events Design Week 2017 territory

04.04.2017 - 09.04.2017

FROM BELOW - Philipp Weber

Art+Design

5vie event

physical event

In collaboration with Spazio Nobile Gallery - Brussels. In the beginning there was coal, which Anton Zielinski mined in 1912 in Marl, Germany. One hundred years later his great-grandson Philipp Weber visited the mine in which he worked. What Philipp encountered was not merely his historical roots in the northern Ruhrarea, he understood the fossil material known as bituminous coal to be an inspiration; a message to dive deeper into the matter of this subject. Heavy industry extracts coke from bituminous coal during a complex and technical procedure. Together with iron ore, coke is then reprocessed to iron sinter. Iron sinter in turn serves as the basis to produce iron. This again represents the raw material for steel production.

In previous creative endeavours manufacturing processes have often inspired Philipp’s work. In this case his inspiration came from the production of coke, which is performed behind industrial curtains on a large scale.

When coal is processed into coke in so-called ‘coking plants’, it is operated at temperatures of over 1000 degrees celsius and under exclusion of oxygen. Philipp’s research revealed that during this procedure the coal does not burn, but loses its volatile contents. What remains, is almost pure carbon.

In ‘From Below’ Philipp wanted to investigate this process intellectually and implement his encounters in an aesthetically crafted manner. During initial drafts he started with a plan for his own miniature coking plant. An oven which works with a ceramic kiln was the basis. In the center and in the core of the oven Philipp installed a distillation container. It contains the coal, protects it from oxygen and thus keeps it from burning. Two mouth-blown glass flasks collect tar and other liquids that emerge during the distillation process. A large copper tank filled with water serves as the cooling element. Gases, that do not liquify, are channeled out through copper pipes and are burned upon emission.

‘From Below’ interlinks personal history and production processes. From the perspective of the coal, Philipp respectfully seeks to understand a fragment of the earth’s heritage. From the perspective of mankind he hopes to call human competence into question and the serious consequences it has on the fate of our planet.


Philipp Weber – Biography:

Philipp Weber (*1987) graduated in 2012 from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands with his B.A. In 2013 his project A Strange Symphony, an allegory between glass and music, won the New Talent Award of the Berlin Design Festival DMY and in 2015 the Bavarian State Prize for Young Designers. His work has been acquired by the mudac in Switzerland as well as by the Museum of Glass in Shanghai. Weber is in search

of emotional qualities within production processes. Questions like: What is the meaning of the human relation to a material and its processing?’ guide his approach. Weber believes that in an increasingly digitalized world the comprehension and appreciation for ‘the making’ is getting lost. By expressing arcane values in manufacture he poses new prospects on production processes and craftsmanship. Recently he graduated with his M.A. from the University of the Arts in Berlin in which he worked on his latest project From Below.


www.philippweber.org