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Atelier Schaft

material narratives


Atelier Schaft is fascinated by the fact that every material has its own story. We are living in a material world, yet many material stories are untold. It is Atelier Schafts mission to extract these material narratives.


Contextualized material research is the core of my practice. Simply said: I create material narratives. My working method is analytic, experimental and research driven. With an almost obsessive urge to dive into the core of materials.


My research can expand the context of your product. In this research I include the historical context, material characteristics, cultural value and a future vision. These results create a variety of opportunities such as: a new product/appliance, inspirational movies or campaign material.




Atelier Schaft tells a new narrative about the infamous Giant Hogweed and transforms the invasive plant into a series of new material applications. The material options offer a replacement for various traditional materials; this way he changes the weeds into a potential new crop. The plant spreads quickly on unused sites, requires no maintenance, and is extremely light. Invasive plants like this form the material source of the future.


The Jos Brink Oeuvre Prize is awarded once every two years to a person, group or institution that has made a fundamental contribution to improve the position of the LGTBI community. The winner of the prize will receive a design object and €10.000.- The Ministry of Education chose the brooch design to function as the prize object during the Jos Brink award ceremony of 2019. With this commission I developed the design into a total experience that consist out of a short movie, process booklet, shiny presentation surface and a vivid brooch that can be planted after use.


Heracleum Mantagazzium is better known as the Giant hogweed or in Dutch the Reuzen berenklauw. The plant is introduced in Europe during the Victorian era due to its architectural quality. I want to re-introduce this species. I want to show the other side of this plant. By constructing a material narrative that displays the material properties in the context of cultivating the plant. The dynamics of the plant are translated into a campaign object, inspired by the Royal tulip vase, a metaphor for cultural acceptance. The object consists of three stackable parts, each representing a chapter of the material narrative. Stacked, these parts form a tower of four meters high that communicates the symbolical and functional value of the plant.


Lagrouw is a Dutch artist living and working in the Piedmont region of Italy. On his estate he uses everything the landscape has to offer. One day he discovered a fast-growing hard wooded tree covered with spines: the Robina Pseudo-Acacia. Lagrouw commissioned Atelier Schaft to research the historical, botanical and material opportunities.


What Where When

W: On Your Own, OYO
W: Haagse kunstkring, Den Haag
W: 23 until 27 October, 2019

W: Craft Council HOW & WOW
W: Dutch design week, VEEM building
W: 19 until 27 October, 2019

W: Work Hard Hardly Working, WHHW
W: Dutch design week, VEEM building
W: 19 until 27 October, 2019

W: Katinka Smit Art Gallery
W: Spigno Monferrato, Italy
W: 10 until 27 October, 2019

W: Solo exposition, kas 4
W: Technical botanical garden, Delft
W: 1 September until 15 October 2019

W: Graduation Show
W: Royal Academy of Art, The Hague
W: 5 until 11 July, 2019


Title, Publisher, When

T: ‘’Reuzenberenklauw, een nieuw technisch gewas?’’
P: Papyrus magazine
W: Najaar 2019

T: ‘’Expositie: De reuzenberenklauw in een ander licht’’
P: Technical University Delft
W: 07 October 2019

T: ‘’Kunstenaar Erik van Schaften schijnt positief licht op giftige berenklauw in Botanische Tuin’’
P: Algemeen Dagblad, AD
W: 29 September 2019

T: ‘’ Erik (25) ontwierp broche voor Jos Brink Oeuvreprijs: ‘Was zelf ook lang buitenbeentje’’
P: Algemeen Dagblad, AD
W: 18 May 2019