De Bijenkorf in Eindhoven, she looked for designers whose work matched the skating theme. “We noticed that the skating scene was becoming hip and trendy. Now you see skaters in TV commercials, Karl Lagerfeld is designer for ‘Vans’, and longboards are part of the street scene.” Ulrike herself has also been infected with the virus and her nine-year old son has been skating since he was five. “We wanted to show the skating theme in different ways and attract another audience to Area51. It was so much fun that I decided to do handle it the same way every year.”

This year, there is a sequel on last year’s project. ‘Disposition’ was then an experience room she designed and created with three of here producers. The 28 meter long entrance hall was covered with durable wall paper of Big Impact, a printer from Eindhoven for large format digital prints. The Belgian Zweko Optics, that makes visors for the helmets of the police and fire department, produces the objects that would always give a different experience by walking past it, standing in front of it and changing position. And the Swedish plastic company Arla Plast delivered the material with which the objects were made. Everything was made for that one exhibition, this year they came up with something permanent and that became a furniture line.

“I’m especially proud of the collaboration. What I like is that, with the partners your ‘just’ working with the entire year, you can take a step further, test things, search for boundaries. That expands all parties’ horizons, both the designer and the producers.”

Ulrike thinks a nice example is Zweko Optics, that hired her as a designer to help them think ‘out of the box’. They want to investigate what else is possible with their material and machine park, Ulrike tells. “And that turns out to be furniture.”

The furniture is being made of the residual material of the Swedish Arla Plast, just like last year’s objects. They produce plastic plates. When the machines have to change the colour, it gives ‘waste’ in which on the one side, the ‘old’ colour is emptied, you then have a ‘clean’ part, and then the new colour, Ulrike explains. “‘See Through’ is about transparent material but it’s also about the deeper meaning of seeing something. You can see that in the use of the residual material. It doesn’t even enter the recycle process; we used it right away. And the fun part is that you get unique pieces.”

“Just like last year, the walls os the entrance hall are covered with the durable material of Big Impact. Upstairs, there’s an installation where we show the furniture and we show the waste material in many different ways. All of that with the theme ‘see through’: playing with light, reflections, the colours and shadows that arise. And it is also good fun for the children, because you can always look forward to the skate hall”, Ulrike laughs.

Read the story we wrote about Ulrike Jurklies before.

The ten hidden gems of DDW came about in collaboration with Dutch Design Daily and curator Katja Lucas of DDW. Do you want to admire the hidden gems yourself? Every day, Urban Exploring Tours and KOGA bikes organize a special bike tour along the selected designers. Find out more here.

Translation by Anneke Maas

De tien pareltjes van DDW zijn tot stand gekomen in samenwerking met Dutch Design Daily en curator Katja Lucas van DDW. Wil je de parels zelf bewonderen? Elke dag organiseert Urban Exploring Tours samen met KOGA fietsen een bijzondere fietstocht langs de geselecteerde ontwerpers. Meer info vind je hier.

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About the author

Corine Spaans is a writer. She is particularly interested in the stories of the people behind the innovations and has a passion for sport (innovation).