In the autumn of 2014, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen celebrated the tenth anniversary of Studio WiekiSomers (Dylan van den Berg & Wieki Somers) with the exhibition ‘Out of the ordinary’. A selection of around thirty objects featured work from this period, with the emphasis on the newest series. Designs that have not previously been seen in the Netherlands were on show in the museum. The presentation demonstrated the specific view Studio Wieki Somers has on reality. The expertly produced objects are striking thanks to a combination of beauty, technical ingenuity and associative visual language. ‘Out of the ordinary’ invites the spectator to look at his own daily reality through different eyes.
Since 2008, the ‘Merry-Go-Round Coat Rack’ by Studio Wieki Somers, has been one of the eye-catching features of the entrance area to the museum. In the autumn of 2014, a retrospective exhibition focused more attention on the work of these designers. Studio Wieki Somers turns everyday objects into exceptional items. Fantasy and reality meet in their designs that are striking thanks to special material details and technical ingenuity. With its work Studio Wieki Somers shows how out of the ordinary ordinary can be.
Out of the ordinary
A work on show from the museum’s own design collection was ‘High Tea Pot’ (2006), a tea pot in the shape of a skull with a piece of fur as tea cosy. This object references, among other things, the vanitas themes found in the 17th century hunting still lifes. A genre that is also well represented in the museum collection. There were also objects from the series ‘Frozen in Time’ (2010) on show, which are inspired by the extreme weather conditions of 1987, when the Dutch landscape was frozen in a storm of sleet and time seemed to stand still. A recent project of Studio Wieki Somers is ‘Chimney Pots’ (2014), a series of unusually designed chimneys for a construction project in Hoofddorp inspired by late medieval English Tudor architecture. Also included in the exhibition were lamps from the ‘Mitate’ series (2013), for which inspiration was found in Japan. The lamps are impressive thanks to the material used and the amalgamation of tradition and craftsmanship with modern techniques. Material tests were hung around these objects, thus dividing the room spatially.
A richly illustrated publication was published simultaneously with the exhibition, in which the design philosophy of Studio Wieki Somers took a central position. The publication is designed by Mevis & Van Deurzen, and the contributors include national and international design critics Pierre Doze, Anniina Koivu and Louise Schouwenberg and curator Annemartine van Kesteren. Photographer Elspeth Diederix was awarded the assignment of visualising the research themes of Studio Wieki Somers. The book is published by JRP Ringier and is available in the museum.
Studio Wieki Somers features in the Dutch Profiles documentary series. This episode and series can be viewed on the ARTtube.nl video channel and will also be shown in the Video Room. Studio Wieki Somers provides a poetic glimpse of everyday life. Other designs by Studio Wieki Somers and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s design collection can also be found on collection online.