Nina van Bart’s Tactile Totems for Future Situations constitute an expanding library of materials which inspires architects, designers, crafters and industries to innovatively approach the materials they apply while designing the spaces we inhabit, work in and move through. The Totems introduce finishing techniques and surface treatments which increase the sensory experience of a space. They show how a well-thought-out use of textures and colours, of shadows and (sun) light influence our relationship to what surrounds us and how the attention to tactility enhances the identity of an architectural context.

The totems are a tool, broadening conversations with interior designers and architects with concrete proposals and experiences. They show what is possible and achievable and at the same time make these suggestions visible and tangible, in immediate relation to the context for which they are intended. The Totems are always composed of a dome and a cone, a cylinder and a beam – the four archetypes of architecture – which also provide a complete overview and take account of the differences in possibilities determined by these shapes.

With the cooperation of traditional and contemporary crafters and partners from the industry, Nina van Bart processes and treats the surfaces both manually and mechanically. She puts them through various finishing and processing techniques and applies lacquers, varnishes and reliefs. She treats them with gouges and scratches, engraves and manipulates them. An experimental research process by which Nina van Bart mainly responds to our natural need for physical and emotional involvement with the things that surround us.

A first Tactile Totem for Future Situations: Wood was presented during the Dutch Design week in Eindhoven (2018), in collaboration with Dutch Invertuals.
In the future Nina van Bart will create totems in other materials that are commonly used in architecture. Including ceramics, concrete and steel.

Tactile Totems for Future Situations is part of the comprehensive material research project Zooming in, Zooming Out.

“How can materials enhance the visual and haptic experiences of spaces and environments? How can spaces meet our natural desire for physical involvement? With Tactile Totems for Future Situations, Nina makes the possibilities tangible and visible.”


Illustration of Tactile Totems for Future Situations

Material experiments in wood
Tactile totems for Future Situations at the Dutch Invertuals ‘Fundamentals’ exhibition during Dutch Design Week 2017