In June, we will devote each Saturday to highlight one designer from De Design Shop in Hutspot Eindhoven. This week, we visited Daan Spanjers, who’s innovative clocks balance clever research with aesthetically pleasing colors.
Hi Daan. How are things at the studio today?
Hi, things are good! The studio is a bit messy at the moment, contrary to the clean looking products that are usually made here.
Could you tell us how you started as a designer?
I studied at Design Academy Eindhoven. I ended up sticking around like most designers do in this city. For me, the main reason to stay was the amazing workspace I acquired here. Located close to the creative surroundings of Sectie-C, there is always something going on.
Did you always wanted to start your own studio?
Yeah, I did. However, I also knew it was going to be difficult. Having your own workspace definitely makes working as an independent designer a lot easier, so I am not planning to leave anytime soon!
Could you tell us something about ‘Atmosphere’? What is it about?
‘Atmosphere’ is a series of clocks. They only show the time in hours, because there is only one line visible. I started to research time in relation to color and got fascinated by the phenomenon of sunlight, especially during sunrise and sunset. What is most interesting is that the colors we see are highly dependent on different environmental factors such as time, dust, water, perspective and even the location on earth.
Are the colors used in ‘Atmosphere’ based on something?
The colors used are based on sunrise and sunset, researched at different locations in the world. In China is a lot of smog resulting in a more yellow tone of light. Sunset in Nepal has a slight purple tone and here in Holland the colors tend to become a bit red/orange. Implementing these insights was very important, because it communicates the diversity of color and its dependence on time and environment.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I like to research all kinds of scientific phenomena. I would not dare to describe my work as scientific, but I do like to research and make relevant and surprising connections.
Do people actually use the clocks to read the time?
People always ask me: ‘how can I read the time on these clocks?’ I don’t find that question relevant. What I find most remarkable is that, after hanging the clock at home, a lot of people start to connote certain colors with certain times a day. They link their home rituals or moments with the colors they unconsciously see displayed on the clock.
Do the clocks also communicate that not everything needs to go by the minute?
This is another interesting angle that I can definitely agree with. ‘Atmosphere’ enables you to read the time in a different way. How is exactly up to you!
How important is technique in your work?
Technique makes a big impact on how the product is being perceived. In ‘Atmosphere’, the material is screen printed, enabling a more diverse and richer collection of colors. Also printing on transparent material influenced the way colors came out. You can imagine that it was a fun and experimental journey.
Are you planning to continue researching time and color?
Yes, I do. However, it is also important to keep on finding different and unique angles that enable new insights. Research is always leading when it comes to how I work and it will always be important to keep on surprising myself and others.
‘Atmosphere’ by Daan Spanjers is available at De Design Shop in Hutspot Eindhoven.