Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Bauhaus Archiv Berlin: Wassily Kandinsky – Lehrer am Bauhaus

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Amid all the hype surrounding “Bauhaus Style”, “Bauhaus Classic” and “Bauhaus Design” it is often forgotten that Bauhaus was a college.

And whereas many, if not most, people can name half-a-dozen or so Bauhaus graduates; hundreads of students passed through Bauhaus.

And it wasn’t all just partying and theatre. They did also learn.

But what did they learn? How did they learn? And what can we learn from how and what they learnt?

In an attempt to answers such questions the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin is currently presenting an exhibition devoted to the longest serving member of the Bauhaus teaching staff: Wassily Kandinsky.

Bauhaus Archiv Berlin Wassily Kandinsky Lehrer am Bauhaus

Wassily Kandinsky - Lehrer am Bauhaus at Bauhaus Archiv Berlin

Born in Moscow on December 4th 1866 Wassily Kandinsky initially studied law, economics and statistics in Moscow before moving to Munich in 1896 where he attended painting classes under tuition from Anton Ažbe. In 1901 Kandinsky co-established the progressive artist collective, and private painting school, Phalanx; an institution which closed in 1904, upon which Kandinsky undertook a series of study tours to and of Holland, France, Tunisia, Italy and Switzerland. Returning to Moscow in 1914 Wassily Kandinsky held various teaching and administrative positions at culture and art institutions, most notably the State Commissariat for Education (Narkompros) and the Institute of Artistic Culture (INChUK), before Walter Gropius invited him to join Bauhaus in 1922. Following the closing of Bauhaus in 1933 Wassily Kandinsky emigrated to Paris where he died on December 13 1944 aged 78.

Presenting a mix of works by Kandinsky, Kandinsky’s students and his Bauhaus teaching colleagues, works supported and extended by Kandinsky publications and original documents and teaching materials, “Wassily Kandinsky – Lehrer am Bauhaus” not only shows how Kandinsky ran his various courses in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin and what he expected of his students, but also helps explain how Kandinsky himself developed as an artist over his Bauhaus years.

As one would expect from an exhibition exploring Wassily Kandinsky and his teaching at Bauhaus there are an awful lot of geometric shapes in primary colours to be found on the walls. Created by his students in the context of Kandinsky’s “abstract elements of form” course, the colours and patterns present both part of Kandinsky’s own research into form and colour and also illustrate how he sought to encourage his students to think for themselves.

How Kandinsky employed what he learnt from such research can be seen in several of the Kandinsky works on show. How the students employed what they learnt from such research in their subsequent careers, is sadly not documented. Would however be equally interesting.

A further focus of the exhibition is Kandinsky’s “analytical drawing” class, a central component of his teaching and a class which taught students to understand relationships between objects through a process of simplification of form. Again here a selection of works by Kandinsky students beautifully illustrates how they were encouraged to focus on the essential through a process of sequential reduction, and then build something new from there. An approach we can probably all occasionally benefit from following. In whatever we do.

In addition to the more abstract works and ideologies “Wassily Kandinsky – Lehrer am Bauhaus” also looks at the fine art class taught by Kandinsky and Paul Klee, including a truly remarkable 1932 work by Hajo Rose, and in a similar vein, the exhibition “ends” with one work each by László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee, Georg Muche and Lyonel Feininger. Works that the four presented to Kandinsky on his 60th birthday and which beautifully depict the creative talents of the Bauhaus teaching staff.

Bauhaus Archiv Berlin Wassily Kandinsky Lehrer am Bauhaus

Wassily Kandinsky's "Pictorial Atlas" which he used in the course of his teaching.....

Wassily Kandinsky is and was an important teacher at Bauhaus not only because of his length of service, but also because from 1922 until 1930 – so the most important Bauhaus years – Kandinsky’s Vorkurs was compulsory for all students. Which, and if we may simplify the world for just a couple of minutes, means that if you understand Kandinsky you understand Bauhaus.

Representing the most comprehensive exploration of Wassily Kandinsky’s teaching ever compiled, and coming some 30 years after the last exhibition on the subject, “Wassily Kandinsky – Lehrer am Bauhaus” is a timely and highly entertaining investigation of the subject but for all is a very accessible exhibition that uses simple, at times almost too simple, methods to present the key information and so allow the visitor to explore and understand the topics at hand.

Wassily Kandinsky – Lehrer am Bauhaus runs at the Bauhaus Archiv, Klingelhöferstrasse 14, 10785 Berlin until Monday September 8th 2014.

In addition to the exhibition itself, the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin have organised an accompanying programme of talks and tours. Full details can be found at

Fabriek van Niek – nachBAR for the Dutch Embassy in Berlin

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

With their high walls, locked gates, uncooperative guards and more video cameras than your average broadcasting company need to cover a simple football tournament in South America, embassies aren’t, generally speaking, the most welcoming of places.

A small piece of another culture they may be, but never a piece of another culture that appears particularly interested in interacting with the neighbours.

To demonstrate that alternatives are possible, that embassies can be a focal point in a neighbourhood, the Dutch Embassy in Berlin have commissioned Utrecht based Fabriek van Niek a.k.a. designer Niek Wagemans to build them an outdoor bar: an outdoor bar that not only gives the Embassy a location from where it can interact with the neighbourhood but which is constructed from materials found in the neighbourhood.

A neighbourhood bar in every sense of the word.

A neighBAR even. A nachBAR

niek wagemans nachbar berlin

Niek Wagemans and team at work

We first came across Niek Wagemans’ work at last year’s “King Size: Art & Design Fit for a King” exhibition at the Ampelhaus in Oranienbaum where, in addition to objects from his Confused Furniture collection, Niek also created the so-called WunderBAR café/bar in the gallery’s courtyard – all constructed from salvaged materials. Similarly his nachBAR for the Dutch Embassy is built from materials and objects considered by others as waste and thus rejected and discarded.

For Niek Wagemans such projects aren’t about recycling or up-cycling per se. Or better put, not only. “I could just go the scrapyard, buy all I need and then complete the project”, so Niek, “but for me it is important that the materials come from the community because then you not only get an understanding for the local community but can hopefully also reflect something of the character of the community in the work and so make it a project for the community.”

A process that begins by scouting the neighbourhood on foot.

As he sets out to look for possible materials Niek has, by his own admission, no idea how the bar will look, far less from what it will be constructed, “Initially I just collect everything that appears useful”, explains Niek, “if you think too much too early about what you might, potentially, build you become distracted.”

If having five days to build an object he can’t visualise from materials he doesn’t have places Niek under any form of pressure he certainly doesn’t show it as he strolls easily through Berlin Mitte, eyes darting left and right, always on the look out for possible sources. Or possible tips from locals. The interaction with the local community, the chance to explain the project and invite all to participate, to be involved, being just as important for Niek as the locality of the materials. “I’m not a social worker” says Niek, smiling wryly, obviously amused at such a thought, “but such a project is also about bringing people together. The community provide the materials, the Dutch Embassy the drinks. Everybody benefits!” Even two officers of the law join in the spirit of things and prove that Berlin’s Polizei really are your friend and helper – at least if you are a Dutch designer looking for unwanted, superfluous, building materials.

niek wagemans nachbar berlin

Niek engaging the locals.....

In addition to building an object based in the local vicinity a further aim of such projects for Niek is showing what can be found in a community, what is available, hidden behind closed doors, in cellars, in backyards. Urban foraging is often reserved for discussions about what foodstuffs one can find growing wild, but what about building materials? Local swap/borrow/trade platforms generally involve machines, tools, cars and other hardware. But what about building materials?

When we have a small building or handwork project to complete we all invariably drive to the building centre and buy lengths of wood or strips of metal.

Viewing the collection of objects and materials that Niek collected around the Dutch Embassy it is clear that if you need a bit of wood/metal/glass to help you complete a project there is an excellent chance that your neighbour might just have what you are looking for. And that they will give it to you. If you just ask.

Niek is building a bar. You might just want to patch up an old bookcase or build a cold frame for your herbs.

The principle is the same.

niek wagemans nachbar berlin

Fabriek van Niek - nachBAR for the Dutch Embassy in Berlin. Work in progress!

Because designers and journalists calenders rarely co-align, we’ve seen the nearly finished nachBAR. But not the completely finished nachBAR. As you read this it will be finished. We however are on our travels. We’re back in Berlin in a couple of days and once we’ve seen the finished work we will bring you our final verdict.

What we’ve seen so far however impresses. And we can’t imagine our position will change dramatically.

And in any case a project such as nachBAR is more about how the project was realised than what was realised.

And in realising nachBAR Niek Wagemans has not only demonstrated the abundance of resources that one can find locally, but has underscored how lackadaisical we are with resources. Or at least we in the west.

We don’t need to keep buying new things, we can repair, remake, reconfigure, renew. And that more often than not from what our neighbours consider waste.

Should you find yourself in Berlin this coming week not only can nachBAR be viewed – and, when it is open, a  beer or coffee enjoyed – in the space between the Dutch Embassy and the River Spree, but on Wednesday afternoon Niek Wagemans and Berlin based designer Jan Körbes are organising a workshop in which chairs will be created from old tyres.

All are welcome to participate. Or simply enjoy a drink and watch.

And of course socialise with the Dutch Embassy and their neighbours.

The Dutch Embassy in Berlin can be found at Klosterstraße 50, 10179 Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi – Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Should the 2014 football World Cup final see Italy meet Brazil that would, arguably, be a more than fitting celebration of the 100th anniversary of Italo-Brazilian architect, artist, designer and author Lina Bo Bardi.

However, because football’s fickle fate cannot be relied upon the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin are currently staging the exhibition “Lina Bo Bardi – Together”, an equally fitting tribute to Lina Bo Bardi and her work.

Born in Rome on December 5th 1914 Achillina Bo graduated from Rome School of Architecture in 1939 before moving to Milan in 1940 where in addition to working as an architect she also undertook numerous journalistic commissions; commissions that in 1943 led to her appointment as deputy director of the Italian architecture and design magazine Domus. In 1946 Lina Bo married the Italian modernist architect Pietro Maria Bardi and in the same year the pair moved to Brazil, settling in São Paulo from where Lina Bo Bardi added stage design, curating and lecturing to her architecture and journalism work. Architecture remained however her principle focus and among the architectural highlights of Lina Bo Bardi’s career in Brazil are the Museum of Art of São Paulo, the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia in Salvador, the SESC Pompéia culture & leisure centre in São Paulo and the so-called Casa de Vidro – The Glass House – the home she designed and built for herself and her husband. And where Lina Bo Bardi died on March 20th 1992 aged 77.

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

Essentially three exhibitions in one “Together” explores the influence of indigenous Brazilian craft and art on Lina Bo Bardi’s work, the influence of Lina Bo Bardi’s work on the people of Brazil, or at least São Paulo, and also reflects on the private Lina Bo Bardi.

“For Lina Bo Bardi architecture was like the theatre”, explains exhibition curator Noemi Blager, “Just as a play begins once the actors take the stage, so to does a building require people to make it come alive. To give it a purpose.”

And just as Lina Bo Bardi’s buildings can be understood as theatre so to is there something unmistakably theatrical in the exhibition design by London based agency Assemble. And we don’t just mean the heavy felt curtains that surround the space. A multi-media presentation conceived with the intention of re-creating the experience of visiting one of Lina Bo Bardi’s works the exhibition is intense without over-powering and features films, photographs, cast concrete vitrines full of Brazilian folk art and all watched over by a silent guard of Exu deities. From the ceiling untold hands point towards that which you can’t possibly have missed. There is also a constant background soundtrack of urban commotion which at one point sounds as if it could have been written by the band Coldplay. It wasn’t, but the moment you consider if it could be is the moment you understand the theatre that underscores Chris Martin’s approach to his work. Just as an aside.

The most present feature of the exhibition is a series of films by Helsinki born film-maker Tapio Snellman which introduce Lina Bo Bardi’s work through the experiences of the people who use her buildings. Projected onto screens suspended in the exhibition space the films show visitors and users bringing the SESC Pompéia to life – the actors as it were in the improvised social play that architecture makes possible - as well as more general street scenes from the daily reality in São Paulo. The private, off-stage, world of Lina Bo Bardi meanwhile is presented in a further Tapio Snellman film and photos from inside the Glass House. A presentation that reminds one of the imagery and visual registers popularly associated with portraits and films of the Eames House in Los Angeles. And for us creates the impression that the curators are trying to position Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi as the South American Charles and Ray Eames.

A comparison that is not completely without its justification given the role Brazilian folk art played in Lina Bo Bardi’s life and work; an influence reflected in the exhibition by both a collection of ceremonial objects, hand-crafted toys and folk art assembled by the Dutch artist Madelon Vriesendorp and objects created by Brazilian children in a workshop ran by Madelon Vriesendorp at the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia in Salvador.

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

No one would argue that Lina Bo Bardi is or was the most important architect of her generation, she is however one who deserves a lot more recognition that she currently gets and one whose work deserves to be better understood.

How much you will actually learn about Lina Bo Bardi through visiting Lina Bo Bardi – Together is however questionable. Or better put, relative to how much time you bring with you.

As with all architecture exhibitions the curators have been faced with the option of a text heavy show or something that relies principally on visual images. Going for visual images as they have makes the show more inviting, less daunting, but much more difficult for the visitor to fully contextualize and understand what they are seeing. The information panels that are there are very good. Yet succinct. And seldom. But not as seldom as images of the exteriors of Lina Bo Bardi’s buildings and/or of the buildings in their location and context. Of which there are none – save one photo of the Glass House. Consequently it is very hard for the uninitiated visitor to fully grasp what Lina Bo Bardi achieved. Outwith the main exhibition space a collection of monographs are available that offer the full Lina Bo Bardi story; in the main space however the visitor is largely left to decipher the meaning of the constant information stream for themselves. Something that is difficult without either a lot of prior knowledge on Lina Bo Bardi and her oeuvre – or continually returning to the literature. For us an ever so slightly more detailed exhibition programme would allow all visitors the chance to better understand what is on display. And so the contribution Lina Bo Bardi made to 20th century architecture.

If you bring the time and interest with you Lina Bo Bardi – Together is an excellent introduction to Lina Bo Bardi’s life and work: for the casual visitor the sound, colour and movement allow one to briefly immerse oneself in an environment you may not fully understand. But will enjoy. And will be glad you visited.

Much like an evening at the theatre.

Lina Bo Bardi – Together runs at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ, Köpenicker Straße 48/49, 10179 Berlin until Sunday August 17th.

Full details can be found at

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ Berlin

Lina Bo Bardi - Together at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, DAZ Berlin

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: zTuA by Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner, Hochschule Rosenheim

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

We can’t rule out that our interest in the project zTuA by Hochschule Rosenheim students Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner is a direct consequence of the current situation in the (smow) blog HQ. That our professional opinions are being influenced by personal circumstances.

We hope they aren’t.

But can’t rule it out.

zTuA is an acronym of “zwischen Tür und Angel” – “between door and hinge” – a nice German idiom that refers either to a necessary urgency, to being in the process of leaving, moving on, hurrying. Or alternatively to finding oneself between two equally unpleasant choices.

A genuinely awful name for a genuinely innovative and fascinating project.

In small flats space is always at premium, especially hallway space. Yet even the most compact and bijou of hallways is expected to play host to shoes, coats, dog leads, and ideally a small table for keys, letters, umbrellas, the like.

And so most of us fill our hallway with such.

zTuA offers an alternative.

zTuA transforms a door into storage space.

Resembling in profile a triangular slice of cake, zTuA hangs like a normal door in a normal door frame; however, is angled diagonally inwards on the hall side. The result is a door frame sized void in front of the door on the hall side.

If that makes sense……

And for this space Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner have created a small shoe rack-cum-storage table and a hanging rail which in their form compliment the angle of the incline and the volume of the available space

And thus one can use the door to store shoes, coats, dog leads, keys, letters, umbrellas, the like.

On the rear side of the door, so in the room, you do have “bulge.” An fairly unsightly bulge.

However, on the one hand, we believe with a bit of reconfiguration one could negate the necessity for the bulge. And even if that doesn’t prove possible, at the moment the bulge is unused, yet has possible functions. Needn’t remain unsightly.

As a concept zTuA is clearly not applicable to all situations, by default the amount of storage space available in the door frame is limited, and so, for example, a family of four would struggle to store all their coats, shoes and dog leads. However, demographic and social changes mean that, as we all know, there are and will continue to be ever increasing numbers of single person households, and for most singles, or couples of reserved lifestyles, zTuA would seem to offer a wonderful alternative to unsightly hallways.

All in all a most fascinating, thought provoking and downright exciting project, and one we genuinely hope Marko, Martin and Fabian develop further.

And rename.

As Johnny Cash would no doubt put it, “Bill or George! Anything but zTuA!”

DMY Berlin 2014 zTuA by Marko Steininger Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner Hochschule Rosenheim

DMY Berlin 2014: zTuA by Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner, Hochschule Rosenheim

DMY Berlin 2014 zTuA by Marko Steininger Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner Hochschule Rosenheim

DMY Berlin 2014: zTuA by Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner, Hochschule Rosenheim

DMY Berlin 2014 zTuA by Marko Steininger Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner Hochschule Rosenheim

DMY Berlin 2014: zTuA by Marko Steininger, Martin Winkler and Fabian Steiner, Hochschule Rosenheim

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Algaemy – Crafting our Future Food by Blond & Bieber

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

As our more loyal readers will be aware, for us the future is analogue.

As ever more aspects of our daily routine are taken over by digital technology, the more time we have to concentrate on the things that matter.

And they are all analogue.


Parallel, open design and open processes will become more important as we all lose the need to be part of a stylised mass and finally comprehend that contemporary industrial production and distribution networks are no longer ecologically or socially justifiable.

On the surface the project Algaemy- Crafting our Future Food by Berlin based design studio Blond & Bieber has little to do with our future utopia.

However, while currently presented as textile printing, the heart of the project is the cultivation, harvesting and utilisation of microalgae as a dye.

One the one hand, a dye is a dye and can be used for purposes other than textile printing. And, and assuming Blond & Bieber aka Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber want to share the secrets of their Algaemy, dye extraction from microalgae is a process that can be carried out locally, thus allowing global access to a relatively cheap, simple, reliable and for all sustainably renewable source of dyes.

We know, we know, other sources of dyes are available and have been successfully used and applied for thousands of years. Are however invariably either regionally or seasonally restricted in their availability. Algae offers alternatives. A post-industrial response to the limitations of traditional technologies. As it were.

And aside from all such considerations. We do very much like the textile designs Blond & Bieber produce.

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Clair Obscur by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

What you see used to be what you got.

However our modern world offers a plethora of viewing possibilities, and so now what you get is influenced by how you see what you see.

To this plethora Berlin based collective Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg have now added one further option.

Without going into too much detail, through a manipulation of LCD projection technology the Clair Obscur project generates an image which is invisible to the human eye. Only the use of a special filter renders the image visible.

And as if by magic an apparition appears before your eyes.

The trio’s presentation at DMY Berlin has caused more than a little amazement, disbelief, when not downright irritation, amongst the festival visitors and indeed watching the reaction of the public has been almost as much fun as the project itself.

The most obvious uses of the Clair Obscur technology are potentially in the advertising and exhibition design branches, but we’re sure creatives in other fields will develop meaningful and interesting uses.

We’ll see.

Or not.

As it were.

Because Clair Obscur is one of those projects that is difficult to fully explain in photos, especially in the somewhat constrained atmosphere of an exhibition, we have added Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg’s video to our our photos. It explains it all much better…..

DMY Berlin 2014 Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014: Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg. The image is projected onto the back wall of the cabinet. Is only visible through the filter.

DMY Berlin 2014 Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014: Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014 Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014: Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014 Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

DMY Berlin 2014: Clair Obscure by Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: All of a Piece by Earnest Studio and Dana Cannam

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Those of you who followed our sadly demised Posterous account – Why Twitter? Why? – will recall our joy at seeing the Bravais Desk by Canadian born, Rotterdam based designer Dana Cannam at the “Thoughts of Home” showcase during Dutch Design Week 2011.

A wonderfully charismatic product Bravais impressed/impresses with its obvious functionality and effortlessly reduced form. Equally as effortlessly reduced is the modular tableware system “All of a Piece” developed by Dana Cannam in cooperation Rachel Griffin aka Earnest Studio

We first saw “All of a Piece” during Berlin Design Week 2013 where it was included in the In-House Objects showcase at Baerck, and were instantly taken not only with is wonderful practicality but also its aesthetic charm.

This year it can be enjoyed in the central exhibition at the DMY Berlin festival.

Comprising four elements crafted in marble, granite and wood, All of a Piece allows the user to create their own tableware to suit the immediate requirements; be that a chopping board, serving plate, presentation plate, crisp server, table decoration or simply as a trivet.

And if that wasn’t enough LED strips can be added between the elements to create subtle background lighting.

For us the genius of All of a Piece is that it negates the need to have cupboards full of crockery, the majority of which will only be very, very rarely used.

And anything that allows us to consume less, has to be good.

DMY Berlin 2014 All of a Piece by Earnest Studio and Dana Cannam

DMY Berlin 2014: All of a Piece by Earnest Studio and Dana Cannam

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

When in our DMY Berlin 2014 Award preview post we asked “When is a wardrobe not a wardrobe?”, the question was a little inaccurate.

Technically the correct question should have been, when is a laptop case not a laptop case?

The answer however remains the same: When it’s a collapsible linen wardrobe by Academie van Beeldende Kunsten Den Haag graduate Renate Nederpel.

DMY Berlin Award 2014 Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014: Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

While developing a laptop case project Renate Nederpel decided to see what happened when she scaled up the dimensions “a little.”

The result was and is the flat pack wardrobe system Pop-Up Linen, an object which, in effect, if subconsciously, takes the numerous “crossed stick” wardrobe systems currently on the market and gives them a playful yet stable and durable outer shell.

The real charm with the system however is that not only is it delivered in a space saving flat packed form but if need be it can be refolded, for example when moving. Or for storage if temporarily not required.

Pop-up-Pop-down-Pop-up Linen being as such a more accurate, if less practical, name.

Featuring a tool-less construction principle and a nice mix of natural materials, Pop-Up Linen is not only a very nicely thought through and realised object but a product for which we can see good commercial potential.

At DMY Berlin 2014 Renate Nederpel is presenting two versions of the object: a larger, stitched model as a wardrobe which represents the “original” version and a newer, smaller, glued model intended for use as a wall mounted storage/office unit. The switch from stitched to glued having been made to simplify the production process and so make commercial production more realistic. Renate Nederpel is still working on the details of the glued system, but we’re sure she’ll get there.

We’ll certainly keep you updated.

DMY Berlin 2014 Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014: Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014 Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014: Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014 Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

DMY Berlin 2014: Cabinet Pop-Up Linen by Studio Renate Nederpel

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Designpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2014 Exhibition

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

We recently attended a very interesting talk from Munich based designer Stefan Diez at the Vitra Design Museum in which, amongst other subjects, he briefly queried why design journalists are happy to write about furniture and accessories, but no one writes about, for example, safety helmets…….

Ranger by Joe Engelhard and Michael Schuler for German manufacturer ENHA is, according to the designers, the first ever safety helmet to incorporate a double wall construction principle; thus increasing protection for the wearer. The so-called Crash Box sits atop the helmet and upon impact sets a mechanical process in motion which absorbs the majority of the shock and so, hopefully, limits the damage to the wearer.

Ranger is DIN EN 397 certified.

And one of the objects that can currently be viewed as part of the Designpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – The German Design Award – exhibition running parallel to DMY Berlin.

As previously noted, following the transfer of the organisation of the German Design Award from the German Design Council to DMY Berlin a decision was made that all submitted projects would be presented in an exhibition at the DMY festival. The aim being to allow as broad a public as possible the chance to view the submitted projects.

“Submitted” doesn’t mean “nominated”, that decision is the responsibility of the Award Jury, a body who duly met at the start of the week and have now announced the nominees.

The joy of the German Design Award exhibition is that the nominated projects and the non-nominated projects are presented inter-mixed, thus allowing visitors the chance to compare, contrast and wonder at how the jury could ignore this, that or the other project.

Such as Ranger. Which wasn’t nominated.

The winners of the German Design Award 2014 will be announced in the autumn, and so for now a few impressions from the exhibition in Berlin.

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Fachhochschule Potsdam – formHOLZ

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

At DMY Berlin 2014 fifteen students from the Fachhochschule Potsdam are presenting the results of the seminar “formHOLZ”

Run under the supervision of Professor Hermann Weizenegger formHOLZ explored new possibilities with moulded, formed and otherwise shaped wood and the exhibition at DMY Berlin presents a series of prototypes which demonstrate new possibilities with one of the oldest, and most researched, materials/processes in industrial product design.

And ably demonstrates that regardless how exhausted you may have thought the pool of uses for a material was. Further uses can always be found. All it takes is the necessary mindset. And hard work.

The medial highlight will no doubt prove to be Tobias Jänicke’s woven veneer shoes, a genuinely fascinating project; however, further highlights for us were and are Chester, a stitched plywood stool from by Oya-Meryem Yanik and Anastasiya Koshcheeva that plays wonderfully with our perceptions of value and comfort in the context of moulded plywood furniture; Phellem, a cork bicycle saddle by Janis Specks; and Duwen by Lena Ammann, a storage unit that is as much about the door joint as it is about the unit itself.

But for us the real highlight is the exhibition concept, a concept that presents the research and material studies that led to the finished objects.

If we are ever to escape the current situation where everything is design – even the majority of “design” that isn’t – designers need to reclaim the term “design”.

Designers can only do that when (a) they stop associating themselves with projects that are obviously just about generating profit for a global brand and (b) they start explaining what they actually do. Explain what the “design” in “design” is.

Showing the development of a project explains that design isn’t a five minute lark largely concerned with finding a fitting form and appropriate colours, but a process. And hard work.

A few impressions: