Dutch designer Rick Tegelaar is fascinated by materials, especially the ones he describes as ‘undervalued’. His award-winning Meshmatics Chandelier for Moooi takes its form from the simple beauty of chicken wire mesh, developed in a process he designed in his Arnhem studio in The Netherlands.
Working with simple and often undervalued materials such as wire mesh and waste wood, Rick Tegelaar re-examines materials looking for new applications and forms, always looking for a new aesthetic and a quality that draws away from the familiar. His fresh eyes uncover the beauty in the everyday.
Graduating in product-design in the Netherlands, his focus turned to questioning how he could add value to the design profession, He decided to work with materials and techniques in a technique-driven approach in his studio. Previous engineering studies have helped to define his process and underpin his ability to develops the machines and tools he uses to discover new ways of working with materials and discovering new aesthetics.
For the Meshmatics Chandelier, Rick developed a machine and a set of tools that enable him to form chicken wire very precisely. The process involves forming the mesh into cylinders which are then secured over a mould. By pulling on one side, the material simultaneously stretches and suctions itself to the mould and ‘sets’. ”It’s a bit like taking a sock off your foot,” remarks Tegelaar. “If you pull at one end, the sock grabs your foot.” The method gives Tegelaar strict control over the shape.
Through the process of stretching, tension is trapped in the material, reinforcing it. The result is a strong, lightweight structure. Illuminated by its LED lights and appearing to float in space with a soft, diffused glow, the mesh reflects and distributes radiated light over the chandelier’s three-tiers. It is both beautifully ephemeral and strong, and completely transforms simple wire mesh into something precious.