The poetics of the Dutch studio to which a techno-poetic museum will be dedicated, opening in 2025

From the small to the large scale, all the way to the sky dotted with thousands of drones as a way of reimagining historic architectures and monuments, Drift is the international studio based in Amsterdam that has contributed to setting the highest standard of contemporary multidisciplinary design, substantiating it with technology and a distinctively scientific approach.

Famous worldwide for the drone dances with which they captivated the Burning Man festival, and for ‘completing’ the Sagrada Familia with an army of suspended lights and rebuilding the Colosseum, Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, founders of Drift in 2007, are also the authors of Materialism, a research project that ‘dismantles’ the material and visual complexity of objects to represent them in juxtaposed blocks of matter and color.

An operation that recalls Malevich’s or Mondrian’s approach to abstract art and reveals the essential nature of the visible world that humans have constructed through overlapping levels of matter and artifice.

“Ever since the Renaissance, scientists have probed the world systematically, using reason and observation to unravel the mystery of nature, to understand its materiality and to question humanity’s relationship to it all,” explain Gordijn and Nauta.

“That process, which began centuries ago, has produced immense knowledge, but also the awareness that the heritage of studies is just a drop in the ocean of what is knowable. At the same time, humanity has introduced millions of new artificial species to the world through industrialization and trade, objects designed for our needs and pleasure, which contain a myriad of materials bonded, fused or assembled together.

On the one hand, we believe that we have mastered this complexity through the use of things, on the other, we do not know their intimate nature, indeed we often perceive a profound disconnect from this materiality, precisely because we are unable to grasp its nature, while we don’t understand the workings of artificial objects.”

Materialism, which has recently involved in this process of de-design a richly evocative work such as the All Animals armchair by Studio Campana, is moved by a conscious sensibility guided in an ecological key. Among much else, it is a way of investigating how much of the material of which an object is made is systematically extracted from the earth.

We have a passion for exploring the new materials that shape the world, as they have a significant and profound impact on society. When dismantling objects, you can reduce them to their principal materials. This makes it possible to trace the path from nature to industry, to grasp their actual value and the societal impact of human production.

For example, if you take a precious watch apart, you find steel and gold, materials extracted directly from the bowels of the planet, while if you dismantle a cheaper one, even though you may initially think that it has no value, you will discover that the plastic used was created specifically for that model. This means that the artificial material, if it has been manufactured, can paradoxically have more weight and significance than a precious material. This perspective can give you a completely different outlook on life.” Paolo Casicci