Final Rehearsal (ESPRIT DE CORPS)
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About Final Rehearsal (ESPRIT DE CORPS)
“Do we still have time for a final rehearsal? Can we pass on our planet with propriety to the generations to come?
When you have guests, you hope that they treat your hospitality and your home with certain values and principles. If we see our planet as a hostess or host, can you say that you are a good temporary guest?
It is up to the current guests, us, to leave the house in good conscience for guests to come. For future generations, we must keep the rudder straight to preserve a habitable and livable planet. But where do we go, which direction to take?
We all have to do it, together and collaboratively, even if we have different perspectives, sometimes back to back, consultatively, and put your shoulders to the wheel. Beyond the span of your own life – we are a mere spec of time – Beyond our self-evidently satisfied pleasures and needs, according to constructed standards, dogmas and values.”
The art installation ‘Final Rehearsal’ is inspired by the late nineteenth-century so-called ‘lice benches’ in The Hague, which can still be found on the Lange Voorhout, right in front of the former Royal work palace Lange Voorhout. This version, a composition of the ‘do-it-yourself’ bench Panca by the renowned Italian designer Enzo Mari, is made of wind-sawn Douglas wood from Royal Estates De Horsten in Wassenaar.
The original mirrored cast iron street bench could once be found throughout The Hague, including on Lange Voorhout near the winter palace of Queen Regent Emma and the later work palace of Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana and even Beatrix. The double benches were called ‘lice benches’ because people sit with their backs to each other and the lice could easily jump over.
The bench that served as the basis, a design classic by the internationally renowned designer Enzo Mari (1932-2020), is the Panca from the Autoprogettazione series. The Panca is a do-it-yourself design from 1974, with which Mari emphasizes the craft, the process of making yourself and the design process. Open Source design to make yourself at home, with affordable wood that is available – creating awareness and added value by building your own furniture yourself. His questioning on designs, aversion of decoration and comfort, but focus on the making and design process, remain topical and urgent today.
With the additions that have been made, I have tried not to affect the integrity of Mari’s original design. The two Panca benches merge into a lice bench to which a wheelbarrow function and a framework supporting wooden text in my own handwriting has been added. This results in ‘Final Rehearsal’.
The Douglas wood for the art installation ‘Final Rehearsal’ comes from Royal Estates de Horsten in Wassenaar. The wood has been sustainably sawn and cut on the wind at the nationally listed wood sawmill De Salamander in Leidschendam by a team of volunteer millers and wood experts.
The art installation ‘Final Rehearsal (ESPRIT DE CORPS)’ is exhibited for the first time during the VOORLOPERS art exhibition, May 13th till August 5th, 2022, at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, the Netherlands.
Concept Final Rehearsal (ESPRIT DE CORPS): Birgit Verwer
Design bench: Panca by Enzo Mari, 1974
Local douglas wood: sustainably sawn and cut by wind at national monument wood sawmill De Salamander in Leidschendam, the Netherlands thanks to miller Rick Vermeulen.
The logs come from Royal Estates De Horsten in Wassenaar, the Netherlands.
Cut to size by: miller Rick Vermeulen and wood experts Martien van Vliet and Jan van der Ploeg
Technical & construction support: craftswoman Marjet Röling (the Hague)
Douglas wood finish: oil emulsified in water
The bench used as a base is a designclassic by Enzo Mari (1932-2020), the Panca bench from the Autoprogettazione (proposal for Self-Design) series. The Panca is a do-it-yourself design from 1974, with which Mari aims to re-evaluate the process of making and the design process itself. Open Source design which can feel more ‘valuable’ because you make and assemble it yourself. Mari questioned design, preferred functionality above comfort while holding an aversion to decoration and trends. Instead he focused on the manufacturing process and attention to the craft. His queries remain topical and urgent to this day.
The two Panca benches merge into a double-sided ‘lice bench’ to which a wheelbarrow function and a framework supporting wooden text in my own handwriting has been added. With the additions that have been made, I have tried not to affect the integrity of Mari’s original design. This results in ‘Final Rehearsal’, which is made from a batch of Douglas wood sourced from Royal Estates de Horsten in Wassenaar.
To follow the process of making the art installation Final Rehearsal (ESPRIT DE CORPS) please keep an eye on my instagram feed. In the upcoming weeks towards the installation and opening of the art exhibition I will be posting regularly updates on the project.