Art or Design?
D&A Lab is a laboratory that operates on the cross-over between art and functionality, it questions the traditional boundaries between Art and Design and the related traditional paradigms.
It does so by approaching contemporary artists who are willing to imagine and create something that could have a function. The choice of these artists is broad and ranges from painters to artists that work very conceptually to artists that work in different media like installations, film, animations to sculpture. This initial idea imagined by the artist is then developed in close collaboration with D&A Lab who produces these ‘relative objects’ in a limited edtion.
Indirectly, D&A Lab takes a stand in the media frenzy about ‘What is Art’ and ‘What is Design’. They question users about increasing design consumerism and art collectionism, about design’s commercial value and the speculative art market.The main direct statement D&A Lab wants to make with its Designed by Artists collection is at a linguistic, philosophical and conceptual level, strictly related to users’ roles and arbitrium. "I observe, I name, I use". In other terms, by escaping a clear categorization, by involving the users on many levels – both emotional and functional – the Designed by Artists collection creates a state of complete empathy between objects and users.
The designers involved in this niche commercial trend make a choice: that of endorsing luxury design and its distribution channels. Contemporary artists involved with D&A Lab on the other hand are and remain artists, they simply address with D&A Lab a different and broader target, with the constraint of function and accept to share their artistic vision with an external player and to outsource their skills. This means that the final product or object is something that is intrinsically part of the oeuvre of these artists.
D&A Lab acts as an intermediary here, challenging artists, daring to translate artistic visions into functional and daily-life sphere objects that are imbued with their artistic sense and content as well as making for strong esthetic statements.
Sometimes Designed by Artists is art and sometimes it is design. Once in a while, it is both. But never “Design Art”.
Finally, in order to better grasp the idea behind D&A Lab, we should question the term ‘design’, an abused word, nowadays deprived of all social and collective implications as initiated by the Bauhaus school. Again, a linguistic matter: rather than design, D&A Lab questions objects and produces mental forms, stories and reflections that can be approached, manipulated and used or simply contemplated…
D&A Lab has worked with artists, some very established and some upcoming talents as well as with some internationally reknown or upcoming artists.
It has in its collection a broad range of items ranging from smaller items like ashtrays by Lionel Esteve, a bracelet by Koen Vanmechelen, to some museum-size items like the glass table and chairs ‘the table of the knights of despair’ by Jan Fabre.
D&A Lab continually experiments with materials and techniques and enjoys the challenges of mixing very high-tech innovative production methods with very traditional handmade finished items to produce high quality objects that will stand the test of time and function.
ABOUT D&A Lab
D&A Lab 's Designed by Artists is Dirk Meylaerts and Isolde Pringiers since May 2011. It was launched in 2006 and was the brainchild of Dirk Meylaerts and former associate Bruno Rouffaer.