cubic and square



In 1965 the Centre for Cubic Constructions was founded in the south of The Netherlands by two designers Jan Slothouber and William Graatsma. They had been active already since 1955 working for Dutch state firms such as the mail service and the Dutch mines of the time. All aspects of their design were based on the cube, and their work is a perplexing mix of utopian thinking and very Dutch squareness. Extremely rigorous, and sometimes light and playful at the same time.



Their designs are more eloquent than they ever were; their writings are sparse, repetitive and very dry indeed. They saw themselves as engineers and designers, not as visual artists, even though they were often showing their work in art contexts. Their texts tend to be about purely formal topics; one of the most conceptual fragments of text I found is above (my english is certainly not sufficient to convey the intensity of its dryness):

“To justify Cubic design is a question of argumentation.
In this, emotional arguments often impede mutual understanding.
Rational thinking is better determinable and easier to judge.
A rational approach of emotional problems stimulates this cubic communication.

Cubic design starts from definite canonic phenomena.
Because of this the indeterminate number of possibillities is being reduced and made transparent.
This principle of limitation makes it possible to explore the marked terrain intensively.
The choice of standard solutions leads to an economically justified cubic system.”