Dezeen Magazine

Vitra Virus by Pieke Bergmans

Milan update: in her show in Via Tortona, Pieke Bergmans presented a range of Vitra classics transmuted by her "virus" technique of blowing molten glass vases directly onto pieces of furniture.


Bergmans was one of the most ubiquitous names in Milan this year, with four shows. See also her Mirror Virus project at Dilmos Gallery, plus her biography, in our previous story here.


A project description from Bergmans follows:


The Crystal Virus has entered yet another chapter. Where last year it infected old and plain wooden furniture, this time the Vitra collection hosts the disrupting virus at the Salone del Mobile. The contrast couldn’t be greater. Famous pieces by Charles & Ray Eames, Maarten van Severen, Sori Yanagi, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Jean Prouvé and Jasper Morrison prove to be most interesting subjects.


Through form, colour, value and reputation, they claim a prominent role in the matter. The brutal invasion of the crystal onto these design icons creates a dramatic tension. It may well be this provocative drama that has caused the Crystal Virus to appear in bright red.


Pieke Bergmans creates her viruses in the Royal Leerdam Crystal, in close collaboration with their crystal blowing masters. Such a meeting between crystal and furniture is called ‘an Infection’ and is a spectacular sight.


The bubbles of hot and fluent crystal are pressed against the furniture. In bursts of fire and smoke they melt together. The black burned stain in the furniture is copied in the crystal like a fingerprint, and the objects belong together from then on.


The piece of furniture has become a pedestal for the crystal object. That, at least is one way of looking at it. Another, more appropriate to the title, is that the crystal object sits on the furniture like a parasite, a virus.


The products of Pieke Bergmans are called viruses due to their natural forms and the way they come to life. But eventually, the biggest virus of them all is the designer in person. Manipulating standard production processes is by all means viral behaviour. In general mass production, a single form is endlessly and perfectly multiplied like a healthy cell.

As she allows room for change and serendipity, Pieke aims to create processes in which products are never completely the same. Like a virus, her products change and adapt to various conditions, disrupting common ideas and the predictable evolution of form and design.

See all dezeen's coverage of Milan 2007 here