What is your occupation now?
I am an interior designer in the process of setting up my own design studio called Supertoys Supertoys. The work I am currently busy with - commercial and academic - can be seen as an extension of the research I have started with my graduation project at the Piet Zwart Institute (MIARD). All my projects deal with the question of how we can (re)connect with objects, attempting to understand the existing relationships between humans and objects and fantasizing about the completely new ones. I am an animist. I believe that objects and spaces are animated and alive. With Supertoys Supertoys I hope to be able to contribute to the world of objects and spaces by creating oneiric, ambiguous forms and shapes that provoke new relationships. One big goal I have for this year is to find funding for a design project collaborating with programmers, a sort of Google DeepDream but then in 3D.
What expertise did you gain at PZI?
Most importantly - conceptual thinking and a critical design approach. In my time at PZI/MIARD I had an opportunity to develop a design methodology with my own design aesthetics allowing me to design based on theoretical foundations and conceptual observations.
What is the future of your profession in your opinion?
We will all become robots… kidding ;-). Obviously, there will be an increasing overlap between all kinds of (design) professions: architects, artists, industrial- and fashion designers, but also scientists and programmers. With the increasing complexity of our future world, it is necessary to have a strong focus on collaboration, not only with humans but equally important, with Artificial Intelligence.
Anthropomorphone - Design for the Displaced
Commissioned by FRAME Magazine and published in issue #120 (Jan 2018).
Learn more about Anthropomorphone - Design for the Displaced here.
It is necessary to have a strong focus on collaboration, not only with humans but equally important, with Artificial Intelligence.
You never leave your house without…
I can’t think of anything but a good idea where to get my next cup of coffee ;-).
Any words of advice to future students?
I think the most important advice I can give is to develop your own design methodology, to be aware of its existence and to keep reflecting on it. It will always give you a solid foundation to expand and build your research and design experimentation upon. Another important aspect for future generations is to think of objects and spaces as actors that are part of our social constructs, almost like living beings with a consciousness. I truly believe this way of animistic thinking will become more and more important and eventually change the way we deal with the objects surrounding us in our daily lives.
Name your favourite recent project.
My recent favourite project is ‘We Are Stardust’ in collaboration with Job Mouwen. It was recently published by FRAME magazine. In this project, we took an unexpected turn on the concept of de-stressing. We thought of the concept of the overview effect, the feeling of awe astronauts experience when they look down on earth from outer space. This effect changes their entire view on life. We designed a one-person telescope providing the experience of being immersed in outer space, replicating this awe-experience of astronauts and by this causing a cognitive shift. This project was the first one after graduation, where I could combine both of my passions: animistic and futuristic/ Sci-Fi elements in design.
Visit Merle's website: www.merleflugge.com