The Principles of Hiding | Butternutten AG

The Principles of Hiding translate functional and formal aspects of military objects into a domestic context. Between design and strategy, the Principles explore the dynamics of comfort, protection, defence and danger in our daily lives.

The first Principle of Hiding can be used in a similar way to camouflage netting: a broad mesh net designed to be thrown over objects or areas. When having unexpected guests, the throw might be used to conceal disorder. Unlike traditional camouflage netting, the texture is not created by cutting into a textile surface, but by generating volume: Canvas is formed into tubes around ropes, which, when pulled, allow the net to be smocked. The covered arrangement becomes almost sculptural, but individual items can be recognised under the throw with the coloured surfaces of objects shimmering through the adjustable grid, allowing the user to experience the ‘Principles of Hiding’.

The second Principle of Hiding has a practical and formal function inspired by ballistic blankets. The tear, bite, cut and shock-resistant blanket transfers the age-old quest for protection into the home. The inner lining of the blanket is a cut-resistant textile, made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and other technical fibres.

The viewer won’t recognise the blanket as a protection tool, and the user will experience it much like a conventional blanket: Canvas textile covers all of the functional, technical material. In a way, it’s a more passive act of running for shelter: most of the time the blanket is used you won’t be expecting an attack. But if something happens, you’re protected.

Butternutten AG is a Karlsruhe/Marrakesh-based design studio run by Oliver-Selim Boualam (Germany, 1992) and Lukas Marstaller (Germany, 1993). They describe their practice as a ‘Super Design Service’. After meeting at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design they started making music and DJing together before establishing Butternutten AG. They realise projects at the interface between art and design, always searching for what is fun and unusual. In their work they try to reflect both a playful and social component.

Butternutten AG has shown work at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany; Etage Projects in Copenhagen, Denmark; Villa Noailles in Hyères, France; Lothringer 13 in Munich, Germany; the Folk Art Museum in Hangzhou, China; MAK – Austrian Museum for Applied Arts/Contemporary Art in Vienna, Austria; SCHUNCK* Museum in Heerlen, The Netherlands; and ZKM – Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. Boualam and Marstaller were artists in residence at Villa Lena, Italy, in 2017. Recently one of the studio’s designs was placed in the Top 100 of the Design Intelligence Award 2017 and they were placed second in the 2016 Pure Talents Contest, run by the German Design Council.

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