Graduation Project

Aram Lee


Prizes: Gijs Bakker Award Nominee

Department: Contextual Design

Dutch Wife

These blankets are the result of Aram Lee's study into the changing narrative and value of objects as they are transplanted from one cultural context to another. She uses the ‘Dutch Wife’ as an example. Originating in Dutch colonial Indonesia, this is a body-sized bolster cushion made of bamboo mesh that can be embraced by the user to keep cool at night. This was designed for a tropical climate and is unknown in the Netherlands. Aram travelled to Indonesia and traced the object back to its historical roots, aiming to introduce it to the Dutch population. The idea is to symbolically reverse the process of colonisation and ‘emancipate’ the object.
The Dutch Wife belongs to a certain period, and to a specific relationship between the two cultures that is set in the past. By deconstructing and applying the original production principles to a series of blankets, which are more familiar to the Dutch situation, Aram allows the object to break out of its old context and re-appropriates it to a new one. The contemporary version is no longer about Dutch ideas of Indonesia, instead telling a story about the present.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Iris Rijskamp