DRIFT

Art, design and technology merge in delicate visions of beauty.

Lonneke Gordijn (b. 1980, Alkmaar, Netherlands) and Ralph Nauta (b. 1978, Swindon, UK) met while studying at Design School Eindhoven and founded studio DRIFT in 2006. Their multi-disciplinary, Amsterdam-based team now has more than 60 members.

Achievements

At the 2019 Dezeen Awards the studio were awarded Designer of the Year and Lighting Design of the Year for their artwork Franchise Freedom.

Did you know?

DRIFT's primary source of inspiration are their natural surroundings and the calmness they foster. Every year, Gordijn harvests fresh dandelions to add to their ongoing project Fragile Future.

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Practice overview

For artist duo Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta - aka DRIFT - technology is a form of natural evolution, and nature is a technology itself. The installations, sculptures and performances that they create encompass this notion. Flylight (2015) for example, is an installation of glass tubes that mimics the behavior of starlings who protect themselves by closing in on their predators - meaning that it is near-impossible for a single bird to be attacked. To create the work, DRIFT developed software that used sensors to change the light and temperature of each individual tube in response to its audiences, as if they too were an intruder. Often collaborating with universities, scientists and programme developers, DRIFT initiate collaborative projects which expand crossovers between art, design, academia and engineering.

The duo think of art as a means to envision the future. Drifter (2017) - an enormous cube of concrete which floats in the air - was inspired by Utopia, a text written in the early 16th century by philosopher Thomas More. The book envisions a magical building material that is infinitely strong and water-resistant. In the 19th century, concrete was invented. It went on to become the central material of urban development. This capacity for the impossible to be realised motivates DRIFT. However, in a world where technology is systematically patented for the vested interests of governments and corporations, the duo are keen to stress that now, more than ever, it must continue to be developed creatively.

"We want to make people pause and find stillness - even if it's only for a few minutes."Drift