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Publication in the Malaysian magazine SPACE#01/2012


excerpts from the text above

Thiemo Hildebrandt is a small design studio based in Eindhoven, Netherlands that focuses on designing furniture and interior concepts. What sets Thiemo, the designer apart from the rest would most likely be the peculiar ways he makes objects work. By sifting through the missing links, he designs problems and its solutions thus bringing a fresh perspective on one’s surroundings. It’s abundantly clear that Thiemo’s designs are out of the norm at first meet, but somehow it seems delightfully conventional. As such is the Ascending Retreat that screams originality, which works in more ways than one. Not even in our wildest imagination, would the idea of a concealed space beneath a staircase could transform into a partitioned room for hideaway. From relaxing, a little afternoon nap, playing, hiding away for a little me-time or just being awake, the range of actions are endless. The images show the design process and stairway construction, which shows possible usage, as well to what extent this intriguing design, can be approached.”

”In the beginning it was an alternative way upwards that I was seeking. A way to link two levels in a space with an enhanced awareness for your actions. First as a separate object loose from the other entire interior. More like simply grabbing a rope and move your way up hand over hand. I wanted to go through the ceiling and I wanted people to be active, basically climbing. But I over and over struggled of having to break through the existing architecture, which was not really convenient. So I decided to link it to an existing stairway. I started looking for the right kind of stairway that would suit my ideas of a second path to ascend. This idea began to develop rather as an object attachment that lacked its integration into the interior. It appeared more as an adventurous parasite rather than an appropriate solution that would also suit a broader user group. Keeping this in mind and combining step by step the idea of using the forming design as a retreat whilst moving upwards the yet closed, hidden space under the stairs started to develop to a more open and communicative space. The decision was made to leave it all open instead of creating too much secrecy. It became a suggestive platform. A very simple attachment but now integrated that offers diverse possibilities of interpretation for its
occupants. – Thiemo Hildebrandt


the short interview from above

Was there something in particular that inspired you     
to create such a design?     
Yes, of course. Amongst others there was one particular book in this case (which was) an old book with a huge collection of all the different types of stairs. From ancient times until now with plenty of images illustrating the categories. Each section showed examples of the era they were made in and the purpose they were supposed to serve.The most interesting part is that you’d also find poetic texts that have dismantled the stairway in its former meaning. Used in another context it opened up a whole new world of imagination (based) around that theme. It was a very interesting read and I hope I can find that book again.

In terms of bringing your idea to life, were there any challenging aspects?     
Well, material-wise it was a bit tricky because I initially wanted to build the whole construction from wood, to give it a very warm atmosphere. After discussing the project with several friendly carpenters, they advised me to have a lot of steel support, so I decided to change the entire plan to steel. Eventually only the platforms and the steps were made from wood. Luckily, I had some experience in welding so I managed to put it all together myself. The big advantage of steel is that I could give it a very fine look and make the levels almost floating and not touching the floor. It became almost graphic, looking at the outlines of the stairs. The steel itself obviously is not designed in particular yet but it served its purpose so far. The actual Design was brought to live in the movie. Thanks for all the great support from my friends, the models and especially the film makers.’’

What is design to you?     
Good question. Speaking of its (design) appliance for instance, not just in the product industry but also rather by taking the concepts that we find interesting, analyse them, break them down to their essence and apply them in another field of expertise. Why don’t we take the social advantages of a great architectural/interior concept and readjust it to structure scientific developments and vice versa. I think in economy they call this term an analogous market (but please correct me if I am wrong). Speaking of innovation I want to mention a project by Dirk Vander Kooij where he used and old robot arm from the Chinese car industry to 3d print a new chair from second hand plastic. Furthermore the consumer involvement that will be called in the near future of 3d printing. People will be able to print parts, maybe whole products due to their very own needs and that probably on their own. So, after all I see Design as a constantly shifting challenge involving multiple disciplines that ask for a lot of attention. If we play smart and stay observing well enough we will achieve satisfying results. But everything takes its time.’’ SP



Publication in the lsnglobal-TRENDS section




Graduation Show Design Academy Eindhoven




Nice shot found on a blog from the staircase during the Atelierdorp exhibition




Exhibiting the original staircase at Atelierdorp´s exhibition ”In Between” during the DDW, HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!


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