Symposion throne | Alfred van Elk industrial design
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About This Project

Symposion Gorinchem Throne


Multiple truths.

A seating object out of 288 planks and 32 wooden pins, designed by Alfred van Elk, comprising four thrones that face each other: ‘In my view there are multiple truths.’


Alfred van Elk: For art event Symposion Gorinchem, in relation to the central theme of “Utopia”, I designed an anti-utopian wooden sculpture, consisting of four wooden thrones that face each other. The design reflects my concept of an ideal society, and symbolises wisdom and truth. The object is made out of 288 wooden planks, which are held together by 32 wooden pins.

I am not an artist but a designer and product design is not art. So the result has become an object that can be used. A designed product always retains a function and that is not what art is about in the first place. And that is maybe also why I am not in favour of an utopia.

When I was asked to design something around the ideal society, I found it very interesting. Because what is an ideal society, and what isn’t? That leads you to consider your own truth and other people’s truths, which is very topical. In my view there are multiple truths and multiple beliefs. I don’t like dogmatism and don’t have a specific notion as to how things should be designed. I am not someone who works according to a manifesto: I much rather approach things in a flexible way. Freedom is the best thing there is! And that is what this object is about. It symbolises my personal opinion and that is the core essence of it. Actually it is an anti-utopia.

When it was inaugurated I ended up talking to (then) Queen Beatrix. Of course she is the one with experience when it comes to thrones! That my design contains four of them really appealed to her as it offers the possibility for multiple points of view. Even Queen Beatrix felt that the one sitting on the throne doesn’t hold the truth!’


Symposion Gorinchem


Alfred van Elk
industrial design


Leo Krol




Alfred van Elk
industrial design


Camphusianum Gymnasium
The Netherlands

Alfred van Elk