MAARTEN BAAS | CARAPACE

Dutch designer Maarten Baas will present his latest collection ‘Carapace’ at Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s recently opened New York space. The solo show will take place from Wednesday 2 March to 30 April 2016.

Carapace is a scientific term for a protective, decorative or camouflaging shell found on the back of animals such as beetles and turtles. This idea of creating a ‘hard skin’ to protect the soft body is a key inspiration for this Maarten Baas’s newest series. 

Starting off in admiration of the 1950s refrigerator, this led him to the study of these curved, organic forms found in nature. The designer has created a series of furniture encompassed by a patchwork of bronze plating, dot-welded, piece-by-piece, to form the skin of the furniture, acting as a protective shield, similar to a turtle shell. 

The designer says, “I feel it’s important to have a hard layer under which something good and fruitful can bloom up. The works explore the feeling of vulnerability up against the desire for development in the environment.”

Carapace reflects the idea of the protective in harmony with the beautiful. It is represented by the hard metal exterior, consequently conveying the evolution of the very fine interior where treasure can hide.

The exhibition will also be the occasion to unveil the latest addition to the reknown ‘Real Time’ series: ‘Self Portrait Clock’, of which Maarten Baas says: “for the first time I’ve been the ‘actor’ myself, for a continuous 12 hours of filming.  I wanted to inject my own activities, my own personality and manner, different than the previous clocks. So, I’m eating, drinking, wearing a hat, taking it off… Like that I fill a full day of hard work captured inside the clock.” 

The two original clocks that make up this fascinating series, ‘Grandfather’ and ‘Grandmother’, were created in 2009 and every new iteration of the clock has had a different theme, character, and design. According to Maarten Baas, designers are in a way ‘entertainers’ who make a show for the world, therefore he considers a theatre would be representative for his ‘Self Portrait’.

The design of the housing of the clock is based on a traditional puppet theatre, in bronze and brass. It has a separate facade, with an apparent simple-looking cabin, made of shelves, in which the ‘actor’ is playing his role. The audience sees only the bit that the actor wants them to see, and the show is actually the passage of time in this case. Every minute is a new chapter in the story that’s being told.