Designers Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel who make up Studio Job were invited to come up with a special version of the Land Rover Defender to celebrate it's 65th Birthday. The result is not just a pimped up version of the car, but a look at what the car means to many. To quote Studio Job 'A Popemobile for an African chief, personalised in a bizarre way'. It looks kind of crazy, but i like a bit of crazy!
'For a designer, one of the most prestigious commissions is the design of a car. Preferably for a famous brand or for an iconic car. Designing a car means you’re successful! There are several examples of this, but I will only mention the Ford by Marc Newson and the recent Renault by Rose Lovegrove. Almost always these become ‘concept cars’. A styling exercise at the highest level. The cars look like they have come from Mars, have various futuristic and practical gadgets and high-end ingenuities which the design team of the respective car brand can truly admire… at least, that seems the purpose. Sometimes beautiful, often magnificent, but often filled with promise!'
'When Nynke and I spoke with Land Rover about the icon of Land Rover, the Defender, which now officially reaches pensionable age, everything that’s described above was exactly what we didn’t want. It should not become a stylistic exercise, no beautification, no gadgets, nothing futuristic.
We wanted a JOB Land Rover that’s here and now. A sculpture of today!'
'It all got totally out of hand! The moment that black lady entered our workshop, inspiration started to flow out of our ears. One idea after another. This Land Rover had to cross the world of Studio Job, dig up her own past and also take with her the most exotic and conflicting elements of the African continent on her freaky journey.'
'This Land Rover became a rolling cabinet of curiosities. The mysterious car that Doctor Snuggles always wanted to have. It’s the Queen’s car, but also the throne of a chieftain, and at the same time a mechanical rhinoceros, a freak show. An autonomous caricature for the leading part in a video by a leading pop star…'
'People, this Defender has become everything it could have become. Like a cubistic art piece with various perspectives. It is chaotic and bizarre as life itself. It certainly isn’t a stylistic exercise from the design bible, but definitely a rudimentary work of art, conjured from the high hat – also the controversial palette – of Studio Job. An anti-hero that anticipates itself. A diary and a mirror.'
Job Smeets, Antwerp, April 2013
‘Designing a car is the same as when, as a designer, you’re sometimes given the chance to redefine a hotel: it’s a higher goal. You don’t get such important commissions every day,’ says Job Smeets, who, together with Nynke Tynagel, forms the duo behind Studio Job. ‘On top of that, Defender is an emotionally charged icon. On the one hand it’s the car that is used in Africa as an ambulance, taxi or agriculture machine; on the other hand it’s also the Chelsea Tractor that pampered ladies use to drop their children off at the hockey club. It’s used as a fire truck and it’s the queen of England’s favourite automobile. So, it’s a very diverse vehicle. We’ve approached that golden carriage in our own way, maybe not so much from the angle of this one car but rather from the phenomenon of the holy cow in general.’
‘As you would expect from someone who knows nothing about making a car, our approach got completely out of hand,’ says Job Smeets. ‘The numerous elements kept accumulating. The car literally sticks its tongue out. It wants to be something that it actually isn’t. It’s become a great concoction, monumental and cynical. But isn’t that also true for power and class structures? Those are surely also inventions. A fictive status symbol that other people supposedly look up to. It’s also a nudge at designers who are asked to design a concept car and who then invent a stylish-looking apparatus that is launched with all the necessary bells and whistles. So we also take aim at the car industry: I can already imagine the chief sitting in this modern carriage, with the chauffeur in the front and his various wives and children in the back. A Popemobile for an African chief, personalised in a bizarre way.’
Now complete, the piece is on display at the PAN Amsterdam gallery until 1 December.
Images courtesy of Studio Job
See more at the Dedicated website www.landroverbystudiojob.com
Zero40 (white coated Defender)
photo R. Rezvani (black Defender during ‘making of’ in March 2013)
video D. Hakkens
fashion Viktor & Rolf