Industry Series by Studio Job

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Artists Studio Job will present a new collection of furniture decorated with marquetry at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London later this week.

Called Industry Series, the pieces are made of Indian rose wood inlaid with maple silhouettes of animals, insects and birds alongside weapons, industrial buildings and skeletons.

The work will be on show 20 March - 8 May 2010.

See all our stories about Studio Job in our special category.

The following information is from Studio Job:


Following the great success of the Telling Tales exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Carpenters Workshop Gallery proudly presents the Industry series by Studio Job.

Job Smeets and his partner Nynke Tynagel seem to delight in the physical potential and malleability of the various materials they incorporate into their designs. Beautifully crafted and finely finished, they create highly ornamented pieces, which often contain dark and satirical content through their brave confrontation with the current attitudes and condition of the modern world.

Each work in the Industry series uses traditional and contemporary iconography and has been stripped down to its elements. The silhouettes stand bold with the white bird’s eye maple inlaid within the Indian rosewood setting. Animals and insects mingle with industrial buildings, warfare weaponry and other such products of capital. Featuring hummingbirds, seahorses, dragonflies, skeletal figures, and butterflies alongside tanks, helicopters, pylons, smoke, grenades, fighter planes and gasmasks, the viewer is forced to recognise the dichotomy between the natural or organic, and the manmade or destructive. Presented as if fossilised, there is an overwhelming sense that both will have their downfall and eventually become imbedded within history.

Perhaps the irony comes not simply from their opposition but also from the fact that the natural and the artificial are very much cohabitants in the twenty first century. The Industry series offers a poignant commentary on such an environment, each piece being highly evocative in its own right. The finish of each Industry piece references the seventeenth-century marquetry methods of André- Charles Boulle (1642-1732), and whilst Studio Job cut the veneers using contemporary laser technology, the positioning of each piece of the veneer is undoubtedly still an intensely handcrafted process. The strict symmetry in each piece, and most notably the Dressoir, maintains the integrity of the aesthetic, and given the simple, clean lines of the furniture, produces a powerfully balanced work, whilst also encouraging a contemplation of the notion of repetition; the phenomenon of cloning in the natural world and of mass production in the industrial sector. Each design piece in the series has been employed by Studio Job as a ‘canvas’ on which to construct a modern memento mori; a plethora of visual metaphors that act as signifiers either of bucolic nature or of mass-destruction as associated with industrialism.

To compliment the five Industry pieces, Carpenters Workshop Gallery has specially commissioned Studio Job to create two new spectacular light-works entitled Wrecking Ball Lamp and Crane Lamp, with which they have further developed the dialogue that began with the original works.

Living and working together, Studio Job suggests:

“Maybe sometimes we are designers and maybe sometimes we are architects. Sometimes man and wife, sometimes just artists.”

An imposing piece, with a commanding silhouette, the Industry Cabinet features its apocalyptic imagery in a strictly symmetrical layout on the expansive front, with the formation in the centre of two gas masks supposedly breathing in the smoke bellowing from a power station. The effect is perhaps reminiscent of a Rorschach inkblot pattern. When opened, the substantial doors reveal a sparse interior, divided into eight identically sized compartments. Inside, the Indian rosewood is interrupted only by the solid brass hinges which sit flush to the surface, and the silhouettes of bones across the horizontal slats, suggesting the ultimate degeneration of mankind.

This striking screen presents a contemporary design approach to a conventional furniture object and provides an ideal backdrop for the elaborate imagery of death and destruction that defines the Industry Series. As with the screen in Studio Job’s Perished Series, skeletons populate the Industry screen to create a fossilised effect, though they are now joined by hazardous and deadly chemicals and instruments, presented as if they were ‘urban fossils’.

  • harry

    This decoration theme is starting to get boring

  • http://www.georgehollander.com George

    Should be in a frame rather than cabinetry. Getting dizzy just looking at it!

  • slater

    Wow, beautiful craftsmanship and interesting graphics. I don’t think I’d want this in my home personally but I think it has a spot in a museum somewhere (or a braver person’s home), congrats!

  • http://www.joblackman.com Jo

    Really beautiful and different, I love seeing these old fashioned techniques brought up to date like that. Quirky.

  • Piper Maxwell

    I love the concept and the craftsmanship , but the work itself feels like its trying a bit to hard to express the dialogue it intends to.

  • j

    Looks like they had a lot of fun with a laser-cutter

  • http://vimeo.com/9679622?hd=1 Pagettypow

    This work is beautiful, well finished with pleasingly classic proportions, does the iconography need to conform with contemporary popularity or images that have been affected by fashion to such an overwhelming degree?, In my somewhat over critical initial reaction I feel that this “format” and the selected materials call for decoration of a more authentic, less approval seeking ouvre even so I do admire the technique and the original approach to this amazing artistry.

  • Al-Ishaq

    too busy.

  • curry

    Making nice furniture for €50.000 is not difficult, making beautiful furniture for €500,- is a challenge.

  • Kristopher Adams

    Very much agree with curry. These guys have carved out a not so uncommon niche for creating museum artifacts that bear no real relationship to how most people live.

    I do love object that have stories embedded into them, a dialogue or a language but this isn’t really my thing.

    I did like their earlier work with marquetry though I think, but with the amount of money being thrown at them maybe they’re just giving people (or museums) what they want?

  • MKM

    Made of sustainable materials including FSC sourced wood? If so, an interesting dialogue starter. If no, seems like design hype using the iconography of fear “hazardous and deadly chemicals and instruments.” Cute-cynical craftsmanship.

  • eye+

    out of date, repetitive, ugly and please stop censuring comments..

  • http://blog.faverodesign.com/ sean

    Furniture is meant to be art. Beautiful, though I think the message is rather ridiculous.

    @MKM, nothing is more sustainable than wood. If you look it’s done with veneers which means it has a ply or particle sub-straight. For those they generally use softer faster growing woods and you can get 100′s of veneers from one log making it go a long way, though I wish these were designed using solid myself. Lastly FSC sourced wood doesn’t really matter, especially in areas where the wood is harvest properly. You’re just paying a higher price to support a bureaucracy that is suppose to make you feel good.

  • http://www.asdfghjkl.com asdfghjkl

    I used to like these pieces they made.
    But I think I was confusing hand made techniques with computer work.

    I think there’s a lot of that confusion with products today. We think somethings is impressive because it relates to hand craft, when actually it’s quite simple. Rapid prototyping, laser cutting, CNC work. It’s all really really easy. Don’t let any computer user tell you any different. It’s really easy.

    I don’t think this technique they are using shuold be called ‘marquetry’. Marquetry is something that was incredibly time consuming and done by hand, and took years of training to understand. This is relatively quick, cheap and simplet to do.

    Also the images are very banal and impersonal. I don’t know these people, but I can see immediately that they use Adobe Illustrator – a piece of commercial software that has stamped itself on the work. It’s a bit sad to perceive this in a work that’s supposed to be interesting and personal.

    These bits of furniture look beautiful but are not.

  • http://www.blacksheepadvertising.com.au Jack

    I really like the use of bold graphics applied in wood. However the over the top explanation and the searching, deep, philosophical rhetoric that artists come up with these days is making me feel sick.
    You made something great, inspiring, whatever, just leave it at that. If you have to explain what it’s about, it means you’ve failed.

  • ksdesignworks

    I agree with some of the comments here. The images are a little too standard vector and popular, however, I really like the idea behind it. And the wood is beautiful. Less may or may not be more in this case.

  • http://blog.faverodesign.com/ sean

    @ Jack, well said.

    @asdfghjkl, being a designer and woodworker I agree fully to an extent. I think the work is still beautiful even though they have used mediums or methods that I myself would not have, I like solid woods but I do use heavily the adobe products in my design process. I think of it this way, some artist use pencil, some oil paints and then others pastels. All have different results and require different expertise. Though one my not appreciate or like a piece I don’t feel that the medium used cheapens it, though I agree that they should call it what it is.

  • http://www.asdfghjkl.com asdfghjkl

    @sean

    I’ve got nothing against computers or computer work – it’s just that most people let the computer programmes dictate what the work looks like – as in this case.

    The images used above look like so much other work done using Illustrator. So they are boring – and ultimately ugly.
    Very turn of the century I feel. (this century)

  • Jules

    These pieces do not belong in a museum environment. Their language and stories are relevant only to the commercial gallery and where they are best suited. Despite the incredible skill and craft undoubtedly involved, the comment is no longer relevant. Surface decoration is exactly that – Memphis set out with this premise and did not offer or expect any academic comment such as given above.
    In this instance, ornament really is crime.

  • tommy

    Where’s the craft in using a lazer cutter to make the veneer inlay? isn’t it taking the piss out of traditional carpentry by taking away the hands on nature of the craft?

    are studio job a design equivalent of damien hirst? wealthy backers financing impractical designs to artificially inflate the design economy?

    Isn’t design supposed to be for the masses? for function? for utility?

  • http://blog.faverodesign.com/ sean

    @tommy, no design isn’t suppose to be for the masses, function or utility. depending on what designer and era you are talking about the intent and purpose of design has changed. For instance there was a french designer who said that if only the rich could afford his design, then only the rich deserved it. Mainly the Bahaus movement and more recently has this notion that design is for the masses been pushed. I think that design for the masses=ikea and such companies. A crapy product designed by a mediocre designer that ends up being thrown away because it is so poorly done and because there is no individualism in the design. It falls flat with a terribly short life.

  • http://www.asdfghjkl.com asdfghjkl

    @tommy – I’m surprised that you saw anything so dramatic to comment about like that in these pieces.

    They are very functional cabinets – made just like that so that they will sell well.

    They are computer made units, made in the style of tradtional hand crafts so as to keep the price down. I’m sure they are still very expensive, and took a long time to do, but are in actual fact just overrpiced imitations of skills that people used in the past, that took a lot lot lot longer to make with a lot more skill. Kind of like cheap Chinese rip off products.

  • Bob

    I love this stuff, it’s like the past meets the present. Studio Job may use the same techniques as Damian Hirst or Jeff Koons but they are way more talented.

  • http://www.studentbees.com.au studentbee

    It’s very strange, this is the first time i see, I think they’re very talented

  • http://www.ajani.ca Ajani

    Studio Job = Amazing