Interdisciplinary and innovative, Transnatural Label produces thoughtful, beautiful objects that emerge from intelligent fusions of art, nature, and technology.
The Transnatural Label, based in Amsterdam since its 2012 foundation by Arjen Bangma, is the commercial branch of the Transnatural Art and Design Program. A multi-faceted platform, it envisions “a world where man, nature, and technology merge” in a manner conducive to ecological wealth. Working with a variety of international creators, studios, institutes, businesses, and development laboratories, it seeks to transcend traditional boundaries between nature and technology through a combination of art, speculative design, and emerging research. Arising from these aims, and in collaboration with experienced and innovative designers, the objects produced by the Transnatural Label offer thought-provoking explorations of light, material, nature, and decay.
The series of Transience mirrors, designed for the label by Lex Pott and David Derkson, offer a playful, geometric play on optics and the manner in which reflective material may disintegrate. The idea is rooted in the dark spots that appear on mirrors, which are caused by the silver layer slowly oxidizing under the influence of oxygen and water. Though this is ordinarily observed as the degradation of an object, Pott and Derkson explore and demonstrate the beautiful effects of this type of material transition of silver. Revealing different states of oxidation on the same surface, presented in neat, geometric planes, their mirrors reflect reality in beautifully sectioned areas of gold, amber, blue, and purple. By accelerating and manipulating a quality often regarded as a flaw as a means of artistic expression, each of these hand-made mirrors doubles in function to resemble an abstract tableau. This experimental approach to material is also evident in the Well Proven series of stools, by Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw. Observing that processing wood from planks to products incurs 50–80% of timber wastage during normal manufacture, the designers sought ways of incorporating waste shavings into design using bio-resin. A curious chemical reaction occurs when the two combine, expanding the mixture into a foam-like substance. This porridge-esque result is applied to the underside of the stool shell by hand, forming a strong and lightweight material, the irregular and exuberant textures supplying a satisfying contrast with the simple seat and turned legs. The Trap Light, produced for both indoor and outdoor use, demonstrates a similar approach to the re-use of resources. Devised by Gionata Gatto and Mike Thompson, it proposes a radical new approach to lighting design. By utilizing photoluminescent pigments to capture escaping light, it recycles waste energy back into light. Photoluminescence is a process in which energy absorbed by a substance is gradually released as light. Using the Murano glass blowing technique, this pigment is embedded into the glass body of the lamp, giving each Trap Light its own pattern and glow. Thirty minutes of charge from a traditional incandescent or LED light provides a few hours of ambient lighting.
Transnatural Art and Design routinely stages projects for international audiences, and has presented workshops, talks and events at a variety of venues, including MoMA New York and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The label’s designer-collaborators, as respected researchers and practitioners, have received accolades and have been exhibited widely. Pott was named the No. 1 Design Talent in the Netherlands by the newspaper de Volkskrant in 2015, and since 2011 Derkson has presented at Salone del Mobile in Milan. Van Aubel and Shaw’s work has been displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Design Museum, London, while Gatto has shown at Sotheby’s, London and Maison & Objet, Paris, and Thompson at MoMA NY and the Science Gallery, Dublin.