Challenging jewellery

Bless is a multidisciplinary creative duo: Designers Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag. In 1997, they asked their parents for the money to place an add in I-D. « We were so naive » they later commented. But artlessness sometimes pays off. They attracted 2 persons with their initial add: Sarah Andelman, just before Colette was created and the Martin Margiela team who commissioned the duo to create fur wigs for their next fashion show. From then on, it all took off rapidly, which enabled them to maintain a certain level of demand. This is when Heiss & Kaag decided they would do only what they decided to do, and create only what they would like. If it found a clientele, all the better, if not, well, too bad. They maintained this freedom for 22 years. Bless was always a multi-disciplinary studio. They would make clothes, sold in their Berlin and Paris boutiques, but also design furniture. They have created iconic objects like their fur hammock and their winter hammock, their giant neckless clothes hanger or their picture wallpaper. In 2017 they became partners with the Finnish Artek company to create a line called BLESS N°60 Lobby Conquerors, consisting of customised Tapiovaara iconic lobby seating. Their creations were shown in February in an exhibition in Paris curated by Nicolas Trembley, an important figure in the Paris arts world, in the LA & Paris based gallery Freedman Fitzpatrick.

Why create an exhibition in a gallery while you have a shop? Can you tell us about the genesis of the project and your meeting with Nicolas Trembley?
Nicolas is a long term friend - we have known him almost since the very beginning of BLESS and collaborated with him for the first time in 1999 for a group show about Paris based collectives that was called ZAC´99. He co-curated it with Stéphanie Moisdon for the Musée d´Art Moderne in Paris.
Nicolas approached us last year and told us he wanted to do a show with our furniture, in Paris. We felt kind of touched that he wanted to do something with us and liked the energy he put into this project. On our own, we wouldn't have shown these pieces we did with Artek, as they were created in 2017 and already been shown at the architecture biennial in Chicago and last summer in collaboration with VS furniture for our residency in the Richard Neutra house in Silver Lake, LA.  But it all came together very nicely, as the distribution of the space was just perfect for displaying the 3 wallpapers. We also like the programme of these galleries and the artists they represent and it’s really nice that they are located in Paris and LA, where the Neutra house, that is displayed through the wallscapes, is located. It all felt somehow just right..
What are your visual references? Can you give us examples of things that inspire you every day?
It´s these eternal questions about „inspiration“ ( mainly asked by the fashion press ) and „references“ ( mainly asked by the art press). We don´t work like this at all. In fact, in an almost childlike way, we are free of inspiration and references. Our work kind of grows steadily through personal needs, experiences and the needs of people that are around us and dear to us. Most of the products emerge quite spontaneously through a conversation between the two of us, when we talk of personal things that interest us, of problems and desires. Then we get excited and agree that we should try this or that. It’s more a sort of troubleshooting program or some kind of Sherlock Holmes investigation to fill gaps where we see them and solve needs we discover at least temporarily. As we grow older and evolve with time, our needs change. We never draw. We always build some sort of poor prototype straight away which we hope will inspire us to create the mature product in the end. 
Referring to the domestic objects you can see in the show, here a few examples:
BLESS N°29 Wallscapes are a series of 3x4m wallpapers that show private interiors, where BLESS items „live". We developed them in 2005 for our first single show at the Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam, because we didn't want to „expose“ our items in a museum-like context and therefore created hybrid corners where the museum architecture blended with these views of private interiors.
The N°59 Staircase Carpet was a collaboration with German based rug manufacturer, Reuber Henning. They asked us to design a rug and we developed this motive in black and white, based on a beautiful 1930s staircase that we found in Berlin. If you see the carpet slightly from above it creates an illusion of somehow sucking you in.
The N°28 Fur Hammock resulted from a trip to south America and the desire to own a hammock that disconnects its physical appearance from all connotations of the southern hemisphere and would be more suitable for a northern, urban context.
The N°65  ArtificialStone LampKnot is a lamp that is built of plastic rocks that can be plugged directly into the wall and looks as if there is a pile of stones next to the wall.