Interview by Viveka van de Vliet
The origin of materials and waste streams play an important role in the work of Diederik Schneemann. The latest conceptual project of the designer together with photographer Aldwin van Krimpen, is presented for the first time in the Future Dome in Milan. Rubdish is a transformation of Rotterdam waste that finds its way back to your plate. The two ‘rubdish chefs’ serve us tempting dishes that make us think.
Waste is a hot item. A designer like Diederik Schneemann also has a creative brain that finds solutions for our waste dump. He gives a twist to the negative connotation that sticks to waste by illuminating the possibilities and beauty of the material.
To reinforce the intended image, he asked photographer Aldwin van Krimpen, whom he knew of, among other things, his beautifully stylized food photography. Together they wandered as Rotterdam beachcombers looking for ingredients for their dishes: especially on pieces of no man’s land as crash barriers, the banks of the 2nd Maasvlakte, but also in waste bins on a Metro platform or a container, they collected garbage bags full of rubbish. They sorted food packaging, foils, PET bottles, Cola cans and frayed pieces of polypropylene rope. Waste with a story, such as an opened “water emergency bag”. Is the bag coming from a refugee boat, from someone in need? And would the broken construction helmet be of a workman who has fallen from somewhere or has lost his helmet? And will there be more little plastic balls than sand grains on the 2nd Maasvlakte in the near future?
Mis en place the waste was polished, planed, melted and processed into dishes. The presentation resembles a pop-up five star restaurant where the designer and the photographer serve tasty dishes on floating tables with white starched table linen. The Rubdish menu consists of an arty nouvelle cuisine dish, an étagère with desirable chocolates, an attractive ice cream coupe and a main course with a disassembled and styled vacuum cleaner in strange color combinations.
The perfectly composed waste finds are portrayed in an artistic and graphic manner in the same attractive style. For example, each of the approximately twelve dishes consists of a triptych: a photograph of the location where the waste was’ harvested ‘, one of the waste as an ingredients’ artwork and a final picture of the actual dish.
‘We create striking and flavoring images with local raw materials. These are alienating and therefore attract your attention. They may allow you to dwell on it or think about it. What that is, is personal; we leave it to the viewer. ‘
Also with his other projects, the designer tells about the origin of materials and products, which he gives a new life and a new story. The idealistic social recycling project A Flip Flop story with which he became known in Milan in 2011, also deals with waste flows. In this, the designer showed that you can make from 30,000 kilos of washed-up plastic slippers on the beaches of Africa (detail: mostly traditional pink and blue), gallery objects and commercial products. The design objects were sold at designshop Polls Potten. In that way they supported the local community in Senegal, where craftsmen produced design products from washed-up slippers.
In 2013, Schneemann presented 3D printed Mash-up’s. With the 3D printing techniques that were rapidly evolving at the time, he produced new designs with elements of design icons – such as a lamp from forged fragments of Luigi de Ponti’s Bialetti percolator, the Peugeot pepper mill, the bird of Michael Graves’ whistling kettle for Alessi and an ear from Richard Huttens Domoor cup. A project that raises the question about the meaning of copyright in combination with 3D printing.
And now with Rubdish, Schneemann and Van Krimpen want to show interesting and attractive dishes that are bundled in the Rotterdam Rubdish Cookbook, and hopefully also find their way to galleries, private collectors or lead to new exhibitions elsewhere.
Thanks to Connecting the Dots
Portrait by Boudewijn Bollmann