BiographySteven Banken graduated Cum Laude in 2010 at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands with his projects I-Joist and Sheaves. After his graduation he started his own design company, where design and production meet. His work is based on a broad and devoted research in which he is often fascinated by origin and the primitive behaviour of human being. Within the process of making, craftsmanship is what he favours. Therefore most designs are directly hand-made in his own workshop. This approach results in clear forms that respond on their direct environment. His great appreciation for industrial and craft-based techniques is visible in construction and punctual details.
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The cutting of reed and willow shoots was once an annually recurring scene in the Biesbosch national park. Steven Banken’s project, Sheaves, brings old crafts back to life. The sheaves of the past return to the landscape as objects to sit on during the summer. Near the site, wooden or metal clamping brackets press the harvested material into benches for walkers. The sheaf follows the rhythm of the seasons: the reed slowly decays in the autumn and is reabsorbed into nature. The resulting refuse in turn finds its way into nests, floating islands for small mammals and fertiliser for new willows and reed.
Wood is a material with a visual memory. It tells a story in the shape of a tree, a beam, or a piece of furniture. With his I-Joist Steven Banken is extending the story of the wood. This beam with its I-joist combines a refined beauty with great supportive power. The numbered oak elements start out as part of a sideboard designed by Banken. The solid beams serve as drawers rolling lengthwise across a set of brass wheels. If the sideboard falls out of fashion, the manufacturer will buy back the wood and give it a new lease of life as a piece of high-quality construction material. The traceable serial number will tell the user the road this piece of oak has travelled, thereby bringing the support beam out of its anonymity.
Changes of shape such as tapered legs and curved back of a chair were the starting point of this project. Research in craftsmanship and the possibilities of woodworking machines resulted in a new method. Wooden parts are partially sawed and glued in a curved shape. De saw cuts stay partially visible as a interstice that accentuate the shape.
Designer Steven Banken created beautiful copper lights. A cool led light reflects inside the copper light. De lamp creates a clear light centre surrounded with a warm copper semblance. Walnut parts fits precisely in the ends of the copper tube. The different parts are shaped by hand on the same machine, the lathe. www.stevenbanken.nl