Joost Swarte — more than just a pencil pusher

Joost Swarte may arguably be Holland’s most important modern cartoonist — he’s certainly the best known outside of the Netherlands — but that’s just one of his talents. He’s an artist working in the tradition of say a Rietveld as much as a Marten Toonder; multidisciplinary, but with a signature visual style that’s noticable in all his art. The following three videos showcase this neatly.

First up, a short impression of 6 sculptures Swarte created for the Palace of Justice in Arnhem in 2004. You may want to turn down the sound to avoid the annoying background music.

Second, (social) building society Ymere had asked Swarte, working together with the architect Sytze Visser, to design four showcase rental appartments to “pep up” the Willemsstraat in Amsterdam, in the Jordaan area. This was done as part of a social regeneration project, to stimulate some interest in a neighbourhood that had been somewhat neglected in recent years. These appartments were opened in February of last year, with Swarte and his family having lived there for month as a trial of his own design. Video is in Dutch obviously, made by Ymere to promote the project (and not doing very well considering the less than fifty views it has had so far..)

Finally, there’s the multifunctional children’s chair, as explained and demonstrated by Swarte himself: