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Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers – Doreen Westphal Studio

Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers is a delicate, sculptural lamp, made from Ultra High Performance Concrete (Quantz), and based on the first weather forecast following the fall of Hosni Mubarak. The lamp metaphorically presents Doreen Westphal’s vision uniting ecology and politics in strong esthetic design. The lamp is part of the collection Concrete & Detailed, which consists of ceramic concrete products all made from Quantz.

Concrete & Detailed by Doreen Westphal is designed using new ethical and ecological standards. Today one can no longer intuitively decide if a design is good or not, but one needs specialised knowledge of available production materials and assessment skills to monitor the impact of one’s own products. The collection Concrete & Detailed is exemplary on both accounts. It is made of the unique Quantz developed by G.tecz: a German leading company in concrete innovations. This concrete can be cast as fine Arabic script and is as strong and light as conventional ceramics. Next to this, the sustainability consultant Except has analyzed that producing a ceramic product from Quantz reduces the energy consumption in the production process by fifty times. Doreen Westphal is now able to use this material to make mid-price products accessible by those with a moderate budget.

Westphal’s lamp Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers is the forerunner for Concrete & Detailed. Its inspiration came from watching news broadcasts during February, 2011, and realising that the events in the Arab world were representative of many of the concerns of today’s designer. The authoritarian regimes that are now crumbling were empowered primarily by the West’s addiction to fossil fuels. This reliance produced not only the ecological, but also political imbalance in the world. Reducing energy consumption is therefore both an environmental and political statement.

Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers of Doreen Westphal metaphorically brings all these lines together: poetically reflecting the uncertain, but hopeful future through the first weather forecast for Egypt after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, cast in concrete. In the weather forecast one reads: ‘one should guard the young crops against frost in the night,’ a reminder of the precarious state the world is in. This guarding has to be done globally by all those who make and use products and as such participate in the consumption of scarce resources that affect both environment and societies everywhere.

CV Doreen Westphal

After being trained a tailor in former East Germany, Doreen Westphal studied stage and set design at the Nottingham Trent University. She started her artistic career in the Netherlands as a freelance set designer for various large theatre productions. In 2007 she founded her own design company, which became famous for its unique line of bags and accessories – Krejci – made from used bicycle inner tubes. She now has a wide range of products that combine beautiful, playful design with innovative use of material and make discrete suggestions on the ecological and political state of the world.

photography: Wouter Walmink