It began with an antique kimono Dutch designer Aliki van der Kruijs found at a shop in Arita, Japan, during a three-month porcelain residency in 2017. Woven with a subtle jacquard grid pattern, van der Kruijs was drawn to the kimono’s simplicity and detail. Trained to work with cutting and molding during her education in fashion design, she also responded to its construction, which lacked any waste material. For her, the grid motif became “a system to use to investigate movement and three- dimensional shapes.”
As in her earlier work, van der Kruijs took an academic and methodical approach in designing the VEER collection. This included research into the depictions of geometry in 1960s vintage textbooks, as well as the work of Italian architect Ettore Sottsass Jr., whose photographs in Metaphors (1972–79) juxtaposed conceptual “constructions” of architectural grids on natural landscapes.
Van der Kruijs experimented with the grid pattern by reproducing it on acetate and applying it to 3-D items such as porcelain vases and discarded bits of porcelain she found at a quarry, where the whitest porcelain was produced 400 years ago. Once covered with the grid pattern, she dubbed one of the pieces her “philosopher’s stone.”
“I wanted to make alterations in the grid; subtle variations that make optical movements,” van der Kraus explains. To express the 3-D optic on a flat textile, she began creating paper collages and manipulating grids, which were the starting point in her discussions with WG Design Studio.
The outcome, Float, Slide, and Turn, each feature reinterpretations of the grid pattern with various distortions and imperfections that add to each pattern’s beauty. The highly usable color palette, consisting of blues, reds, browns, olives, golds, and gentle neutrals, was derived from 600+ van der Kruijs photos of weathered architectural elements, which she shot while cycling around Arita. She explains, “The weather has a big influence on wood, steel, and concrete. I observed that the colors of these materials become softer due to the heavy sunlight and other influences, but at the same time the material became harsher, more eroded, and sharper.”