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Ontwerpduo Mines The Past For Its Beautiful Novecento Housewares Collection

Out with the old and in with the new is a rallying cry of modernism, but for the Dutch design studio Ontwerpduo, the past proved to be fertile ground for inspiration. For the Novecento collection of furniture and housewares, cofounders Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink traveled back a hundred years.

“The stereotypical idea is: in the past things were well-made but dull and unattractive,” Beunders says in a statement. She and Wierink traveled to the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, the Netherlands–(think of it as the Dutch version of Colonial Williamsburg–and were impressed with the traditional way of crafting goods and the forms that resulted.

“You really travel back in time there, with little houses just as they used to be, complete with the furniture and products they would have had then,” Wierink says.

Ontwerpduo took note of the designs’ utility, efficiency, and straightforwardness and documented their shapes and silhouettes. Then, they applied those concepts to the Novecento line but used modern finishes and colors. For example, a concrete candle holder that collects dripping wax, a bell jar that doubles as a vase, and a pendant lamp with a glass shade inspired by oil lanterns.

Mining the past never looked so fresh.

Purchase the items at ontwerpduo.nl.

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