1971 born in Amersfoort, Niederlande
Lives and works in Amsterdam
Biography Aldo Bakker – by Hans den Hartog Jager
Aldo Bakker (1971) is a designer that battles the spirit of the time. Nearly all his designs, whether it be Glass-line (1998), Saltcellar (2007), Side Table (2008), or Jug + Cup (2011), are remarkable for their defiant refusal to be classified by time, fashion or zeitgeist. Let alone be classified by the surrounding world – those who see Bakker’s designs for the first time, often wonder what their purpose is. This defiance is important to Bakker: brought up as the son of designers Gijs Bakker and Emmy van Leersum, he decided against following the traditional way of education and instead has sought out his own strengths. Bakker is an autodidact that likes to follow his own path.
Different from most other designers, Bakker rarely starts a design from the desire to solve a practical problem. In fact, though Bakker may unmistakably be a designer, his interest in functionality only comes in at the latest stage. His objects nearly always originate from the fascination for a form – be it the guardrail of a motorway, the curve of a stairwell, or the facade of a Seventeenth Century Amsterdam canal house. Bakker looks, sketches, and draws and in this way he researches whether a form can be transformed into an object – or rather, an image. At this stage, the logic and beauty of the form are more important to Bakker than an actual function. His fascinations in this process are akin to the ideas of artists such as Cézanne and Brancusi, who tried to distill a mountain, a plate of apples or a head down to their (geometrical) essence. Bakker does the same. However, in his research he is also seeking whether a new combination of such forms could lead to new objects, and new ways of use. Why does a pitcher always have an opening at the top or side? Why are salt and sugar always in opaque containers that obscure the amount you are going to sprinkle? This transforms a salt shaker into a spoon, containing the salt in the broadened grip. And a pitcher becomes a diagonally cut vessel, with the grip on the inside.
As a result of the de- and reconstruction, many people do not recognize the function of Bakker’s designs at first – sometimes Bakker seems to produce designs that have yet to find a use. This makes them intriguing, for they seem very logical and ordinary at the same time, as if, in spite of their oddity, they feel at home in the world. In this respect, Bakker seeks other goals: he wants to entice the user to handle the objects in his or her environment in an entirely different way. In Bakker’s work, pouring, drinking, sprinkling, sitting, are no longer acts one mindlessly carries out. Through their form and material, his designs seem to tempt you to approach their function in a different way, to perform all these everyday casual acts with renewed attention and concentration. It is telling that Bakker’s designs often remind us of (parts of) autonomous beings that seem to have a logical place in the world. In this way, the stool Anura unmistakably has a (very flat) head, a back, legs. His Tonus and Candle Dome look like wigs or hairstyles, and his famous Vinegar Flask irrefutably evokes a penguin-like creature with an eagerly snapping beak. Yet Bakker is not out for identification or endearment. You could rather say this likening to creatures confirms his body of work can be seen as an entirely independent, new world in which people handle things differently, see time differently and relate themselves to their environment in a new way. Bakker is a designer that does not want to help his audience but rather challenges them – making the comparison to
2015 Design Days Dubai, with gallery Sofie Lachaert
2015 Art Rotterdam, with Gallery Vivid
2014 Solo at Gallery Vivid, Rotterdam
2014 Le Labo des Héritiers, Grand Hornu, Belgium
2014 Solo at Atelier Courbet, New York, USA
2014 Design Miami/Basel, with gallery Vivid
2014 Presentation at Rossana Orlandi, Milan, with Georg Jensen
2014 PAD Paris and PAD London with Sčvres
2014 WOOD, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
2013 Presentation Villa Noialles, Hyčres, France, with Sčvres
2013 Spaces in Between, Gallery Libby Sellers, London
2013 The Walled Garden, Galerie Borzo, Amsterdam
2013 Vom Stand der Dinge, Bremen, Germany
2013 Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2013 Art Rotterdam
2012 A Space Oddity, Grand Hornu, Belgium
2012 Design Miami/Basel
2012 Salon/Istanbul, Huis van Loon
2012 Solo at Sfera, Kyoto, Japan
2011 Solo at Perimeter Art&Design Paris
2011 Design Miami/Basel
2011 Salon/1, Huis van Loon, Amsterdam
2011 Wood Project, Jug+Cup at Salone di Mobile, MIlano
2011 EverydayDutch, Selfridges, London
2011 Going Dutch, Flow Gallery, London
2010-2011 Small Scale Sculpture, Galeria Murska Sobota, Slovenia
2010 Emmy + Gijs + Aldo at Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen
2010 Villa Noailles, Hyeres, France (solo exhibition)
2010 Urushi Series, Art Basel Miami
2010 ‘Een mooi ding’ HM, Hilversum (group exhibition)
2010 Re and Act, Arti et Amicitia, Amsterdam (group exhibition)
2010 Urushi Series at Huis van Loon, Amsterdam
2010 Urushi Series and Copper Collection at Salone di Mobile, Milano, with t.e.
2010 Porcelain tableware, Silverware, Copper Collection at ICFF New York
2009 Still Life, Urushi furniture and tableware at Gallery Sophie Lachaert, Belgium
2009 Porcelain and Silver Tableware at Salone di Mobile, Milano, with t.e.
2009 Doing interior of Tefaf Maastricht for Frans Leidelmeier
2009 Tajan Auction, Paris
2009 Maison et Object, Paris, with t.e.
2009 Object Rotterdam with t.e.
2009 Z33 Art Centre, 2nd Triennial in Hasselt, Belgium, together with Germaine Kruip
2009 Stichting Sofa, Utrecht
2008-2009 Glas, Designhuis Eindhoven (group exhibition)
2007 Stool No.1 and 2 presented at the 25 years anniversary of Gallery Binnen
2007 Glassware and Silverware at Salone di Mobile, Milano, with t.e.
2006 Object Rotterdam with t.e.
2005 Show with Dinie Besems at Gallery Binnen
2005 Z33 Art Centre, Triennial Hasselt, Belgium
2003 Works auctioned by Sotheby’s
2002 Craft Council, initiative of Bernadine Walrecht.
2000 Solo Exhibition at Gallery Binnen, Amsterdam
Awards and Nominations
2015 Collection for Georg Jensen nominated for Wallpaper* design Award
2014 Collection for Georg Jensen winner of Interior Innovation Award, Cologne
2014 Collection for Georg Jensen nominated for Danish Design Award
2013 Three pair nominated for Dutch Design Award
2012 Winner Z33 architecture competition (with Francesca Torzo, Piet Oudolf, Conzett Bronizini Gartmann, ABT Belgium)
2012 Nominated for Wallpaper* Designer of the Year Award
2011 Jug nominated for the Dutch Design Awards
2011 Selected for the Alessi/Domus The Silver Spoon Design Competition
2011 Wallpaper* Design Award for the Urushi Stool in the Category ‘Best Stool’
2011 Wallpaper* Design Award for the Copper Collection in the category ‘Best Use of Material’
2010 Copper Collection nominated for the Dutch Design Awards
2009 First Prize at the Dutch Design Awards for the Porcelain Collection in the category ‘Living’
2009 Nominated for the DOEN/Materiaalprijs
2009 Nominated for the Vredeman de Vries Prize
2008 First Prize for Glassware, in the category ‘Industrial Design’ at the European Glass Context in Bornholm, Denmark