Inbetween Objects: The Animist World of Supertoys Supertoys

Creature Comfort Armchair with @jobmouwen and Cosmic Flower Table in Fluid Forces @dutchdesignweek.

What if your furniture were there because it wanted to be there? What if it wanted to be your sofa, your side table, or your piece of art? What if it is fulfilling its spiritual journey with you, irrespective of yours?

“I am an animist”, is what the founder of Supertoys Supertoys, Merle Flügge likes to believe about herself. She, along with her co-founder Job Mouwen, head a design studio established in 2018; based out of Harlem, North Holland province, Netherlands.

Job is a practicing architect and a design lecturer who worked for the UNStudio before starting his own practice. Flügge, while pursuing her master’s in Interior Architecture: Research + Design from Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam NL, discovered her oneiric design style. An interior design style that was greatly influenced by Felix Guattari’s notion of Schizophrenic desire where instead of being human through things or objects––it was rather imperative to reconsider being human among things. One needs to distinguish desire, from the lack of it, in order to create a new relationship with objects. She also received the Willem De Kooning research award (master category) in 2017, apart from the MIARD alumni award (2017). 

Photos from @supertoyssupertoys

With a neotenic approach to design, this design duo ardently believes in reassessing modernity by blurring the line between the object as a tool and the object as an artifact. They focus on creating animated, childlike candy-coloured, and dreamy furniture that seems to have a mind of its own and tends to evoke a sense of affection towards them. This can also be observed by their unique choice of materials, colours, and finishes.

For instance, their Creature comfort armchair which plays with the idea of (dis)comfort and friendliness; with a deliberate attempt to make it look like the armchair never ages, uses hard lacquered polished wood for the seat and a soft coloured round cushioned arm and backrest. Thus maintaining the contrast to radiate affability while negotiating between comfort and discomfort. Their one of a kind furniture pieces were showcased during the Fluid Forces exhibit at the Dutch Design Week; wherein their cosmic flower table went unnoticed by most with its magical ethereal appearance. 

Photos from @supertoyssupertoys

This duo has constantly tried to reinvent themselves and has set foot into creative adventures together to get to where they are today. Even if it is done by developing a telescopic prototype for a challenge “design to de-stress” called “We are Stardust”. Which has, based on the overview effect, generated a sense of awe and a new kind of self-awareness, and was published by Frame magazine in 2017. With a constant zeal for innovation, Merle also began an interactive experiment between a website and a book, wherein the book aims to be a website but is still in the process of doing so. This experiment allows its users to squeeze the book to see how the website reacts. (https://supertoyssupertoys.wdka.nl/)

The goal of Supertoys Supertoys is to ultimately generate a sense of imagination and creativity in people, instead of just satisfying functionality, which seems essential in these uncertain times.

Video from @supertoyssupertoys

Edited by Maxine Panlilio

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