Studio Arnout Meijer
TLmag’s eclectic selection spotlights a group of Dutch and international creatives who were drawn to the allure of Amsterdam after graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven
Ever since Arnout Meijer graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2012, he has explored the geometric, metaphorical, sensorial and temporal qualities of light. Whether developing limited-edition objects or spatial installations, the Rotterdam native continues to engage with the symbiotic conditions of this incorporeal yet raw material. Ongoing projects like the Thanks for the Sun, Sky and Planets series use new technological means to give shape to light, evoking the aesthetics of celestial movement. Just as Piet Mondrian’s paintings express what isn’t there, Meijer’s lighting designs strategically evoke tangible issues within the current zeitgeist. In fact, it is the light, that eternal component of Meijer’s designs, that can encase a physical presence and perhaps the designer’s intended meanings as well. The 196 m3 magenta/green installation, which was mounted in Brussels this past September, took this condition to a new level by projecting contrasting hues of coloured light through a specific architectural layout. In doing so, Meijer questioned the accuracy of visitors’ primal perception as they experienced the space. The designer’s Thanks for the Planets wall lamp series was displayed within the space. With the 8-bit Universe installation, Meijer took the issue of visual awareness even further to address the realities of digital representation. In this installation, Meijer expressed the ideas of “the medium is the message” and “the internet of things,” which were first codified by Marshall McLuhan. Mounted during the 2015 Glow Eindhoven festival, the sculpture, with its combined physical and virtual dimensions, showed how an image is made possible by fibre optic wires’ stimulation of pixels. Our computer screens confound a semi-translucent drape over the sculpture showed how many forms of order and chaos.
TLmag: Why did you decide to establish your practice in Amsterdam? What did you bring over from the time you spent studying and/or working in Eindhoven?
Arnout Meijer: Eindhoven was always going to be a temporary location for me. That is precisely what made studying at the academy possible. There were no distractions. I was born in Rotterdam and have always had a strong connection to that city. It was only natural for me to return there after school. With its affordable rent, large spaces and tradition of famous designers dating back to the 1990s, it was a fruitful place for me to start my practice. Then a new wave of designers started moving there. Going against the current, I moved to Amsterdam. My goal was to experience something new. However, I view the Netherlands as one big city. I like knowing that I have friends and colleagues everywhere. I don’t view myself as being tied to one place.