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A Century of Pastoe, Kunsthal Rotterdam

Anne van der Zwaag, curator of the exhibition 100 years Pastoe at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, 23 Feb – 2 June 2013, is highlighting the Dutch company’s history and current developments in an essay published...
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Anne van der Zwaag, curator of the exhibition 100 years Pastoe at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, 23 Feb – 2 June 2013, is highlighting the Dutch company’s history and current developments in an essay published in tlmag‘s Winter issue. “As a curator I have been brought in to develop the programme that also includes the publication of a commemorative book, and several workshops. Architects, artists and designers who share Pastoe’s philosophy and aesthetics will all be providing a contribution to the programme from their own discipline. We will showcase iconic designs from Pastoe’s history, as well as contemporary products and new ideas that are pertinent to today’s lifestyles.”

A craft-making oriented company, Pastoe has always enhanced a visible link to Asia 

Looking back in history the fascination for Asian aesthetics has always been demonstrated in Pastoe furniture and it was only a matter of time before the first Japanese designer was invited to work with them. Shiro Kuramata, one of Japan’s most important designers of the 20th century started to design for the Utrecht furniture manufacturer in the 80s. He produced several designs for Pastoe, amongst them the Umbrella stand in 1986 which is still a highly sought after iconic piece. Kuramata was followed by another leading designer from Japan, Shigero Uchida, who started working with Pastoe in 1988. This collaboration resulted in the Horizontals series, amongst others. Vision cabinet, created by French designer Pierre Mazairac and Dutch designer Carel Boonzaaijer, displays a similar design philosophy.

Asian culture infuses Pastoe

Over the years, various famous designers have made their talents available to Pastoe and the relationship between Eastern and Western culture has always been evident, both in mentality and through design practice. The extremely minimal and delicate Shift cupboards presented by Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings in 2012, are an example of their own fascination for Japanese colours and techniques. Nowadays Pastoe recognises that Japanese tradition has become part of its DNA and this is reflected in the company philosophy and in practical collaborations.

One major part of the Jubilee program is dedicated to new visions and future propositions for the company. This section shows how proposals were created for a new generation of furniture (or objects) in close collaboration between Pastoe and a number of creative minds. For example, new works are shown by German designer Konstantin Grcic who is investigating the value of craft in the future, and Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin who is maximally applying his philosophy of furniture as an object; Dutch photographers Schelten & Abbenes depict flexibility of application and Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa presents his minimalist vision of a cupboard which will be on show in February at Rotterdam Kunsthal, before being presented to the world at large at the Salone del Mobile in 2013 on the actual date when Pastoe was created in April. It will also be available in shops throughout Europe and the Far East.

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