DESIGN STUDIO NIRUK x GLASS
„Translucent or opaque, whether it reflects or absorbs light – glass is fascinating. Worked into delicate and thin-walled designs, it appears fragile; when blown into thick-walled shapes, it conveys depth and weight. Glass can be exquisite, fireproof and nowadays even indestructible, possessing many different properties and thus opening up numerous possibilities in design for us.“
Crystal glass. Industrial glass. Smoked glass. Coloured glass. Hardly any other material is as versatile in appearance and effect as glass. Multifaceted and playful light effects can be generated just as easily as new surface textures or unexpected shapes and patterns. Glass is alive – and, through changes of its aggregate state, allows countless possibilities. It presents both a design challenge and an opportunity. And thus an ideal sphere of activity for Design Studio Niruk. Nina Ruthe and David Antonin illustrate their approach with various objects made of glass. „Our glass objects and productsare the results of planned tests and processes,“ they explain. Although the traditional art of glassblowing allows a spontaneous modification of the object, it is essential for Design Studio Niruk to develop products that are suitable for industrial production, however, without restricting the designers in any way. Planned experiments have given rise to a variety of objects; collaboration with professional glassblowers has enabled the designers to develop a surprisingly new vocabulary of forms.
‘Out of the box‘ thinking for a new vocabulary of forms The formal language is achieved both through the work in the hotshop and the focused implementation of a wide variety of tools, thus illustrating the design duo’s unique approach. Design Studio Niruk‘s range of glass designs is diverse: ranging from their own portfolio of experimental projects to product series for renowned manufacturers. In interaction with light, glass generates surprising effects. Design Studio Niruk playfully exploits this special quality for their products. What they all have in common is the combination of traditional craftsmanship with creative ‚out of the box‘ thinking. When heated or melted, glass can always be reshaped – a fact that also describes Nina and David‘s design process.
Experimenting with modular forms When creating glass designs, in addition to particular existing tools, such as an antique waffle iron, Nina and David work with modular and self-built moulds. The dimensions and surfaces of elements can be individually adapted. Consisting of plug-in components, the elaborate construction of the moulds enables a kind of rapid prototyping: thereby it is possible to intervene in the production process and react directly to the results. The created objects reflect the character of ‘inflation’, they are both organic and geometric, and thus correspond to the design identity of Design Studio Niruk. A modification of the modular mould has a direct effect on both the material’s viscosity and the blown-in glass itself. New ideas can be realised quickly, which is not necessarily the case with other materials. When working with glass, the implemented techniques become visible.
Playful ways to create a variety of shapes One of Niruk’s most unusual tools used in the design process with glass is an antique waffle iron: misappropriated for this use, the first design created with this tool during the glass blowing process was WAFFLE – characterised by the special waffle pattern on the object‘s surface. The results and knowledge obtained from this project were then used for the modular mould construction for BRAMBLE: consisting of three different designs, the range of vases for the Danish manufacturer Bolia is available in both clear and smoked glass. In the case of the OULA vase, on the other hand, a unique design object was created even without the use of unconventional tools. In order to give the liquid glass its individual shape, the designers developed modular moulds made of wood and iron, which can be slotted together to create individual forms: the result is playful vessels that set no limits to creativity. OULA is the best proof. Creativity and audacity – along with a love of experimentation, nature in particular offers a special source of inspiration for the Niruk designers: the ICICLE vase is instantly reminiscent of a frozen icicle. A playful design, defined by linear structures and a distinct shape.
The importance of colour In addition to self-developed moulds and unconventional tools, the colour of the material plays an important role for the designer duo. Colouring changes the character of glass significantly: lines and material thickness are clearly emphasised, giving the object an expressive character. Reminiscent of textile folds, the FALDA vase delights not only with its special surface structure, shaped by a flexible mould made of fanned-out beech-wood slats, but also with an interplay of light and colour. With its dark blue tinted glass, FALDA evokes associations of water, flowing and deep.
„Glass is subtle, appears light and blends into the environment; unusual shapes or special structures interact with their surroundings and play with light and shadow. If you were to realise the same form in ceramics, the object would have a completely different effect just by the choice of material.“