Hella Jongerius brings an interest in tradition and craft to her work, but combines it with the wit and creativity that has become the signature of contemporary Dutch design.Born in 1963, Hella Jongerius studied at the Eindhoven Design Academy from 1988-1993, where designers such as Maarten Baas, Bertjan Pot and Tord Boontje are fellow alumni.In her final year, she and other graduates, including Jurgen Bey and Marcel Wanders, showed at the Milan Furniture Fair under the newly formed Dutch design collective, Droog Design.Many of Jongerius’s earliest creations were produced by Droog – now recognised as one of the most influential groups in contemporary Dutch design.
Since opening her studio, Jongeriuslab, in Rotterdam in 1993, she has moved away from the polyurethane sinks and vases of the mid 1990s to a more decorative, crafted approach.She has worked closely with porcelain houses Royal Tichelaar Makkum and Nymphenburg Porcelain for many years and has produced ranges for New York fabric manufacturer Maharam, including the award-winning ‘Repeat’ fabrics, from 2003, and ‘Layers’, from 2007.
In 1999, she designed a folding chair based on a Ugandan style. Produced by Cappellini, her ‘Kasese’ chair turned rustic timber into hi-tech folding carbon fibre.
Her formed ‘Felt’ stool of 2001, also by Cappellini, reworked an earlier Rosenthal porcelain prototype. The material was changed to bent metal covered in contrasting layers of wool felt with heavy overstitching.
In 2005, Jongerius designed a couple of pieces for Swiss furniture company Vitra. The ‘Bovist’, pictured, pouf features a linen/viscose fabric with stitching detail depicting motifs of traditional crafts.
The ‘Polder’ (pictured) sofa features six different, tonally matching fabrics in palettes of red, green, cream or brown. Oversized bone or timber buttons contribute to the handmade aesthetic. Her child-sized ‘Porcupine’ desk and ‘The Worker’ and ‘Rotterdam’ chairs followed.
Recently, she has collaborated with Ikea, with pieces such as the ‘PS Jonsberg’ vase. At this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, she showed her new wall hangings as part of Ikea’s first-ever Milan stand – a UNICEF/Ikea initiative that sees profits help the Indian women who make them.
Hella Jongerius graduated from Eindhoven Design Academy, the Netherlands, in 1993 – just as Droog Design was founded – and was lucky and talented enough to ride the wave of 1990s creativity. She now designs her blend of industrially made but craft-inspired objects for companies as varied as Camper, Ikea, Vitra and Dutch porcelain house Royal Tichelaar Makkum.
Best known for …
Despite pieces for Droog and Cappellini and being voted designer of the year by Salon du Meuble Paris in 2004, it was her work for Vitra and the release of the ‘Polder’ sofa in 2005 that is most well-known.
Her recent projects for Ikea, pictured, (which include a collaboration with UNICEF) will hopefully allow her love of the handmade to cross over into mass-produced products that are readily accessible for everybody.
Hella Jongerius gallery