I did a doubletake when I first saw a picture of Jo Meesters’ adorable furniture for his Netherlands design studio, TESTLAB. Yes, it did — It looked just like the potholders I made as a kid, using cotton loops strung and woven on a small square loom. I loved the potholders’ colors and patterns, and made oodles of them. Nothing else seemed to have quite the same appearance of weave and texture. Until now.
Meesters’ furniture collection, “Odds & Ends, Bits & Pieces”, uses only recycled material — 34 discarded wooden beams and 16 leftover blankets goes into each four-piece set.
This stool looks so soft and appealing.
The studio explores the intersection of craftsmanship and mass production. Many of the forms are elemental. Sustainability, innovation and good design are guiding principles, as is the transformation that is possible when one considers or uses something in a new way.
The “My Secret Garden” carpet, which was done in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park, is made from discarded woolen blankets. Traditional needlework and floral patterns lend it extra charm.
This woodwork-inspired table, “Reshaping Wood”, was also created in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park. The project explored the intersection of traditional woodwork and cutting-edge water jet technology in its fabrication.
I find Meesters’ work incredibly inspiring, for its beauty and obvious love of craftsmanship and for its care and creativity in regards to re-use of everyday materials. Indeed, one of Meesters’ stated goals is to create a bond between object and user, to imbue his projects with an emotional value. If all that weren’t enough, Testlab and Meesters’ creations are just plain fun.
Photos by Marielle Leenders for Jo Meesters (Collection, Stool)
Photos by Jo Meesters (Carpet, Table)