Interiors, furniture and art objects by Kaptein Roodnat demonstrate the company's unique views on design. Its forms are clear and understandable, yet never simple: they show that an object always has multiple aspects. A piece of furniture, for example, is not only an object, but often also functions as a place in a given space. A confined space on the other hand can also be an object. No surprise then that outlines, sections and residual forms are often visible in the designs by Kaptein Roodnat. It is as if, through continuous reflection and reversal, unexpected features and capabilities of objects reveal themselves.
Couches and chairs
A good example of this proces of reversal is the play structure for a children's hospital in New York. The final design of a bright orange climbing couch for toddlers combines several aspects: it is a city plan put upside down, but also a stacked play area which occupies less space in this way. At the same time, it resembles a doll house that is open on two sides. Besides saving floor space, the furniture ensures a pleasant view from the street. The appearance of the design immediately demonstrates what is important: children having the room to play. The Costume Chair is another good example of reversal, in this case an inside-out reversal. The production of this chair began with its padding, which was cut according to a certain pattern and was closely modeled after the shape of the chair. This produces a kind of mold into which the liquid, supporting the plastic frame of the chair, is poured. After curing, the frame and coating become one. The Costume Chair also demonstrates that Kaptein Roodnat considers the methods of production from an early stage. In addition to the reversals and reflections, the shapes reflect their ability to simultaneously display and conceal something. The designers make use of this double, almost paradoxical aspect in their designs for the Mandarina Duck store in Paris. The massive metallic closet in this shop is enclosed in such a way that one gets the feeling that you can try on clothes on the spot. The fitting room, on the other hand, has a movable wall of plastic reeds that offers a half view of the store, making you more aware of the gazes from outside. This challenges ones expectation of spaces' possibilities.<p
Marleen Kaptein and Stijn Roodnat have been working together since their graduation from the Design Academy in 1999. With their 'Klimglijklauterhangzitvoetbaltoneelbuis" they were nominated in 2007 for the Rotterdam Design Prize. They created (interior) designs for the Martinez Gallery in New York, Mandarina Duck in Paris and Hotel Arena in Amsterdam. They were commissioned by Kunst en Bedrijf to work on art applications in the Spaarne Hospital and the ROC Adventus in Zutphen. Some of their works have been displayed at the Dutch Masters exhibition at the Dutch Embassy in Berlin and at Fantastic Plastic in Nagoya (Japan), and was recently published in the Phaidon publication Contemporary World Interiors.