In 2014, architect Anne Holtrop begins tracing the ruins of the Barbar Temple in Bahrain, thought to honor Enki, Sumerian god of water and craft. The temple, first built in 3000 BCE and reconstructed several times since, sits in what was Dilmun, a sacred port, the original garden of Eden. Long before Adam made Eve, Enki met Ninhursag, Mother of the Rock, and together they created the world. Enki and Ninhursag conceived plains and trees, rivers and ponds. They loved and warred and eventually brought the innocent inhabitants of Dilmun into consciousness, teaching them the law of motion, that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The ‘Barbar Series’ for MANIERA takes cues from the formal language of the temple. Anne Holtrop uses its geometrical forms, arches and straight lines, to create objects that pay tribute to the monument. The first part of the series – two travertine tables, a table lamp and floor lamp in cast glass and a sand-cast brass door handle – was launched in 2018. Four years later, four lamps made out of sand-cast aluminium are added to the family. Anne Holtrop’s body of work is motivated by making, a research process which he calls ‘material gesture’ and fundamentally involves experimenting with materials and methods of production. The ‘making of’ his architecture is equally if not more important than the final form – be it simple concrete casting, hand-cutting stone or casting reliefs. “An architectural gesture is not only an action undertaken for the purpose of a result, it’s an experience, it’s craftsmanship, it’s intuition, it’s conscious, it’s nonsense… It’s about how you relate to material and how you transform it” Holtrop says.
The new Aluminium Lamps are fully made out of aluminium, sand-cast by the Kemner Foundry in the Netherlands. Aluminium is first melted into moulds with sand. The exterior surface of each element is carefully polished. The inside of the lamps has a unique imprint from the relief of the sand. The aluminium elements are hollow. To stay in balance, the feet of the lamps are weighted by adding lead.