Aldo Bakker (1971) has an uncompromising take on design. The functions of most of his furniture designs are clear right away, while it’s often hard to clearly define a purpose of his more sculptural pieces. His work in de- and reconstructing classic functional design creates an intriguing and unique oddness.
The Urushi Table depicts the simplest concept of a table: two legs and a surface. The legs are an elongation of the line created by the tabletop. The tabletop and the base of the legs have the same width, making them equally important to the design.
Bakker adds ‘everlastingness’ to the product by applying ‘Urushi’. A traditional Japanese lacquer made of tree sap. The varnish is naturally extracted from the Urushi tree. Urushi is applied for 30 or more layers of varnish are applied and each layer must be allowed to dry in a warm, dust-free, humid environment for a day or two. Lacquer applied too thickly or unevenly, or allowed to dry too quickly or slowly can ruin a piece. Each layer is polished by hand, a process that creates tiny, almost imperceptible variations in shade and colour and gives the surface its sense of depth and life.
The natural one-component varnish becomes harder and harder over time. Keeping the core of the product intact for decades. Today there are 9000-year-old objects - still well preserved with Urushi.
The technique demands slowness, awareness, time and attention. The Urushi series is Bakker’s peaceful protest against overspending. Conservation versus consumerism.