I walked into the studio of Men at Work in the Via Tortona at the Salone del Mobile 2010 Milan in the Zona Tortona and my jaw dropped. Not because of the complexity of the design, but because of the pure simplicity, details, and use of raw materials. Titto de Ruiter and Dennis Slootweg are Men at Work: two self-producing furniture designers from The Hague. Their works enhance each other by the attention paid to materials (particularly metal and wood), their traditional methods (the making of prototypes in atelier and adjoining workshop, the meticulous implementation and skillful production), their aversion to trends, and their passion for industrial quotations and detailing. The craftsmanship was superior and the material was raw to perfection.
Dennis Slootweg’s stunning pieces are practical, functional, and one of a kind. The furniture displays like an impressive statue with all the right details. His awareness of materials, craftsmanship and experimentation result in a language of forms that is both subdued and monumental, and in pieces of furniture with a clear and recognizable signature.
In Dennis Slootweg’s collections, he searches for the metals that are rusted to perfection and brings them a new life. In his own words: “I like to play with expectations. Completely new products, like my Rust Cupboards made of old metal, thus still invoke a feeling of recognition – almost immediately followed by the sense that there is more at stake.”