Workwear at Nieuwe Instituut - New Exhibition: Design by Cookies

Workwear at Nieuwe Instituut - New Exhibition:  Design by Cookies

Cookies creates a unique design for Workwear, the latest exhibition at Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (NL).

The exhibition design is motivated by an understanding of workwear as a protective frontier between the body and architecture. By repurposing material commonly seen in construction sites, Cookies have chosen to emphasise the public settings where workwear and manual labour are most visible. A custom mannequin inspired by both constructivism and the isotypes of Gerd Arntz, uses a modular system that can be adapted to fit many specialised garments.

Bearing traces of their own construction, the plywood panels that the mannequin components were cut from are repurposed throughout the gallery to maximise efficient use of materials. With sustainable reuse and potential for future reassembly in mind, each element makes use of locally rented construction fence blocks as a basic unit, assembled with a nod to the iconic easels of Lina Bo Bardi at MASP.

Dozens of unique outfits

Originally designed to be purely functional, workwear evolved to protect and support the wearer while performing heavy-duty tasks. While still bearing a direct lineage to manual labour, the lasting influence of workwear has given it an unavoidable presence on the street and the catwalk even in postindustrial contexts. The exhibition–curated by Eldina Begic–features dozens of unique outfits and artefacts covering over a century of fashion history, revealing both the technical possibilities and radical political potential of utilitarian clothing.

The exhibition design has been developed in an active dialogue with the curator, Nieuwe Instituut and their construction team. In order to further activate some of our own ideas around Workwear, Cookies are also working on developing an event at Nieuwe Instituut as part of the Thursday Night Live programme which explores the fetishisation of workwear and its utopian potential as seen through the eyes of the LGBTQ+ community.

Design Team

Design Team: Cookies (Federico Martelli, Alice Grégoire, Clément Périssé) with Colin Keays & Edward Zammit
Curator: Eldina Begic
Graphic Design: Isabelle Vaverka
Produced by Nieuwe Instituut

26 maart 2023 / 10 september 2023


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