Burned & Broken: Unconventional Objects by Maarten Baas

Furniture that is burnt, broken, disassembled and put back together again in strange arrangements are among the unusual home objects created by Dutch designer Maarten Baas. Known for the attention-getting creative touches in his hand-made furniture, Baas breaks down the expectations that we place on these items, playing with our concept of what is beautiful and useful.

One such object is ‘Just About Now’, a timer created in collaboration with kinetic objects company Laikingland that’s actually designed not to be accurate. You start the timer by scooping sand from a bowl into a glass funnel; it trickles down into a cup attached to a beater. Once it leaks through a tiny hole in the bottom of the cup, the beater bangs the gong. You might not want to use such a timer for baking a cake, but, the designer says, it’s great for timing a nap.

‘Smoke’ is a series of furniture which Baas burned with a blowtorch and then covered in a clear epoxy coating to preserve the blackened color and texture. Some of the objects seem just slightly altered, while others bear the scars of pieces claimed by the fire.

‘Hey, chair, be a bookshelf!’ is a playful assemblage of furniture and other objects that, when mashed together, have taken on new functions. The chair itself now holds books, a lamp shade is a vase and a violin is a coat rack. Each piece in this series is hand made of different components, making it unique.

“Beauty and ugliness is something that I find interesting,” says Baas. “I have the feeling that our sense for beauty isn’t so pure anymore. I sometimes try to shake up the way we see things, to kind of ‘reset’ it.”

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