The work of Aldo Bakker, (Amersfoort 1971) is the work of a designer. With that, Aldo distances himself from the current belief that a strong ‘concept’ will naturally lead to interesting forms. He believes that the mastery and control of aesthetics are essential competencies. Indeed, they constitute a separate discipline. These are remarkable principles for the son of Gijs Bakker, founder of Droog Design and the figurehead of conceptual design. There are possibly stronger similarities between the work of Aldo Bakker and that of his mother, designer of modern jewellery Emmy van Leersum (1930-1984)
Nonetheless, the contradictions in the work of both parents and the development of Aldo share a common tradition. Both worlds display great similarities in their basic principles: the strong conviction that physical objects possess and evoke emotions in the user; the experience and ‘alienation’ that objects can awaken in the observer, just as music, film and art can do; the complete trust in the communicative and associative aspects of material, tactility and form.
Aldo seeks to surprise and trigger discussion among his public. He allows his public to pose questions about the context and relations of his work. ‘My objects should be able to create a space around themselves, to define their context on their own. I question their meaning and, hence, their use. In the ideal case an object acquires a status that legitimises itself, independently of the surroundings.’
Aldo’s objects are designed to influence the factor of ‘time’. He is deeply fascinated by such notions as ‘endlessness’ and ‘eternity’. Time is a dominant factor in the production process of his pieces of furniture. His use of Urushi varnish from Japan requires an extremely expensive and lengthy process and is a response to the fleetingness of mass production and increasing consumerism. These centuries-old techniques, combined with his love of architecture, are aimed at slowing the passage of time and creating a ‘time gap’. Emphasis is put on the physical experience and the possibilities offered by moving around the objects, admiring them or loathing them like extra-terrestrial beings. Fantasy and meaning demand an almost meditative state, and the mood of silence provokes the necessary care and attention. All these are collectively ignored today by western society.
At the same time, Aldo maintains control of his public’s ‘subconscious’. The Urushi varnish produces both reflection and a disquieting sense of depth. Looking at the work almost produces a feeling of vertigo.
The absence of visible structures arouses wonder. His ceramics possess ‘black holes’ that provoke a similar sense of disequilibrium. In that way they allude to ‘endlessness’ and contribute to the narrative character of his objects.