About the cappa

The designer: Emmy van Leersum

The design of the TU/e cappa was assigned to Emmy van Leersum of Amersfoort. During the past ten years she has produced a remarkable series of jewelry and clothing, based on her own philosophy and style.

Emmy van Leersum was born in 1930, and educated at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In 1968 she was awarded the Jabloned Prize gold and silver medal in Czechoslovakia.

What makes this artist's work special is her idea that jewelry and clothing have one characteristic in common: they must serve as an addition to the human body. On the one hand, this means that they must adjust to size and shape, i.e. they must react to size and shape of the body parts on which they are worn. On the other hand, as additions, they also demand their own, significant form.

In her work, Emmy van Leersum has placed special emphasis on the latter aspect. She achieves this by taking a simple geometrical form - a cylinder for a bracelet, a circular disk for a collar - as a starting point for the design of each piece of jewelry or clothing. Through a simple adjustment, like a rotation, a carving or a fold in the material used, this simple form is brought into relation with, and will react to, the organic form of the part of the body concerned.

Design of the THE cappa

As a starting point for the design of the cappa for the Technische Hogeschool Eindhoven, Emmy van Leersum took two identical, rectangular sheets of grey satin, measuring approximately 22 x 124 cm.

By making short incisions at approximately 15 cm to the right and to the left of the middle, she could, in a simple way, fold both sheets to let them form a shoulder cape when laid diagonally over the shoulders. Both sheets are fastened to one another in this position using Velcro.

By making this design, the artist proved the possibility to let a geometrically determined system adjust to an intricate organic form by way of simple interventions.

Not only did this design by Emmy van Leersum fulfil the assignment she was given. Its shape also gives expression to the intention of the Technische Hogeschool Eindhoven to form students into engineers who are aware of the friction between what may be conceived deliberately and what has grown organically.