Olivier van Herpt (NL)

The industrial machine is a black box between designers and users. It is an imaginary border dividing craft and design. The works of Olivier van Herpt, however, pry apart the machine, expanding this unit for standardised production into a platform for creative exploration.

Tinkering with digital fabrication technologies, the industrial design graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven constructs methods and means of production that meld together seemingly divergent worlds. Digital and analogue mediums blur in van Herpt’s programming of software and electronics to spray graffiti as if written by hand. The parallels of drawing and object-making are expressed with his 3D printer hacked to draw intricate Moiré graphic patterns instead. Nature and technology meet in the designer’s tweak of the additive manufacturing process to drip instead of extrude its output, inspired by how stalagmites are formed in caves.

The limits of digital fabrication are pushed even further in 3D printers the Dutch designer crafted to produce larger forms and also work with materials beyond conventional plastic. Out of clay, paraffin, and even beeswax, van Herpt has printed collections of objects that soften the exact and indifferent definition of industrial design. Vases seemingly handwoven by artisans, ceramics with imperfections, and pottery shaped by the environment they were made in—manufactured objects that demonstrate how the designer reinserts humanity into the man-made machine.

Just as the advent of digital fabrication has democratised manufacturing for the masses, the works of van Herpt seek to reconnect design with the human touch. Drilling deep into the design process, he flattens the production chain standing between designer and user with innovative machines that are really tools which empower making.

By opening up the industrial machine, the designs of van Herpt invites all of us to collaborate in creating a world we never imagined possible.

La machine industrielle agit comme une frontière entre l’artisanat et le design. Olivier van Herpt utilise l’imprimante céramique 3D comme plateforme d’exploration créative. Le designer recherche l’ambiguïté du matériau et des textures, n’hésitant pas à simuler l’accident pour apporter une autre dimension à ses pièces.

13. Teo Jakob

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