Leaf Furniture

Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
Photo: Herbert Wiggerman

Client: Child Care and Protection Board (Raad voor de Kinderbescherming)

Location: Child Care and Protection Board in Zwolle, The Netherlands

Material: Aluminum, wood, carpet

Year: 2004

What does it take to define a space? Designers Remy&Veenhuizen don't need a lot of props to do so. Armed with a single defining ornament they infected various areas within Rudy Uytenhaak’s new building for the Child Care and Protection Board in Zwolle, the Netherlands. They were initially asked to design an art work, but left the wall they were assigned to and moved into the building. The original wall was in fact what inspired the ornament that was to shape the three areas they confiscated. Using wallpaper as their starting point they opted for the Mother of all Ornaments: the leaf.

We see the leaf emerging in various shapes. Each time the shape of the leaf fits the purpose of the area. Near the xerox machine, aluminum sycamore leaves were used to create a ‘picnic area'. Because of the black background and the leafs that look as if they are afloat, a magic forest seems to materialise out of nowhere. The building’s entrance offers yet another surprise: the red carpet shaped like a fig leaf brings the waiting area and the hall together to create a single space. Finally, an alder leaf forms the basis of a library. From the wooden panelling - an old Dutch wall-covering method - leafs can be folded down to be used as book shelves.

The use of the leaf as an ornamental image is a simple gesture with stunning results. Not only does it create well-defined spaces within the building, the leaf also unifies decoration, functions and construction.