Last year, G-Star RAW launched their art platform The Art of RAW where young creatives produce art objects out of denim waste. After collaborating with various international design talents, the brand is now working together with award-winning designer Johanna Seelemann, who showed her interpretation of modern office furniture based on the aesthetic and tactile exploration of raw denim.
Meet Johanna Seelemann
She is seen as the biggest upcoming talent in the contemporary design world. After graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2019 Johanna Seelemann (Germany, 1990) worked for the prestigious design duo Formafantasma before starting her own studio. For this collaboration, she was inspired by the hidden production processes of the material. G-Star’s headquarters in Amsterdam, designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and office furniture designed by Jean Prouvé, also provided structural influences on the pieces.
‘Potentials’ is an aesthetic and tactile exploration of raw denim. Its qualities like the stability and texture, span beyond the clothing context – rendering it ideal for application in furniture. The design has been driven by the intent to employ untreated leftover denim as the essential key in all objects, reducing all additional materials to a supportive framework.
As a core principle, the German designer wanted to maintain the fabric in a raw state: wrapped and filled, with minor cuts and seams. The use of thin frames, such as indigo-dyed ash wood will evoke a constructional co-dependency. Leaving the material as raw as possible, the pieces celebrate the idea of borrowing, to maximize their potential for future transformations. To highlight its remarkable stability, denim is employed in further detail, such as weights and belts, to keep the structures in position. The result is a five-piece office furniture series consisting of; a room divider, floor mat, leaning bench, low stool and valet stand.
Multi-disciplinary artists lead the way
G-Star RAW has created denim art pieces since its start, with art and design being a strong part of their DNA. Continuing in their quest to push creative boundaries, G-Star RAW is collaborating with multiple talents on a new series of art objects. In line with the brand’s responsible initiatives, each artist has been given the freedom to experiment using denim waste or dead stock, creating unique pieces within their own discipline whilst upcycling materials.
Teun Zwets (1992) was the first artist to kick off The Art of RAW. He made the unique furniture object ‘Denim Living’ by layering denim waste piece by piece and laminating it with a binder- it featured a lamp, a cupboard and a chair in one.
Greek designer Athena Gronti (1993) concluded on creating a large quilt named ‘Ariadne’s Thread’. From rough areas to soft and intricate stitching to abstract shapes, the large art piece aims to bring the sociologic paradoxes of denim together.
Lenny Stöpp (1994) produced the furniture series ‘Fluff Stacks’, consisting of a side table, a stool and a lamp. The multidisciplinary artist invented his own denim recipe by mixing water, starch and denim pieces in an industrial pulp machine, to create a brand-new material.
Nienke Sikkema (1988) is a renowned designer working closely together with the revolutionary Dutch glass artist Bernard Heesen. For The Art of RAW, her inspiration is taken from Delfts Blauw’s earthenware, basing her glass designs on iconic shapes and colours. After creating a mould using staple parts of G-Star jeans – like pockets and zippers- she produced a trilogy of vases named ‘Blown In Blue.’
He is renowned for his work with the most used material in the world: concrete. So, it was immediately clear the multi-disciplinary designer Iwan Pol (1988) wanted to experiment with denim and concrete. Combining concrete with indigo pigment, he used this mixture to capture stills of the denim waste fabric. The end result is ‘Rockin’ Denim’: a trilogy of objects that showcase the different movements of denim.