From Hops, Harvest and beer to Hopper
Design, Togetherness, Food & Drink, Lifestyle
 
 
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From Hops, Harvest and beer to Hopper
Design, Togetherness, Food & Drink, Lifestyle
 
Around 2008, designer Dirk Wynants bought a former hop farm in Poperinge and renovated it to live in. He also had a new hop field planted as an act of landscape preservation, a noteworthy achievement given that no one in the area had done this for decades. Eighty-year-olds had to be brought in to give advice, as they were the only people who still knew how it should be done. Dirk Wynants was totally immersed in hop culture when he designed his new picnic table. The two activities became interwoven and the table was given the name Hopper. He discovered that the inclined base structure of his table had the same angle as the slanted poles that supported the hop plants. When seen with the poles of the adapted canopy that he designed especially for Hopper, the similarity is even clearer.
At trade fairs, Hopper is presented against a backdrop of hop fields. The whole Extremis team walks around dressed up as farmers. The atmosphere of Breugelian harvest festivals and hop picking is humorously recreated. These merry theatricals, full of double meanings and exaggerated references, have become a key part of a recognisable communication style that is extremely popular. For Hopper’s launch, he had a ‘designer beer’ brewed from his own hop harvest. It was christened “Tremist”. The designer Nada El-Asmar came up with a small glass to serve it in.
In the typical Extremis promotional and campaign images we often learn something about the story behind the creation of a product and the things that inspired it. This helps to highlight a design’s uniqueness. Dirk Wynants himself often features in these images. He poses next to Hopper as an accordion player. Even more remarkable is that his children, parents, friends, neighbours, clients and personnel also appear in his brand’s promotional images. It is a kind of statement. He chooses real people rather than unrealistic models who are too aesthetically perfect. Just as he chooses useful, substantial products rather than overly perfect status symbols.