Marjan van Aubel (Netherlands, 1985) is a designer with an inquisitive, almost scientific perspective. She graduated in 2012 from the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art and is currently based in London.
December 4, 2012
You’ve mentioned that you are coming from a family of chemists. Can you tell a bit more about that?
Marjan van Aubel:
Both my dad and my sister are chemists and there was always a fascination in those other fields from my side too. For example, I followed courses at the university of Amsterdam in Quantum physics. It is very interesting to learn different methods and ways of doing things which are borrowed from other professions, for example how to separate colors with chromatography. These things I learned at home and come from chemistry.
When did the fascination with material exploration begin?
It happened during my studies at Design LAB at the Rietveld academy.
I did an exchange project with Ecole Boulle in Paris about the use of Ornaments. Ecole Boulle is very much about crafts and making. Back in Amsterdam I applied this way of thinking in crafting new materials. I created new materials that emphasized on ornament and its use.
Your work is based more on the quality of the material then on the shape.The shapes are almost left to the chance, due to the enormous expansion of the material. Do you like this freedom that material gives you form-wise or do you try to control it more?
Yes, I am very much enjoying this experimental boundary between controlling the material while also letting it behave freely. It should be a balance and good mix between both
Both wood and china are “foam”. So the research is targeting the expansion of the material. Why? Is it about the optimization of the potential?
In the case of foamed wood it was about optimization the potential as by this discovery I was able to create 7 tables out on one table. I planed the table down to woodchips and by doing this I was able to increase the volume of the table when I re-casted this. By mistake bio resin started a foaming reaction when I added water so then I suddenly could increase the volume by 7 times. In the case of Foam China it was not about optimization. Having a foamed porcelain was a complete new use of porcelain. Porcelain is never lightweight and it requires a complete other way of producing. This is still very interesting to discover and to work on.
This article was first published in #1 Archetype issue of the CURRENT OBSESSION magazine