Future Primitives
by Muller Van Severen


Interieur 2012: soft leather seats hang between the colourful plastic shelves of this furniture by Belgian design duo Muller Van Severen presented at the Interieur design biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium, last week (+ slideshow).

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

The collection includes shelving units in various heights and configurations, some with seats draped like deckchairs inserted into their frames, as well as standing and hanging lamps and separate chairs and loungers.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

Responding to the theme of Future Primitives set by Interieur, the designers began with what they saw as primitive forms and basic material, and updated them for the future by combining different functions. The resulting objects are intended to be "timeless", they said.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

The designers selected materials they felt were strong and simple, such as tubular steel and leather.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

"We chose the materials because we think they are very pure," designer Fien Muller told Dezeen. "The leather is very natural [and] also the steel tubes are not painted because we like the light in it. When you paint it that's gone."

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

The shelves are made from polyethylene plates used in the catering industry for food hygiene purposes. "All the colours are made for one food, for example yellow is for poultry, blue is for fish, green is for vegetables," said Muller.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

"We used all the colours you can have of that material, but it's again the combination of the colours that makes it special," she added.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

The slim black frames splashed with colour recall furniture from the de Stijl movement, such as Gerrit Rietveld's 1923 Red Blue Chair.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

Muller Van Severen is a furniture project launched by photographer Fien Muller and artist Hannes Van Severen in 2011.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

Other installations in the Future Primitives series we've featured include Greg Lynn's prototype of a rotating cocoon for compact living and an aerodynamic concept vehicle by Ross Lovegrove.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

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Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

Photographs are by Frederik Vercruysse.

Here's some more information from the designers:

We are Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen and we are both active as visual artists. We see our collaboration as outside the field of visual arts and describe it as a 'furniture project'. That collaboration started only two years ago; we called it Muller Van Severen.

Future Primitives by Muller van Severen

For Interieur 2012 we were selected for the Future Primitives series.  For us, Future Primitives means starting from basic materials and their basic measurements (like plates and profiles that already exist). In that sense it is something very primitive – the primitive side is about FORM. The future side of this story is more about FUNCTION, mostly the combination of functions. It is future-oriented thinking in a primitive form! For us, Future Primitives is something timeless because it is something that could just as well have existed in the past as it can function in the future.

  • kolobok

    Not a single photo of this furniture being used. Installation is okay, but if you call it furniture, please prove it is usable :)

  • Blake

    Style over function. They look great, I just can’t imagine enjoying having a bookshelf bolted onto my deckchair.

  • Miguel

    These are not that revolutionary. Take a look at post-war American furniture collections with black iron frame structure designed by the likes of Frederick Weinberg.

  • Stephen

    There are other reasons for an artist or a designer to make work besides newness or an attempt at being revolutionary.

  • Anders

    Invention has always been important, but modern art and design should be just as, or even more, concerned with the WHY as with the HOW. Dismissing something as inferior because it technically resembles something made before is just silly.

  • Chris

    Wow! Industrial design educations have really sucked the life out of you guys. I think these are fantastic formal explorations, deserving of consideration beyond the lens of ergonomics and how it might look on your deck next to your Knoll patio furniture.

  • Concerned Citizen

    So. you are sitting in a sling chair and you sneeze. Everything on the shelves come tumbling at you. Or, for the shelves with no seats, you walk across the room and all its contents topple over. Not very well thought out.

    Nobody wants a chair or shelf just for looks. If that were so, a painting or a photograph of a chair would do. Once it becomes usable, then the rules of application do apply.