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Posted 18.12.17

Deconstruct & disrupt, reverse & reinvent: Envisions takes over The Gallery

By Sarah Packer

Envisions: The Envisionaires in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art. Photo by Dom Moore

As the realms of design and manufacturing converge and the designer increasingly takes on the role of both inventor and maker, the traditional production process is subject to change.

Deconstruct and disrupt, reverse and reinvent: creatives seek to shake up the status quo by exploring previously undiscovered paths in the process.

Following their quickly-gained success, Envisions – a Dutch design collective that showcases anything but the end product – have created an exhibition of their work for The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art that captures their unique process, drive and key participating talents, while celebrating their short but impactful history.

Missed the opening? Envisions: The Envisionaires, which was created for Plymouth College of Art, will be open to the public until Saturday 27 January 2018.

Envisions: The Envisionaires in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art. Photo by Andy Ford

By presenting Envisions’ work in the context of an art school, similar to the environment where the initial concept for the art collective was conceived and where the founders acquired their fundamental skills, the show represents a feeling of ‘coming home’ after a series of insightful travels and adventures.

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art has been transformed into a chaos-embracing and lively playground that showcases the collective's joint approach, whilst shining a light on the distinctive style and talent of each individual member of Envisions. The exhibition uncovers the processes of each designer and highlights concepts such as experimentation, error, authenticity, professionalism and wit.

“Our different skills and qualities create one big image or story. We want to break free of existing boundaries.”
— Sanne Schuurman, Envisions

Envisions’ colourful and imaginative collection of works have quickly attracted attention and critical acclaim since their debut at the Salone del Mobile in Milan 2016. By showcasing the possibilities of the process rather than end products, the group was the first to proudly expose work that was still in development on an international stage, promoting the relevance of design produced with unlimited creativity and multidisciplinary cooperation.

Leah Harris, Exhibitions Coordinator at Plymouth College of Art, said: “Having Envisions exhibit at Plymouth College of Art sets an excellent example for our students of how to do things differently, and generate attention for doing so. Envisions have proven that they don’t always have to play by the rules, working together as a collective to create something innovative and exciting.”

Envisions are made up of a group of graduates from the renowned Design Academy Eindhoven. Earlier this year Plymouth College of Art signed an Erasmus+ bilateral agreement with the Design Academy, giving students and staff the opportunity to apply for a period of study or teaching overseas in the Netherlands.

Left to right: Exhibitions Coordinator Leah Harris, Envisions intern Romane, Envisions team member Niki van der Ploeg, Envisions founding member and designer Sanne Schuurman, and Hannah Rose, Exhibitions Manager for The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

Inviting Envisions to exhibit in The Gallery also creates other ongoing opportunities for students and staff of the college - BA (Hons) Jewellery graduate Fern Robinson and BA (Hons) Fashion graduate Anna Boast have both already had their work appear at Dutch Design Week after being spotted by Envisions earlier in the year.

Next year, on Wednesday 10 January 2018 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at Plymouth College of Art, Envisions will lead another artist talk (part two), introducing two other members of the collective and discussing their work in greater depth.

Also as part of The Gallery’s Design season, on Wednesday 17 January from 5:30pm to 6:30pm artist Katie Schwab will be giving a free public talk to discuss her practice, as an introduction to her selection as the new Designer in Residence at Plymouth College of Art. Katie will be visiting the college regularly throughout 2018 and developing a new body of work for exhibition in The Gallery in January 2019.

Katie’s practice interweaves personal, social, and craft-based histories, often drawing from traditions of living, making and working collectively. Her artworks take the form of installations of embroidered, woven and printed textiles, ceramic tableware, furniture and videos, drawing on the bright colours, bold shapes and abstract forms of twentieth-century modern design.