The Crate Series by Studio Makkink & Bey 19.01.11


"Products are just products," says Jurgen Bey of Studio Makkink & Bey. "But humans I find a lot more interesting." The studio tends to reject consumer goods in favour of critical design that makes a statement about everyday life.

Its latest project, the Crate Series, explores the "live-work" environment and the way we value personal space and time. Each piece is an interweaving of found object and factory crate. The former have come from an antiques shop close to the studio's base in Rotterdam, while the latter was inspired by Rianne Makkink's trip to India, where she observed crates used as makeshift homes and workspaces. "We understand crates as something to put objects in," says Bey, "but reassembled, they become a way of giving a larger object its surroundings, its own sense of privacy."


credit Spring Projects

With a work apron and a pair of pyjamas hanging either side, ClockCrate is a cabinet that helps its owner delineate time for work and leisure. "When you live and work in the same place there's no sense of in between; no defining moment between work and home," says Bey. For weekend indulgence, the clock can be shut away and is encased in a thick cork lining to muffle the sound of its own ticking.

Exhibited at Spring Studios in London until 16 December, another piece called Vacuum Cleaner Crate provides a flexible place for live-workers to share tea with their boss. Coloured threads wrap around the crate's wooden slats making it a worthy surface on which to set out the fine silverware. Incorporating a vacuum cleaner, it can also deal with the crumbs that will result.

BathCrate, designed to moderate the "clumsiness of getting into the bath with your partner", introduces a set of steps and door to either end of the bathtub. Hatches fold in to allow the space to steam up and the cedar wood of the crate to release its scent. "It mediates our personal lives," explains Bey. "It changes the whole ritual of bathing."

The pair have worked with crates before at DMY Berlin in 2009 and their concern for privacy in open-plan space is evident in the workspace project Blue Cabin (also exhibited). The lasting impression from the Crate Series, however, is the vein of thoughtfulness in which these pieces have evolved – an overall satisfying study in the human condition.

iconeye Clock-crate-2-384

credit Spring Projects



Spring Projects



Riya Patel

quotes story

We understand crates as something to put objects in but reassembled, they become a way of giving a larger object its surroundings, its own sense of privacy

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