Onno Adriaanse Hutspot

‘Foamed’ by Onno Adriaanse is now on display at Hutspot Rotterdam


Eindhoven based designer Onno Adriaanse continues to surprise us with an innovating approach to material use. His project ‘Foamed’ is now on display at Hutspot Rotterdam which features furniture made of foam. We visited Onno in his studio to talk about his aesthetic, how he experiments with material and why adding an element of surprise to his work is important.

Hi Onno. What triggered you to become a designer?
I was brought up in a very creative family. My mother owned her own fashion label and my dad ran an art gallery. I remember always being surrounded by creativity and visiting art exhibitions was very important during our upbringing. After graduating from high school, I visited the open day of the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Seeing the work of students, hearing their stories and feeling the creative atmosphere felt inspiring. I share my current workspace with 7 others and creativity is constantly flowing in here. That passion and personal drive inspires me.

You describe your work as a combination of functionality and an emotional experience. Could you explain the emotional side to your work?
I always aim to infuse my work with a surprise element. I find it interesting to see that people tend to categorize materials and their purpose. We tend to only see foam as a weak material, steel as a strong material or concrete as something to build with. By shifting these around, you play with people’s perceptions. For example, I created small cabinets for precious items using two crossed polarizing filters, followed by a PETG plastic sheet. When the user walks around the cabinet, an interesting play of color is exposed.

Onno Adriaanse Hutspot

Onno Adriaanse Hutspot

Your project ‘Foamed’ is now on display at Hutspot Rotterdam. What kind of surprise element can we expect from this?
The ‘Foamed’ cabinet and table look like heavy and bulky objects. However, the user will be surprised when touching the object, because the material is actually squishy and soft. Foam is not often considered as a bearing material. By using a metal framework and adding a coating to the foam, the objects create the illusion of being one heavy piece. In contrast, there is a soft touch when interacting with the objects. 

How did you came up with the idea to use foam?
I was actually triggered by the ‘please don’t touch’ signs that we see everywhere. Everything has become so clinical, so I felt that foam had a lot of potential to counter this. I have worked with coatings on styrofoam before, and noticed that it actually made the material stronger. Combining this insight with the flexibility of the foam by using an elastic polyurethane coating proved successful. I challenged myself to use a generally perceived soft material for a bearing design such as a cabinet or table.

Have you been surprised by how viewers respond to your work?
Yes, many times! You can consciously evoke an emotion when people look or interact with your work. However, you have very little control over what people feel or think when interacting. When I was displaying ‘Flux’ (a light installation), someone came up to me and told me that they felt like they were experiencing the sea on a relaxing holiday. This was new to me, but I could not stop experiencing it after that person had shared their connotations. These are rewarding moments that confirm my work as a balance between functionality and art.

Onno Adriaanse Hutspot

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a personal project. I am originally from Zeeland and got inspired during my walks alongside the coast by unique sand patterns shaped by the sea. By using plaster casting, I captured the patterns and translated them into cabinets. All designs are time specific, since the patterns in the sand are continuously changing. I am still experimenting with different materials, but I see a lot of potential in using the patterns to evoke emotional value.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be able to continue experimenting and creating whatever I am fascinated by. I would also love to design complete interiors for companies, museums or stores. How cool would it be to have an entire room made from foam? Maybe Hutspot is interested? ; )

‘Foamed’ by Onno Adriaanse is now on display at Hutspot Rotterdam.
Curious? Visit onnoadriaanse.nl for more info.