Jolan van der Wiel
Jolan van der Wiel is a Dutch student whose graduation project at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy resulted in the designing of innovative tools and stools. His idea is to make use of the natural forces and those presented by advanced technology to create new and original designs.
It was an in depth study of the natural forces of gravitation and magnetism that lead Jolan to arrive at this innovative idea. The Dutch designer created peculiar and bizarre looking stools by using and fusing raw materials with the help of natural powers of gravity and magnetism. Each of these seats has been made from a mix of plastics and iron shavings in a special machine that uses magnets and gravity instead of electricity. The final product has been aptly called ‘Gravity Stool’. These stools are fantastic and have sustainable designs. Each one is unique, low-impact and a literal explosion of colors, and textures.
The method used in the manufacturing of these stools is very unique and special. As the raw materials are mixed, iron filings are added to the mixture. The machine makes use of gravity to shape the legs of the stool. However, under the influence of powerful magnet, the iron filings get attracted towards the magnetic core. This causes the soft plastic to get extruded and pulled towards the magnet along with the iron filings. It is this pull that creates the special designs of the stools. The process is random and thus each stool produced is a unique piece.
If thought about a little in depth, the designer is actually ‘growing’ the furniture! The special machine has been designed to function like a reverse press. The liquid plastic is allowed to settle in the base along with the iron filings in it. Strong magnets now pull this liquid plastic through the iron filings. The magnets are made to rise slowly and steadily. This causes an asymmetric rise of the plastic mold. In the meanwhile, gravity ensures that the plastic ‘rise’ is not rapid so as to create breaks and dripping apart. The base remains more or less stable and same and thus the stools end up with flat and comfortable seats. The legs, however, are totally at the mercy of physics and that uncertainty also lends great beauty to the stools.
The ability to introduce uniqueness and asymmetry via the use of uncertainty is a unique feature of these stools. While some feel that the stools are real ugly to look at, some others swear by the beauty brought about by chaos. Using magnetism to pull up the concoction of plastic and metal into crazy legs and using gravity to maintain a standard shaped seat for the stool is a wonderful achievement of the Dutch designer. One thing is for sure – you will either love or hate these stools. You simply cannot miss them!