Pop Job: External designers really add a fresh perspective

Pop Job: External designers really add a fresh perspective

June 2017

Often, when tile manufacturers work with external designers, the results are underwhelming.  Not so with the collaboration between Studio Job and Mirage.  This resulted in the Pop Job collection, which truly delivers on its mission to discover new possibilities for ceramics with an innovative approach.

Pop Job, the new collection created for Mirage by Studio Job, has almost no imitations in the ceramic sector, and explores an alternative graphic, coloured and provocative style.

The colour range includes six colours characterised by neutral and pastel tones.  The shiny, smooth surface is obtained through the innovative ‘twin-surface’ technique, which involves the use of thick glass applied on porcelain stoneware surfaces through an absolutely innovative technology for an industrial material, ensuring unparalleled colour intensity.

There are seven shades available, ranging from more neutral and versatile tones such as white, beige, grey and black, to more extravagant, vibrant colours such as green, pink and blue.

Job Smeets, co-founder and art director at Studio Job, explains how the idea for the collection came about and what makes it ‘pop’.

“When we develop projects, we always try to create something that we would like to have in our own house.  And what we always try to do is create things that look like they are real but they are not real.” “What we did with Mirage was professionalise the idea of a grungy old wooden floor but in ceramic.  And the same with the walls. 

We always work very much with icons, so for us a floor in an interior conjures an image of an oak, parquet fish-bone floor: it is the most iconic type of floor you can have.”

“And the most iconic type of wall you can have is a brick wall.  We tried to play with that aspect and make it more ‘pop’, more graphical and more contemporary.”

One of the main approaches in creating these effects was to make it clear that the structure is not what it seems.  The market has seen a rise of imitation wood- and stone-effects in ceramic tiles, and Studio Job wanted to make its contribution as unrealistic as possible.

“We didn’t want to do it too literally.  These days you have a lot of oak-grain flooring that are laminates or flooring that looks like wood.  We exaggerated it, so you see immediately that it is not real wood.  We just used the structure.”

“It is a really refined collection.  If you look at the bricks, the small edges around it make it appear as if it is little bit crumbled and these details is what makes them ‘pop’, and they make it archetypical and iconic,” explains Smeets.

“During a visit to Mirage, I noticed that, in some of their collections, there is a limited use of relief textures and depth.  Of course I understand the technical and practical reasons behind this choice, but it gave me an idea: to create a transparent, glazed wall covering that can be placed on top of tiles to create a smoothed floor, but which at the same time is able to create a sense of depth.

“Rather than recreating real wood, however, we looked at this material from a more graphic angle, intensifying it to the greatest possible extent to obtain a parquet with the Pop style in brilliant, bright colours that are totally detached from reality.”

Smeets was involved in other aspects of the collection as well, including the name and the logo, as well as monitoring the production process.

“Just creating a product line is fine, but what makes it bigger is when it becomes a full project.  This gives it more identity.”

Smeets says that the wood pattern used as part of the flooring graphic for the Pop Job collection has, in fact, been used in previous works, including the National Ballet building in the Netherlands, as well as fashion shows in Paris.

“I really like that patterns develop, and it’s not just one pattern for one company; they go along in your body of work.  And then a pattern and a structure develops a meaning, and it’s not just a structure or a pattern.  It starts become a part of your identity.  So, if you keep repeating the same kind of identity, then you own it.  It’s like a pattern of itself.”

“It’s a very narcissistic way of looking at it, but it’s true,” adds Smeets.

Studio Job, the Dutch design duo of Job Smeets and Ninke Tynagel, is famous for its whimsical and often flashy bronze sculptures that tell various narratives.

“I see this collection and our bronze sculptures and I think they go very well together.  I always think in spaces, so when you have a bronze sculpture in the middle of the room, how does the rest of the room look?  And then you have to start thinking about the floors and the walls.  And that is why we are designers.  We think in spaces.  And I also think that that’s a very classical way of thinking,” muses Smeets.

The Pop Job project is versatile and practical: different elements can be combined to create flooring, wall coverings and framed layouts with their own unique style.  When coordinated with other collections in the Mirage portfolio, it extends the potential of expression considerably.

The selected floor tile formats are 144 by 579 and 144 by 297, 200 by 1,200mm, with 144 by 297mm wall tiles.  Additional detailing is provided by frame, angolo, listello and inserto pieces in the base colours.
W: www.mirage.it  W: www.studiojob.be
Additional information from Design Mena.

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