Rising star Dutch designer Ward Wijnant (b. 1987, Tilburg) follows in the empowering vein of designers who soar above their so-called disabilities. Carving through dyslexia, dysorthographia, and dyscalculia, he fashions compellingly unique contemporary furniture via experimentations with tension, in which material is twisted and inflated to entirely new forms.
An enthusiast of the large-scale abstractions of artists like Anish Kapoor and Richard Serra, as well as of the irreverence of Dutch designers like Studio Job and Maarten Baas, Wijnant creates work that is nonconformist. Amid wood processing and carpentry studies at Rotterdam’s Hout & Meubileringscollege, he undertook an internship with Den Herder Production House, the producer of Maarten Baas’ quirky and kaleidoscopic Clay Collection (2006). “I was looking for an internship at a company which produces modern furniture with untraditional materials,” explains Wijnant.
Upon his 2010 graduation, he moved directly into B.A studies at the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven, where he cultivated a strong sensitivity to conceptual thinking—a development best exemplified in his 2015 thesis work. Titled Space and inspired by shimmery carnival balloons, the project comprises a series of lamps with curved reflective casing that manipulates light to add a surrealistic depth to the lamps’ environment; at the time, this highly-innovative work drew the attention of notable creatives Job Smeets (of Studio Job), Piet Hein Eek, and the Dutch design label Mooi, which have earmarked the series for a future collection. Outside of Space, Wijnant’s standout work includes Twisted (2017), a collection of chairs, tables, candlesticks, and cupboards, all of which feature whimsically hand-bent frames of industrial steel. In a 2018 update, the series will expand to include sconces, new seating, and mirrored accessories.
Although a still relatively nasent designer, Wijnant’s work has already been extensively showcased at exhibitions such as Object Rotterdam, Salone del Mobile Milano, Ventura New York, Dutch Design Week, and Operae.