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.

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‘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.”