STUDIO JOB’S BANANA LAMP, 2015. POLISHED BRONZE, ETCHED MOUTH BLOWN GLASS, HAND PAINTED, LED, 11.8 X 11.8 X 8″. COURTESY SAMUEL VANHOEGAERDEN GALLERY.
From a vacuum cleaner modeled to resemble a knight chess piece to a a series of lamps shaped like peeled bananas, the Belgian-Dutch design duo Studio Job has a knack for wit and originality, despite getting mixed reviews early on. “They used to say it was bad art and bad design. Maybe they were right,” says Job Smeets, who met his partner, Nynke Tynagel, at design school in the Netherlands. But since founding their studio in 2000, they have amassed a following of international fans who couldn’t care less about traditional tastes. In the past decade, their designs have been exhibited hundreds of times, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This month, Studio Job’s first U.S. solo show will open at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, accompanied by a catalog published by Rizzoli, surveying their work since 2010. “I believe U.S. audiences often understand our work better,” says Tynagel. “I suppose because they understand that the ‘kitsch’ or ‘bling’ factor is just the surface; there is less of a taboo around materialism.”