Carsten in der Elst lates exhibition"Sourcing Stone," showcases designer's philosophy of letting the material guide the making process.
For in der Elst, the essence of materials is a constant focus of his work, and he believes that the material should not be subservient to an idea, but rather, the idea should serve the material. His dedication to the documentation of the creative process and his constant questioning of whether his design decisions do justice to the nature of the material are essential parts of his practice.
In "Sourcing Stone," in der Elst reinterprets Greywacke sandstone, traditionally used for pavement stones, into a new series of twenty-two functional chairs and tables. The collection exemplifies his desire to influence our use of materials for the better and increase our awareness of the processes of mundane structures around us. With his new collection, in der Elst challenges our perception of what is beautiful and worthy by finding beauty in unexpected places.
Carsten in der Elst's interest in Greywacke sandstone stems from his desire to find beauty in unexpected places. Graywacke is commonly used for pavement stones and building materials in the NRW region of Germany. When producing stones for sidewalks, a slab of Graywacke is cut in a grid-like shape, and the crust-pieces with a natural exterior are discarded as industrial by-products. Enormous piles of these offcuts at Lindlar quarry became the sole subject for in der Elst's work. He used the crust-pieces to create unique building blocks and the basis for his Greywacke furniture project.
The new body of twenty-two chairs and tables is in der Elst's most ambitious collection yet, larger and rawer than ever, and the material was handpicked from the quarry during the brutal winter months of 2023. The collection exemplifies the designer's desire to influence our use of materials for the better, to increase our awareness of the processes of mundane structures around us, and to consider where they come from, how they are made, and how they can be developed.
The Lindlar quarry region has a significant archaeological history as it is the region where the oldest forest in the world originates from, and ancient fossils around 390 million years old are encapsulated in the rock sediments. In der Elst seeks to create something compelling from something perceived to be uninteresting and challenges us to think about the rich history these raw materials possess, beyond their mundane applications as pavement stones and building materials.