Go take a look at Gitte Nygaard‘s website to get a sense of her sweeping design ideas. She really has an expansive approach towards art and design, even ornament. Her work with the concept of carbon as an element, caught our eye.
It’s rather thought provoking that minerals which all belong to the 6C carbon atom group, within the periodic table, end up in the hands of the most decadent and the most poor. I’m of course referring to carbon-containing minerals such as coal and diamonds. Wherever these minerals are mined, and or fabricated, it’s often at the cost of great ecological and humanitarian detriment.
Sometimes, it takes another man’s song to get you on track, She is a diamond that wants to stay coal. What’s more pure than working with a mineral in its most unadulterated form?
The core of the collection Been there-done what, is the material Binchotan. Binchotan is also called, white charcoal, and is basically carbonized Oakwood. The wood is gathered from forests within Japan and Korea. The stems and branches are harvested without harming the tree’s root structure, so that they may continue their life cycles. Unlike commonly known black charcoal, the burning method for Binchotan consists of capturing the carbon in the wood without allowing it to escape as CO2. The oak pieces are naturally activated during a controlled burning process based on a traditional Japanese method.
Binchotan contains 90% pure carbon, which is a basic and essential element for our existence, as all life depends upon the carbon cycle of the planet. The primal human need to decorate itself can be fulfilled without further exploits. A diamond that wants to stay coal, suggested Tom Waits. Skip the Diamond, that is my proposition, stick to the Coal.
The elemental appeal of this work hits home with Nygaard’s touch. Though the bigger issues of history and context may be subtle, once we understand her intentions, they imbue the work with a richness that one cannot help but intuit.