Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay purple

Is it art, design or both? The first fixture shown above is an actual heated meeting space – warmed by a four-sided hot water heater suspended from the ceiling, a functional artwork of sorts. But the latter furniture-like objects … well, there seems to be an appliance seated where one would expect to find a person sitting down. 

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Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay

The linear composition, symmetry and outlined shapes of these metal sculptures strongly suggest the forms of couches, benches, chairs an love seats – but there is nothing within each frame and in a surreal visual inversion: seating spaces are not empty but rather occupied by the densest, heaviest mass in each work.

Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay chair

In this series titled I Am Furniture, Bas van Raay works precisely with our own pattern recognition processes – this difficult-to-grasp aspect is entirely intentional, a mixing of recognizable shapes, figures and voids designed to make us think twice (or more) about each piece.

Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay I am Furniture

More info from the designer

“What is furniture? Does the definition only belong to tables and chairs? Or could an electric heater become furniture as well? We think it’s possible. Depending on the openness of others towards the objects. That’s why we named these objects: ‘I am furniture’, as in becoming furniture. The objects identify themselves with the freedom of our thoughts and minds.”

Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay bench

“I am furniture is produced by Studio Vraay, and most of the parts are hand made or Industrially sculptured. The objects heat up electrically using a reduced electrical heating component     made for tomorrow’s ecological standards. Besides reducing energy demand, the object heats up the direct surroundings where we find ourselves in, instead of entire buildings. I am furniture is designed as ‘plug and play’.”

Water heater sculpture Bas van Raay sculptural

About Bas van Raay

“Bas van Raay (1981) graduated in 2007 from the Design Academy in Eindhoven at the department ‘man and public space’, and studied at the department ‘man and well being’ before. He did his internship at k&h architects in Tokyo japan. His graduation projects ‘heatingpoint’ and ‘station energy’ are a result of ‘public space’ combined with ‘well being’ . Both projects are described as inventions in a grey area between art and design.”