Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag, the artists who stand behind the Bless label, operate in an intermediate space between art, design and fashion. Seeking new creative and practical solutions for everyday life, they pay attention to daily routines that come to a standstill, concern themselves with which useful things are waiting for an aesthetic reformulation as well as how the familiar can be improved for the better. For Bless, a bed is not only a place to sleep but also a desk; a fur wig warms the head and additionally enables the wearer to alter his or her personality. While many of their objects and pieces of clothing appear unsettling at first glance, they always remain useful and serve to acknowledge how one wants to live. Heiss and Kaag equipped numerous objects with a two-fold function, for example BLESS N° 66 Architecture Souvenir Baggage I and II, which are pieces of luggage and furniture at the same time.
Two seemingly irreconcilable things are playfully reconciled as a symbiosis, namely as conveyances for travelers leading a mobile life and as furniture representing the site of sedentary domesticity. The flexible human being of the type demanded by a global capitalism that was already described in the late 20th century by the English sociologist Richard Sennett is confronted with the individual need for emotional security, safety and dependability. Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag visualize this contradiction and offer a counterdraft to the extent that the object fulfills the functions required by both travel and dwelling. They liberate luggage from its life concealed in the shadows of a storeroom. It becomes the visible component of a miniature piece of furniture whose construction and materiality derives from the architecture of Haus Lange. This object can be relocated and carried away at any time. It is a souvenir recalling this house’s architecture, even when it taken to other very different places.
Like many protagonists of the New Building movement, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who erected Haus Lange in the late 1920s, understood architecture and design to be a unit. He realized individual aesthetic solutions for a bourgeois lifestyle. His goal was the “art of architecture,” not public housing. Desiree Heiss und Ines Kaag, by contrast, decided on a “flexible specialization” (R. Sennett) with the focus of their label Bless being placed on the everyday, the individual. They keep their distance from the vicissitudes of fashion and especially the usurpation by branches and established production methods. Instead of wanting to dominate society with mass production or iconic products, they adapt the objects they produce based on creative craftsmanship as well as their own company’s concept in order to meet the needs of a permanently changing mobile society. A different utopia in particular is reflected here: the idea of an individual, self-determined life.
Bless is the name of a label founded in 1997 by Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag. Desiree Heiss (
*1971 Freiburg, Germany) studied at the Vienna Art Academy and Ines Kaag (
*1970 Fürth, Germany) at the Art Academy in Hannover. Their company headquarters are located in Berlin and Paris. They distribute their products themselves and cooperate with other labels. A Bless shop opened in Berlin in 2003. Their works are regularly presented in exhibitions, for example at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Berlin Biennale and the Istanbul Design Biennale). In 2018, they had a residency in the Richard Neutra House in Los Angeles.