form finder / designer

His ‘impossible’ experiments gave many craftsman a headache. Award-winning self-producing designer and inventor Arnout Visser (1962) calls himself a ‘form finder’: a functional artist who explores the boundaries of autonomous art, industrial design and experimental science. His star shone early: at the age of 19 he won a design competition with an ingenious lamp, which was promptly taken into mass production.

After studying at ArtEZ in Arnhem and Domus Academy in Milan Arnout Visser was welcomed into Droog Design, with successful little wonders such as Table Tap, Fruit on Wheels and Salad Sunrise. Nowadays he prefers to go back to the source: working directly with artisans and glass companies, being involved from A to Z.

Although he also uses ceramics, wood and other materials, glass is the ultimate for him. ‘I foresee a 'Glass Age': the tensile strength is unprecedented. I am euphoric to see something big come about after many failures. In fifteen minutes a glassmaker has to get the job done, and that’s hard, hard work. No robot is able to defeat his lungs, yet. A glass-blower is a combination of a heart surgeon and helicopter pilot.’

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Big Mushrooms

Visser’s Big Mushrooms vary in colour, from cool to warm, and provide a mind-blowing experience. The shape arose using antique optical moulds, which caused interesting irregularities. The glass designs came about through intensive research and experimenting in the Czech Republic. More specifically: Bohemia. Where else than in an area with such a name could magic mushrooms originate? The spirited Visser has traits of a bohemian him self, but thanks to his knowledge of the laws of physics, he keeps both feet firmly on the ground. Nevertheless, he likes defying design laws. The Mushroom Lamp is twice as large as what is regarded as normal. Visser: ‘It’s not possible, I often hear from artisans. If you do something every day, you develop a blind spot for it. My challenge is to immerse myself in research and experiment in order to prove them wrong.’

Each Mushroom is unique. The shape of the glass display stand arises purely by gravity and perfect timing.

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Source: Annemiek van Grondel, Connecting the dots #13