Studio Job interprets famous buildings with "whacked and expressive" Landmark series

So sometimes it’s by coincidence; sometimes it’s on purpose. Job Smeets:   Oh! Do you   sketch, or   do you make a collage? And also that… and even you could say that we also lost a lot in design in the past hundred years. Marcus Fairs: And the atelier is your atelier, or do you work with special bronze casting workshops and so on? I mean you can ask Swarovski to apply the crystals, but you’ll end up with a much less interesting sculpture. And you see all the important landmarks, like Big Ben, La Tour Eiffel, Chartres cathedral, Burj Khalifa, Petra and the Taj Mahal. No. Nynke Tynagel: Crazy ideas. Or it’s just a collage? Marcus Fairs: So what’s the motivation then to do this series of pieces? Taj MahalMarcus Fairs: I imagine these pieces would probably last longer than most buildings as well. But in the end we’ve just tried to make a nice clock and a nice lamp.”
Time BombAnother piece, called Big Ben Aftermath, features the famous London clock tower that appears to be disintegrating, and is topped by an exploding London bus. Are you interested in working at that kind of scale? Nynke Tynagel: Very detailed. The entire assembly sits atop a bronze-doored alcove containing a marble likeness of a rock-cut temple from Petra, which doubles as a clock. Marcus Fairs: And who do you make them for? ChartresNynke Tynagel: Now we are totally in control because it’s all in-house. You’re talking about 16th century, you’re talking about Modernism. Eiffel Tower LampMarcus Fairs: Will you ever do real architecture? Tell us the process. Job Smeets: The base is bronze: patinated bronze, gilded bronze, and polished bronze. Job Smeets: There can be a message, yes. Job Smeets: Our love of references. It’s also what we do in our graphics. Related story: Designer cakes by Viktor Rolf, Studio Job and more served up during Design MiamiJob Smeets and   Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job have mounted a lampshade atop the Eiffel Tower to make a light, placed Chartres cathedral on its side to make a cupboard and   turned the Taj Mahal upside down to create a table. Sketch of Burj KhalifaMarcus Fairs: So is there a message in this piece? At that time the Empire State was the highest building in the world. We can move onto another idea quicker than in architecture. Marcus Fairs: Would you be okay with it being a building rather than a sculpture – something that has a function? Marcus Fairs: And how much is this one? There’s a lot of real quality materials and craftsmanship. But we have an atelier of about 25   people who are really specialist artists and artisans and all the polishing, all the gilding, all the patenting all the assembling, all the hand painting, all the crystals we all do ourselves. Job Smeets: I mean, what happens if you let aeroplanes with Islamic signs fly over a building of the new capitalism? That’s crazy. Same with the Big Ben, of course. Nynke Tynagel: Because in design the skill is a little bit smaller than in architecture. “It took us six weeks with four people.”
Images courtesy of   Carpenters Workshop Gallery. It took us six weeks with four people. Job Smeets: And it’s just a matter of someone commissioning us with a building. “Obviously, architecture communicates very well and says a lot about the situations in countries: the inter-human situation, welfare, politics. Commissioned by Augustus the Strong. Marcus Fairs: So taking this piece for example, with King Kong climbing the Burj Khalifa. Job Smeets: Yes. Marcus Fairs: You make them just because you want to? Job Smeets: Whatever is happening. Job Smeets: Now we often say “oh, it’s just craft”. Having said that, it transferred itself also into some kind of hyper-commercial style. The Petra church is full marble on bronze, so it’s hand-painted marble and gilded bronze. It’s like a contemporary version of applied art of the Renaissance; 16th century applied art. Job Smeets: It’s also a little bit the concept behind applied art. Photograph by James Harris, also main imageThe huge   sculptural objects, made of materials including bronze, cast aluminium, marble and gold leaf,   reference iconic buildings including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Burj Khalifa. So through architecture we try to express not what we feel or what we think, but…
Nynke Tynagel: What’s happening. Job Smeets: 120,000 crystals. And we played with those pieces. Most contemporary   buildings anyway. Read on for a transcript of the interview with Smeets and Tynagel   conducted at the Carpenters Workshop Stand at Design Miami:
Marcus Fairs: Tell us about this collection you’re showing here at Design Miami. It’s the most important, most beautiful collection of applied art. Obviously, architecture communicates very well and says a lot about the situations in countries: the inter-human situation, welfare, politics. That’s not true. Job Smeets: I don’t know if it’s political. The largest piece features a crystal-covered gorilla climbing a cast-aluminium replica of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa –   the world’s tallest building –   while aeroplanes decorated with Islamic symbols buzz around it. The Burj Khalifa tower is cast aluminium, which is then silver leafed by hand. Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel: Not really. Nynke Tynagel: Losing details is also about losing personality, I guess. Eiffel Tower Lamp”I mean, obviously, this body of work does not come from Modernism,” said Smeets. Job Smeets: Yes. That piece is crumbling and it has an exploding lamp on top. Dezeen Book of Interviews: Job Smeets features in our new book, which is on sale nowSpeaking to Dezeen at the collectors fair in Miami this week, Smeets and Tynagel compared their work to the elaborate applied art of the Renaissance. Where do you fit in? ChartresMarcus Fairs: Dollars? Nynke Tynagel: There are many techniques in one sculpture. What is it made of? I mean it’s like Europe in stress.   Job Smeets: In an expressive sense. Job Smeets: I mean, obviously, this body of work does not come from Modernism. Big Ben Aftermath”It’s like a contemporary version of applied art of the Renaissance,” said Job Smeets, who said the “totally whacked and totally expressive” pieces referenced the contemporary world but did not have overt political messages. Taj MahalMarcus Fairs:   In what sense? We are able to flip them upside down, or flip them on their side, so we can play with it so it becomes a table or a cabinet. But if you, for instance, look at the cities of Dubai or Abu Dhabi or New York even, the facades of the buildings can be very extreme, while inside it can be a very dull, functioning building. New York was the most innovative city in the world and not even a hundred years later the highest building in the world is in Dubai. Sometimes Nynke takes my sketch and translates it into…
Nynke Tynagel: A big question mark, and a big “what does he mean?!”
ChartresJob Smeets: And translates it into a digital drawing…
Nynke Tynagel: On the right scale, the right proportions, and the details, so the atelier knows what to do. The King Kong is aluminium because otherwise it would be much too heavy. Job Smeets: Yes, $520,000 or $540,000. Do you have a kind of client in mind – a collector? And the planes are bronze, and the clouds are bronze. Nynke Tynagel: It’s just a matter of scale.

Updated: 05.12.2014 — 21:02