Nina van Bart, Roel Deden & Marieke van Heesbeen
NEW CRAFTS by Crafts Council Nederland
The project of designer Nina van Bart, 3D designer Roel Deden and product designer and ceramicist Marieke van Heesbeen revolves around the so-called ‘Tactile Totem’. The totem functions as a case study to demonstrate how physical and digital knowledge and techniques can tie up in a new working process.
The concept of the totem stems from Van Bart, who is a designer of objects, surfaces and settings for interiors and architecture. She makes one totem each year as a means of material research. Van Bart studies the possibilities of different materials structures and colours by applying them to four basic architectural shapes: the box, the cylinder, the cone and the dome. Gradually, Van Bart builds an archive of resolved experiments that can serve as an example to herself and makers in other disciplines, such as fashion or the design industry.
Making the totems is labour-intensive: it requires extensive research as well as the repeated production of physical mock-ups. For this specific totem, made from ceramics, Van Bart, Deden and Van Heesbeen reinvented the process in order for it to be more efficient. Instead of developing the totem through physical mock-ups, a virtual version of the totem was designed by Deden in 3D design software. Via interactive viewing technology, the makers could give feedback on the virtual design. If necessary, adjustments could be made directly in the design programme. Van Heesbeen advised on adaptations for execution in ceramics, as only she could predict how the design would eventually come out of the kiln.
This way of working proved to be not only efficient, but also valuable on an artistic level. Making virtual models instead of physical mock-ups saved hours, which could then be spent on the creative thought process.
Text: Nora Veerman
Photography: Fan Liao