Fans of the self-referential wink and nod, admirers of whimsy for whimsy’s sake, take heed—today’s post returns us to the land of dykes and tulips! After recently featuring such Netherlands iconoclasts as Studio Job, Priveekollektie, and Maarten Baas, a new week brings a new look at a new Dutch design/build team, the onomatopoeic duo called Moooi. “Moooi,” translated as “beautiful” (“with one extra ‘o’ because it is extra beautiful”), the entity is the collaborative brainchild of Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers.
Brave New World Lamp. Designed by Marcus Beck and Simon Macro of Freshwest in collaboration with Moooi.
Their “reinforcing strengths are still sublime: Marcel, the obstinate designer with a keen eye for business and Casper, the marketeer with a keen eye for design.” The disclaimer exists in part because Moooi also collaborates with some superstar designers, whether they’re individuals, like Bertjan pot, Jasper Morrisson, and Ross Lovegrove; or independent companies, like Freshwest, the UK duo of designers Marcus Beck and Simon Macro, who created the Brave New World lamp for Moooi. All of which begs the question, “if a Dutch manufacturer with 3 O’s in their name contracts with a pair of Wales-based, surf-happy designers to make a desk lamp patterned on the ancient bamboo scaffolding techniques of far East craftsmen, does it emit any light?”
Yes and yes, must come the response. Because, in addition to being a highly-adjustable lamp, Brave New World is a masterpiece of miniaturization, a symphony of wise materials use, a paean to the beauty of exposed engineering, and a dead ringer for the charming Pixar mascot whose engaging gymnastics often precede animated masterworks like the recent Wall*E. The lamp was conceived as a sort of impromptu exercise in downsizing large-scale construction techniques.
Moooi says the piece was “developed without a design or plan in place… however, each piece of wood was carefully notched and pegged together to form an integral part of the overall mechanical structure.” The resulting latticework in solid oak—resembling, yes, an ancient scaffold, but also a mammoth oil derrick, an oceanside pier, and the iconic construction toy from the 70s called “Erector Set”—is a wonderment of intersecting parts and tiny joinery, of geometrical gamesmanship and clever mechanics.
Besides the necessary electrical components, the only metal in Brave New World is the pair of counter-balancing lead weights that maintain the structure’s stability. All of which may have you making tiny adjustments to the lamp’s height and position (operating the hinges “with both hands for stability”) and scratching your bemused head while saying to yourself, “leave it to the Dutch.” And/or the surf-happy Welsh…