Olivier van Herpt (1989)


The industrial machine is a black box between designers and users. It is an imaginary border dividing craft and design. The works of Olivier van Herpt, however, pry apart the machine, expanding this unit for standardised production into a platform for creative exploration.

Tinkering with digital fabrication technologies, the industrial design graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven constructs methods and means of production that meld together seemingly divergent worlds. A 3D printer that drips, instead of expels, its output, just as how stalagmites naturally form in caves. An open source extruder that anyone can freely use to 3D print objects with the more sustainable material of beeswax. These output by the Dutch designer sit at the intersection of the digital and analogue, as well as design and tools.

By pushing the limits of existing 3D printing technologies, van Herpt has arrived at machines that produce larger forms and work with materials beyond conventional plastics. Out of paraffin and even clay, he has printed collections of objects that soften the precise and indifferent definition of industrial design. Vases seemingly handwoven by the hands of individual artisans, ceramics crafted with random imperfections, and pottery shaped by the environment they were made in—these manufactured objects demonstrate how van Herpt reinserts humanity into the man-made machine.

Just as the advent of digital fabrication has democratised manufacturing for the masses, the works of van Herpt seek to reconnect design with the human touch. Drilling deep into the design process, he flattens the production chain standing between designer and user with his innovative machines that are really tools which empower making.

By opening up the industrial machine, the designs of van Herpt invites all of us to collaborate in creating a world no one of us imagined possible.

— by Justin Zhuang
Olivier van Herpt portrait Koos Breukel

Photo: Koos Breukel

Exhibitions


  • 2017 Galerie Poirel Nancy
  • 2017 SEEDS London
  • 2016 Design Miami/, Miami
  • 2016 Foundation for Visual Arts, Amsterdam
  • 2016 PAN, Amsterdam
  • 2016 San Jose Museum of Art, Silicon Valley
  • 2016 Design Museum, London
  • 2016 In No Particular Order, Eindhoven
  • 2016 New Material Award, Eindhoven
  • 2016 Texture Museum, Kortrijk
  • 2016 Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis
  • 2016 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • 2016 Galerie VIVID, Rotterdam
  • 2016 Design Miami / Basel, Basel
  • 2016 Cube Design Museum, Kerkrade
  • 2016 Beirut Design Week, Beirut
  • 2016 Mint Gallery, London
  • 2016 Galleri F15, Moss
  • 2016 Cooper Hewitt, New York
  • 2016 Centro Centro, Madrid
  • 2016 Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden
  • 2016 Maison&Objet, Paris
  • 2015 Operae, Turin
  • 2015 Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
  • 2015 Graduation Show DAE, Eindhoven
  • 2015 Mint Gallery, London
  • 2015 Krehky Gallery, Mikolov
  • 2015 Designkwartier, Den Haag
  • 2015 The Green Gallery, Amsterdam
  • 2015 Bienal Brasileira de Design, Florianópolis
  • 2015 Transnatural, Amsterdam
  • 2015 Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan
  • 2015 Salone del Mobile DAE, Milan
  • 2015 Kazerne, Eindhoven
  • 2015 Het Noordbrabants Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
  • 2014 Sectie-C DDW, Eindhoven
  • 2013 STRP Discovery Salon, Eindhoven
  • 2013 Yski Exhibition Space, Eindhoven
  • 2013 DDW Capital D, Eindhoven

Museum Collections

  • Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  • Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • The Princessehof National Museum
    of Ceramics, Leeuwarden