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Rive Roshan blends design with sculpture to create "ordinary miracles" in Museum JAN exhibition

"Design has become a new art movement" according to Ruben de la Rive Box and Golnar Roshan, who are using industrial design processes to explore the qualities of light, colour and reflection.

The Amsterdam-based design duo, collectively known as Rive Roshan, are presenting a series of sculptural objects and installations in the exhibition Shifting Perspectives, which opens this week at Museum Jan in Amstelveen.

Golnar Roshan and Ruben de la Rive Box. Photo is by Dunja Opalko

These works are designed to highlight natural phenomena, such as the reflection of light on water, or the way a shadow falls on a surface.

De la Rive Box and Roshan refer to these everyday occurrences as "ordinary miracles".

From glass panels that create shifting patterns of colour, to objects made from 3D-printed sand, the pieces on show in Shifting Perspectives are designed primarily to elicit an emotional response, rather than to serve a particular function.

Shifting Perspectives is an exhibition exploring light, colour and reflection

"For us, the design world has started to open up to being less about functionality and more about the internal aspect of design," Roshan told Dezeen.

"We don't care as much about functionality as we care about the meaning of something and what it contributes," added De la Rive Box.

At a time when – as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – people are already looking at the world through different eyes, the designers hope to promote a greater appreciation of the transience of nature.

The silk Colour Fall banners recall the light refractions of waterfalls

Their underlying message is to encourage people to open to new ideas and perspectives in all aspects of life.

"We have always been really interested in the way that something can change every time you look at it," said Roshan.

"Now that society is going through a period where we all have to shift our perspectives, we want to show the positive influence of being able to look at things differently," she explained.

Sand in Motion and Radial Transitions are exhibited in the first room

The exhibition is spread over three rooms. The first room contains Sand in Motion, a project that used 3D printing as a way of capturing the way that sand moves, and Radial Transitions, a series of paintings that celebrate colour transitions.

As with many of the pieces in the exhibition, both of these works offer subtle references to the glassware collection that Museum JAN is best known for.

In room two, water becomes a mirror in a trio of blackened steel blocks

This theme continues in room two, where reflections play an important role. Exhibits include a row of polished steel cubes that subtly change in colour, a pair of silk banners inspired by light refractions, and a trio of blackened steel blocks that are filled to the brim with water.

"We love to work with water because you can think it's a mirror," said Roshan. "Then you notice a small vibration and it surprises you. It's the ultimate way of shifting people's perspective."

"The amount of reflectiveness really changes depending on your viewing angle," added De la Rive Box. "When you look at a very sharp angle, it's 100 per cent reflective, but it loses that quality when you look down onto it."

Time to Reflect is a reflective lighting piece that responds to the pandemic

The third and final room contains an immersive installation, reflecting on how these ordinary miracles can impact the home.

The designers live and work beside the IJ River in Amsterdam, which has inspired them to try and recreate the way that moving water reflects colour and light in various projects. The results include Time to Reflect, a reflective lighting piece commissioned by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, and the Fluid carpet designed for Moooi.

"We came up with this idea of manufactured nature, of bringing the effects of nature into the home," said De la Rive Box.

Radial Transitions are a series of paintings that celebrate colour transitions

In the future, the pair hope to create similar installations on a larger scale – they are particularly inspired by the multi-sensory experiences offered by spaces such as Tate Modern's Turbine Hall or the interior of a grand church.

They also don't rule out working on more traditional design products. Both have first-hand experience of the commercial design world – studios they have worked for in the past include Tom Dixon, Tord Boontje and Marcel Wanders. The pair also co-founded the design platform Form&Seek.

The designers hope the exhibition will encourage people to broaden their views

"I think this conversation about art and design is really important," added Roshan. "Art allows you to feel a certain way or to be inspired, while design comes from this place of serving a purpose."

"I think the coming together of the two realms can allow us as people to make better decisions in life."

Photography is by Design & Practice, apart from where otherwise indicated.

Shifting Perspectives will be on show at Museum JAN from 2 April to 29 August. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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