Aldo Bakker Returns to New York’s Les Ateliers Courbet
Aldo Bakker’s timeless approach surpasses the ebbs and flow of changing fads—certainly those that have typecast the design scene in his native Netherlands. The reserved maverick’s cumulative body of work bridges past and present to challenge the fundamentals of function and production. Bakker’s highly-refined designs forgo loud self-expression and demand deeper engagement. His reinterpreted archetypes—weather vessels or furniture—require users to reconsider elements of their daily life that are often taken for granted. Amoebic forms question how users sit, hold salt shakers, and even pour out liquids.
A new exhibition at New York gallery Les Atelier Courbet, on view until November 17, spotlights select works from the Dutch designer’s prolific career, in addition to his long-established collaborations with expert artisans and heritage brands. The organic yet perfectly paired-down Anura (2013) and Swing (2014) chairs were produced by cabinet maker Rutger Grass while iconic porcelain works have been created in collaboration with Frans Ottink and La Manufacture de Sevres.
These almost symbiotic collaborations bring Bakker’s artistic visions to life. Intensive research results in the careful blending of form, function, and material; all of which have been distilled from references to nature and culture. His works are often made using noble materials and age-old techniques, yet reinterpreted in a contemporary light. Stealing the show is the Le Lac (2017), a low-lying table, produced using an ocean green urushi lacquer and fabricated by master craftsman Sergei Kirilov. Collaborating with Wiener Silber Manufactur, Bakker debuts a limited-edition collection of fifteen sculptural, sterling carafes handcrafted by Viennese silversmiths.
Bakker’s second show at the gallery reveals a caliber of work typically only found in exhibitions at top institutions like the Centre Pompidou or the Vitra Museum, but now, New Yorkers have the rare opportunity to hop on a subway to Chelsea and see his work close up in an intimate gallery setting.