Book review: Hella Jongerius Misfit

Hella Jongerius: Misfit is a handsome book, its design, by fellow Dutch designer Irma Boom, reflecting the imaginative work of the maverick product designer.

Hella Jongerius Misfit Book Cover

Born in 1963, Jongerius graduated in industrial design from the Eindhoven Design Academy in The Netherlands coming to prominence in the early 90s with a series of designs for the influential Dutch conceptual design collective Droog Design.

Jongerius set up her own Rotterdam-based practice Jongeriuslab around the same time, relocating to Berlin in 2008, collaborating with the likes of Vitra, Royal Tichelaar Makkum and Swarovski. Her own work is held in the collections of MoMA, the Stedelijk Museum and London’s Design Museum.

Hella Jongerius at work at the IKEA-UNICEF project in India in 2008

Hella Jongerius: Misfit aims to capture the designer’s juxtaposition of seemingly opposite ideologies and practices: fusing industrial and craft, traditional and contemporary to create work that is tactile, a little unpolished – almost handmade – and always created with a sense of humour.

Jongerius is interested in old and new technologies, and the process itself. Thus her creations, be it a sofa or a simple vase, carry an intriguing narrative.

Hella Jongerius Frog Table

Jongerius is also keen to bring individuality to the manufactured object. Her B-Set of porcelain crockery, for instance, is fired at too high a temperature during the manufacturing process, so that the clay deforms slightly, giving each set a completely unique shape.

At the very core of the designer’s beliefs is that it is only in the ‘misfit’ objects (hence the book’s title) that quality craftsmanship is present, and that the imperfections of these products show the process and reveal the maker. Colour is pivotal to her work and to highlight this the book features over 300 images of Jongerius’s work arranged by colour.

Hella Jongerius coloured vase

Written by Louise Schouwenberg, Misfit also contains contributions from the design critic Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the department of architecture and design at the MoMA.

Hella Jongerius: Misfit is published by Phaidon.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Purchase this book here on the DT Bookshop.

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