June 23rd 2023
Sandra Keja Planken. A New Mindset for Sustainable Art. BY Anna Caccia
When you pause to look at Sandra Keja Planken’s creations, you cannot fail to be enchanted by the originality of her touch. This happened to me when I went to visit Oemni Mythical Stuff Tapestry and Vessel in the exhibition space at Isola District for the 2023 Design Week in Milan.
To celebrate Vermeer’s anniversary, one of the most famous painters in the Netherlands, requested by the national tv station NP01, she carefully studied method and colors of his lost painting, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury, and a rich composition full of energy and imagination was born.
Oemni Mythical Stuff Tapestry and Vessel combines the traditional techniques of tufting and passementerie with the use of sustainable materials (chenille, transparent plastic, ‘rope’ yarn, recycled yarn from old clothing and waste glass), which are part of Sandra Keja Planken’s distinctive trait. They were created at the Textile Lab of the Dutch Textile Museum in Tilburg.
Sandra is a Dutch ‘sustainable artist and designer’, fascinated by Nature, and founder of Studio Noun in Amsterdam, a multidisciplinary independent studio, where she creates her ‘bold’ artworks.
She focuses on anthropomorphic objects (tapestry, wall art, wallpaper, rugs, chairs, lamps) and spatial interior design (luxury offices, restaurants, cafés, private homes and villas) realized out of vegan or leftover materials. She conceives expressionistic spaces full of colors and natural materials evoking a funny, joyful and embracing atmosphere. This leads to a tactical rather than a visual use by those who enjoy her art. It just moves something inside.
“I am a nature loving dreamer who creates objects with an anthropomorphic quality. Meaning my objects have human or nature like appearance and while you touch them they seem to touch you back”.
For a broad-minded public, mitigating the distance between old and new contemporary eco-friendly art and design, she curiously investigates the relationship between nature and human behaviors following her deep feelings and sensations and traducing them into fantasy abstract forms. They are food for our soul and very expressive.
Design and art are a continuous challenge and research for the artist thanks also to the collaboration with like-minded creatives and designers able to reproduce her idea of art. Reconnecting with nature and with our inner happiness to experience Beauty and Hope is her great ambition.
“For me it’s about creating unique collectibles, spaces and intuitive experiences while experimenting with a message”.
To deepen Sandra Keja Planken’s concept of art, I asked her a few questions. I hope they can invite experts to learn more about her unconventional creations.
How do you feel when you immerse yourself in your artworks? And which are your favourite materials to use?
While creating I think of layers of colors and forms that turn out to be: objects or spaces and landscapes. I combine, experiment and arrange in layers those elements until something new comes out of something old. I prefer working with sustainable and recycled materials because of their direct feel and connection to my imaginary living landscapes. Normally you don’t use all these materials in tufting techniques so it’s always an everlasting experiment for me. Trying to use or re-use materials that are normally inviting to touch.
What is your main technical and human purpose with your art?
To create collectible bespoke items that are not seen before and tell the story about approaching things in sustainable and different ways. Teach them, show them and let them ‘experience’ what they did not think before.
A video on ‘The Human Nature Collection’, 2022. A biophilic conception of space out of leftover wool, wood and vegan yarns.
How do you see Design in the future?
I will keep telling my and your story, or better that of humans and human nature. The next objects will be created out of remnant glass combined with recycled car windows. We humans have used all earthly materials but never stopped to think they will once run out or ruin our own future. The vessels that will come out will be “Ode al Mar”, an ode to the sea.
This new exhibit will open in October in my own gallery space in abandoned empty building of the Dutch railways. And it will take new steps in 2024 together with a Dutch and Caribbean Foundation to teach our children about the sustainable world, about textiles and glass, about our resources and our state of mind; how to cope with them and safe as much as possible. As far as the spatial design goes, I will be working closely with brands to give live to empty buildings in the Netherlands and abroad. Where we combine forces and give ‘new life’ and purpose to this left behind.