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Design as a proto-practice? - talk A. Coles & F. Lomme
Wednesday, October 25, 20:00

Design as a proto-practice?- a conversation with Alex Coles and Freek Lomme, moderated by Josh Plough.
Much design at the moment does not seem to go into production or even limited circulation, many of the prototypes just remain props. Does this mean the design object should then enter the realm of art and become more of a node for critical imagining? 

In the framework of the Studio Mieke Meijer exhibition ’The Parts and the Sum’—which discusses aspects of scale, perspective and proportion in their interior objects—design writer Alex Coles and Onomatopee director Freek Lomme will get together and discuss the issue. Coles wrote the 2007 book Design and Art that discussed the relationship between the two, while Freek Lomme organised the exhibition series and publication Desarting, which dealt with the practical fracture of the two in 2008. Looking back and looking ahead, they meet for the first time to consider the present state of design-practice and the issue of the possible Prototype Generation. The conversation will be moderated by Josh Plough, assistant curator at Onomatopee and MA student design curating and writing at the DAE.


Onomatopee 143 / Cabinet project
the parts and the sum
Encompassing the crafting of scale, perspective and proportionality in the anthropocene while featuring the work of Studio Mieke Meijer.

September 2 - Oktober 29

The geometry, the structure, the materiality, the texture, the finishing; all contest the reciprocity of construction and detail through the rules of the properties themselves. Studio Mieke Meijer (Mieke Meijer and Roy Letterlé) construct aesthetics with the utmost necessity. With industrial knowledge, they return to a more manual craft in order to accommodate all the facets of their work. As they move closer, things get more specific. As man takes control in the anthropocene, do we actually get closer to an existential quality? 

Perspective, scale and proportionality are key to the work of Studio Mieke Meijer. In the exhibition at Onomatopee, its design will release different perspectives onto the work, stimulating an analytical disposition to trigger your awareness of the properties concerned. Experience and information are in a constant loop with one-another. 

This exceptional exhibition, inspired by the practice of the Studio, triggered a further, more abstract and critical exploring of the construction of aesthetics on the fracture of architecture and interior design, the interior object as a research proposition and the fundamental case of aesthetic approximation. The visual fabrication of aesthetics will be targeted both in the graphic transfer of the photographed work in the publication as well as in the accompanying texts.

Things are what they are. Things are what they are because of the way they are. Things are better if they are built well.

To be little more explicit: all existent is—within designed culture—immanent to itself. The elements of this immanence make the existent fundamentally existential. As the immanence of existence is determined by existential elements, optimisation rests on the existential qualities concerned. This is how existence comes to our present experience.

In order to ‘make things fit’, properties have to ‘come out well’, ‘connect’, ‘be in balance’ and have other such vague attributions. We can try and take measure as existential quality rests in properties, but the laws of nature have no regard for any matters of taste.


Design of true greatness can only be informed by an existence most true to the laws of nature, to the best quantifications. That is true quality. That is existential in all properties serving existence.


More than making interior objects, Studio Mieke Meijer utilises the construct of the interior object as a form rooted in the everyday, to try and take measure of existential, quantifiable qualities. Scale and perspective are accomplishments in knowledgeable capacity, considered unforeseeable prior to the renaissance, and were controversial at first. Proportionality is still a very much arguable property. One could argue less is more is all about cost-efficiency of material, or one could argue it’s about natural optimisation, yet one can equally argue it is in fact a betrayal of a human’s qualities. Is there any law to aesthetics, and can the natural sciences guide us there so we can construct this?  

Curator / editor: Freek Lomme
Assistant curator/editor: Josh Plough
Graphic design: Mainstudio in collaboration with Mook Attanath
Made possible thanks to the Province of Brabant and Onomatopee 



© Onomatopee 2011