Beatriz Colomina once said: “The enemy is in the street, in public spaces, in mass transit. The houses are presumably the safe space.” The problem is, the modernist aesthetic has become shorthand for good taste, rehashed by West Elm and minimalist life-style influencers; our homes and offices have been designed as so many blank, empty boxes. We’ve gone, Colomina said, “from hospital architecture to living in a place like a hospital,” and suddenly, in the pandemic, that template seems less useful.⠀
Although the current aesthetic has led us to often design sterile living environments, my bubble was filled with possible little explorations. The pandemic —and related joblessness— provided a great opportunity to spend more time in Berlin. Here, I could explore the contradictory relationship of my safety bubble, my girlfriend’s apartment, and the increasingly hostile, outside world.⠀
This exploration has provided a better understanding of ‘home’ and created a deepened relationship between me, the apartment and Berlin. Being able to explore space, from in and outside, without time constraints, builds a sense of ownership and belonging. We no longer are on the outside looking in but become part of the local environment. The strange turns familiar and becomes part of a newly formed identity tied to space.⠀
The Jean-Jacques Collective grew as a remembrance to past days when both brothers were leaders in the Chiro
(a Flemish movement that aims to support young people in their physical,
mental and spiritual development through play and being outdoors).
Even though Jannes, Simen and Helena were schooled in different fields,
a passion for eco-politics advocated through storytelling and photography, connected them.
They believe that to induce long-term change within any given society, which is stabilized by a committed government,
is to persuade that same government to change their policies. Top-down and bottom-up models in a necessary equilibrium.
Where both the people and whoever represents them find each other in a poised climate.
They advocate dignity through design and beauty, and capture time unfiltered and honest.
Moreover, Jean-Jacques Collective is a free space for creativity, we design, build, curate, photograph and write,
always trying to find common ground to work on. We strongly support the interchange of ideas between different fields.
It is on this cross-section that JJC really thrives. We are not one, we are a collection of many things.