Morph Collective is a multifaceted design studio raised on collaboration
Founded by a bunch of graduates from the Netherlands in 2018, the studio has since produced a multitude of technological installations for exhibitions – including Milan’s Salone del Mobile.
- Ayla Angelos
- 19 February 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Founded by a group of recent graduates from major design schools in the Netherlands, Morph fits the definition of a collective in its purest of forms. As an independent and international group of emerging artists and designers, the multifaceted team works together in order create built environments, immersive installations and themes for exhibitions – the studio has a wide ranging roster of practitioners working across graphic design, 3D animation, video, theatre, sound, fashion performance, sculpture and objects to “create total sceneries”, says Anaïs Borie, ones of its members.
“The diversity of profiles makes this collective a laboratory for experimentations that tackles contemporary design challenges,” she continues to tell It’s Nice That on the topic of what it is that they do at Morph, “achieved by following the common belief of the need to break down the boundaries within creative practices.” But most of all, Morph is a “design attitude”.
Having launched during the Dutch design week of 2018, the team has since gone on to exhibit various pieces and experiences at events such as Salone del Mobile and K11 Art Foundation in Hong Kong. At the beginning, Morph had been working in Eindhoven, adhering to a “diverse theme” and mediums, specifically looking to cross-pollenate across different creative fields. “We were a bit frustrated that there weren’t any exhibitions that mix the various mediums used by the design discipline,” explains Anna Aagaard Jensen, another one of Morph's members. “At some point, we decided that it was a good moment to create our own exhibition formats to show our work in the way we would like it to be shown.”
This multifarious approach is achieved through the collective’s variety of interests and influences. With each member dabbling in a different medium, it gives them even more of a reason to work together – “you get to work with new people whose work inspires new directions,” says Anna. “You get to discover things you didn’t know.” A common thread is that each member pulls their influences from sources that are outside of the field of design, which in turn creates an abundance of raw of an unrestricted creativity.
An example of how the team has come together to provide an immersive experience can be seen in their latest project for Fëy art festival, that took place in the Fëy Castle in Burgundy – a short distance outside of Paris. Titled We Could not Find the Door, Morph approached the project a if it were an opera, whereby its “spectators” can walk through and experience it as if it were a “procession”. Anna adds: “There were two symmetrical rooms with a big hallway which we used as a physical interpretation of three acts.” By mixing forms like tapestry, furniture, sculpture, virtual reality, sound composition and smell, this enabled the project to evolve. “We wanted to transform the room sofa and the castle into a sort of baroque and surrealist atmosphere, inhabited by ambiguous forms that whisper in our ears the story of a disappearance.”
Alongside a unique blend of components, Morph also called upon some help – the collective invited a select bunch of artists to participate, including Xenia Lucy Laffely whose textiles would “really suit the castle context”. Additionally, Romain Kloeckner worked on the scent, while Theodore Dumas wrote on the textural piece, “in between a script and a poem”, whereas Recsoverto created the visuals and Somatic produced the sound landscape. “We wanted to create an environment that destabilises the senses, disrupts perception and enables the viewer becomes the main character.”
Furthermore, the studio looks towards technology as something in itself – questioning it and twisting our perceptions of what is achievable. “The digital aspect is an undeniable part of it,” says further member Audrey Large. An example of where technology has been infused can be found in Audrey Large's 3D drawn and printed objects, as well as Josse Vessies and Clémentine Schmidt's work with virtual reality and body research performances. “Some other projects refer to technology with speculative narratives, such as Anaïs Borie with her cyborg objects or Pleun Van Dijk’s video works,” Audrey explains. “Some do both.” But, in all cases, it really depends on the technology available – “where is the limit to it? Where does it start?”
One direction is that Morph plans to expand into new territory. Launching soon, it will “open the doors” of a Morph Care Centre – a place for healing, offering relief from daily struggles. “A place, at the crossroads of a digital temple and an alternative therapeutic hamam that allows the visitor to take a break and live a transcendental adventure,” concludes member Clémentine Schmidt. “MCC will be an immersive space where objects, videos, bodies and sounds are merging together into a participatory exhibition.”