Het Het Het HetNieuwe Nieuwe Nieuwe NieuweInstituut Instituut Instituut Instituut presentsArchive Archive Archive presents presents presents Archive Rath & Doodeheefver Rath Rath& &Doodeheefver Doodeheefver Rath & Doodeheefver by byLernert Lernert& & &Sander Sander Sander by Lernert by Lernert & Sander 8–13 April 2014 8–13 8–13April April2014 2014 8–13 April 2014 Salone del del Mobile, Mobile, Salone Salone Salonedel delMobile, Mobile, Milan Milan Milan Milan Het Nieuwe Instituut
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Generously supported by AkzoNobel
Het Nieuwe Instituut
This publication is produced by Het Nieuwe Instituut as an introduction to the installation Archive Rath & Doodeheefver by Lernert & Sander in Milan.
Concept Lernert & Sander (Lernert Engelberts, Sander Plug)
The contemporary era is characterised by radical technological, economic, cultural and social shifts. Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to illuminate and map a rapidly changing world while at the same time fostering discussion of topics related to the vast field of design. All the institute’s activities are grounded in the principles of design and innovation – two concepts bound up with changing value systems and conflict.
Graphic Design Maureen Mooren in collaboration with Christine Alberts Printer Rob Stolk Edition 3500 Translation Billy Nolan Het Nieuwe Instituut wishes to thank: Samantha Castano, Linde Dorenbosch, Richard Harmanni (Stichting Historische Behangsels), Gusta Reichwein (Amsterdam Museum), Laura Schön, Sikkens Experience Center, Dieuwertje Wijsmuller (Stichting Onterfd Goed). Wallpapers Page 2, 4 and 6: Rath & Doodeheefver collection (1928). Property of Sikkens Experience Center. Page 8: Rath & Doodeheefver collection (1941). Property of Sikkens Experience Center.
Production Wrong (Maarten le Roy, Bram Sterckx) www.wrong.tv Installation team Discipline Interieurbouw (Egbert Steenwinkel, Hadewieg Steenwinkel, Titus Steenwinkel, Hendrickje Willemse) Archive Rath & Doodeheefver by Lernert & Sander is generously supported by AkzoNobel.
Het Nieuwe Instituut organises exhibitions, lectures and fellowships, carries out research and development projects, and publishes reports on the outcomes of its projects. These are carried out within three multiyear programmes: Landscape and Interior, Things and Materials, and a third whose theme changes annually (2014: World War I; 2015: World’s Fairs). Het Nieuwe Instituut arose on 1 January 2013 out of a merger of the Netherlands Architecture Institute; Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion; and Virtueel Platform, the e-culture knowledge institute. www.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en
The Archive With the establishment of Het Nieuwe Instituut, the issue of publicly held records that document the memory of architecture, design and e-culture has acquired fresh urgency in the Netherlands. True, it is the task of this national institute for architecture, design and e-culture to permanently administer one of the biggest architecture archives in the world, but what is the situation in other design domains? Will they profile themselves exclusively with the help of the newest and latest under headings like Creative Industry and Innovation? And is that negative, or is the lack of an archive as a collective memory bank the very hallmark of both design domains and their vitality? And more generally, what is the situation regarding the archives of designers, studios and producers within the domains of design and e-culture? Can Het Nieuwe Instituut, with reference to its task and in combination with the radical digitalisation of the design process, leave the care for design archives in the hands of the design field itself? What is striking is that although the serial products of design and e-culture manage to find their way into public museums, the unique archives that document the process of searching, failing and starting again find few or no sanctuaries. And that is the case not only in the Netherlands and western Europe but everywhere internationally. This observation acquires even more weight in light of some recent developments. The emergence of the star designer means that his products, and hence also his archive, have also achieved star status. The result is a strange paradox. For while the cultural infrastructure of museums, archives and libraries in western Europe is under pressure as a result of cost-cutting measures and closures, star architects like Herzog & De Meuron are aiming to create true temples to house their own archive, and the archives of fashion labels like Dior are the subject of a constant process of revalidation and reinvention. The archive provides proof of timeless quality and is thus an endless source of inspiration. While for private parties the archive represents the moment of distinction between authenticity and superficiality, between continuity and transience, public archives scarcely succeed in legitimising their right to exist, at least not within the political arena, and they are often too easily dismissed as dusty relics of a bygone age. What will this mean? Is it the umpteenth division into haves and have-nots? Can memory, or the
luxury of memory, only be afforded by stars and globally operating brands? And is it therefore inescapably linked with market success? Will collective and public memory disappear in the process and be replaced by the monopolising memory of the brand? Or can we simply abandon the public archive, as physical as it is labyrinthine, by confidently referring to the digital domain where, unintentionally and unwillingly, one can always find traces of our collective ambitions? But what does this mean for our memory? Or rather, what does this mean for the culture of remembering? And how can this dynamic and unstable archive on the internet be made productive? And who or what is then the archivist of the future? And just imagine, imagine that history is no longer viewed as a linear but a cyclical process, and innovation is seen as a process that repeats with slightly different ingredients each time. What significance will the archive then have? Will the importance of the public archive, which reflects this cyclical process of transformation, acquire public support again, also in the private realm? Such questions prompted Het Nieuwe Instituut, in the first year of its existence, to present at the Salone del Mobile the threatened company archive of Rath & Doodeheefver, possibly the most famous wallpaper brand in the Netherlands and a patron of architects such as Berlage. Wallpaper declined in popularity in recent decades as our interiors, in accordance with a modernist idiom, came to feature just bare, preferably white, walls. The company was forced to close its doors, and a few remnants of the archive are now owned by AkzoNobel, to which it was legally entrusted. For some years now wallpaper has been gaining in popularity again, and today it forms part of the collections of many a designer. What does this mean for the orphaned archive of Rath & Doodeheefver? Will the public significance of this archive finally be recognised, not only as a reflection of changing tastes and the psychology of the interior, but also as a source of new interpretations, as a link in the process of innovation? Following on from these questions concerning design archives, the artist duo Lernert & Sander has been invited to literally use the archive of Rath & Doodeheefver, to explore its latent potential, and to make it their own.
Archive Rath & Doodeheefver by Lernert & Sander
Rath & Doodeheefver Chronology
Het Nieuwe Instituut commissioned the artist duo Lernert & Sander to design a spatial installation based on this historical collection of wallpaper manufacturer Rath & Doodeheefver. The installation developed by Lernert & Sander after extensive research in the company archives, is one that poses some of the questions raised by Het Nieuwe Instituut. The project in Milan forms part of the Landscape and Interior multiyear programme in which Het Nieuwe Instituut, in reference to its extensive archive, addresses topical spatial themes.
1860 – Establishment of wallpaper importer Rath & Doodeheefver, which grows to become the biggest wallpaper importer in the Netherlands.
Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug are two Dutch artists based in Amsterdam. They create highconcept films and installations that take the idea of art direction as its driving-force and are charged with a dry, cheeky sense of humour.
1923 – Rath & Doodeheefver fulfils a pioneering role as a design patron, commissioning work from Dutch Art Nouveau designers such as Lion Cachet, Gidding and Berlage.
1921 – After the collapse of the wallpaper industry in the Netherlands at the end of the nineteenth century, Rath & Doodeheefver opens its first wallpaper factory and starts to compete with foreign wallpaper factories. It commissions wallpaper designs, both traditional and contemporary, and produces 10 million rolls of wallpaper annually, 90% of which are exported.
1927 – Collaboration with Van Vlissingen (Vlisco), a cotton printer, yields highlights in patronage as designers create interior collections of wallpaper and fabrics. 1931 – Designs and colour schemes become more sober as a result of rise of De Stijl, Bauhaus and Het Nieuwe Bouwen. 1950s – Rath &Doodeheefver develops a new wallpaper line in collaboration with Stichting Goed Wonen, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the development of good taste and the appreciation of well-designed products aimed at the broad public.
1970s – Decline in wallpaper sales due to changing tastes and the introduction of electrical central heating. 1981 – Merger with Dutch wallpaper producer Goudsmit-Hoff. 1983 – Rath & Doodeheefver goes bankrupt. Production at its factory in Rijen continues on a small scale until 1998. 1990 – AkzoNobel acquires the archive and collection of Rath & Doodeheefver, the only heritage left from the rich Dutch wallpaper industry. AkzoNobel, owner of Sikkens paint factory, houses the collection at the Sikkens Painters’ Museum in Sassenheim, a museum devoted to the history of the craft of painting since 1750. The wallpaper archive illustrates the development of the craft of the painter, who first painted on walls and later on paper that was affixed to the wall. After that, printed wallpaper was introduced. 2009 – AkzoNobel approaches the Centraal Register Design Archives, currently called NOA, with the request to map the archive and the collection Rath & Doodeheefver and explore reallocation. 2012 – Sikkens Painters’ Museum becomes the Sikkens Experience Center, which highlights colour and the application of colour (paint) in interiors. Wallpaper no longer forms part of the narrative told here. Accordingly, AkzoNobel decides to dispense with the Rath & Doodeheefver archive.
2013 – Stichting Onterfd Goed, specialised in the reallocation of museum collections, takes the lead in the process of dividing up the Rath & Doodeheefver archive. Together with external experts, including staff from Het Nieuwe Instituut, it determines which objects are of value to Dutch national heritage. The foundation finds other museums and institutions that could take over responsibility for these objects. The remaining items find a temporary home at the foundation’s headquarters in Den Bosch. They are offered for adoption to private collectors and individuals, and made available for re-use by artists, students and researchers. 2014 – Stichting Onterfd Goed is now in the process of reallocating the Rath & Doodeheefver archive, looking into the option of bringing part of the archive to the collection of Amsterdam Museum, which already possesses a considerable collection of Rath & Doodeheefver wallpapers. Stichting Onterfd Goed as well as the Amsterdam Museum facilitate Lernert & Sander in their research and makes materials available for this installation, as commissioned by Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Published on Apr 4, 2014
Het Nieuwe Instituut has commissioned the artist duo Lernert & Sander to design a spatial installation and live performance based on the his...