Back in the day all ten projects nominated for the DMY Award were presented in a post-festival exhibition in the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin. An exhibition that for us always made perfect sense, mixing as it did experimental, conceptual works by contemporary designers with the conceptual, experimental spirit of Bauhaus.
That however was then. And the cooperation sadly ended a couple of years ago.
If we’re honest we find it a real shame that that is no longer the case, not least for the designers. For we know from conversations with numerous past nominees just how much of an honour they found it to have their work shown in such a space.
Time however moves on, and one must accept the changes it brings. Regardless how painful.
And so this year DMY Berlin are presenting the DMY Award Winners Exhibition in their own DMY Design Gallery.
Presenting all ten nominated projects in the limited space of the DMY Design Gallery in Berlin Kreuzberg was never going to be an option; even presenting the four winners in the gallery’s confined space would have been something of a curatorial challenge. Not least on account of the number of projects/objects involved in the Lund University School of Industrial Design and the Flowers for Slovakia. Lost & Found by Vitra presentations. A selection therefore needed to be made, and consequently for the 2014 DMY Award exhibition the DMY Design Gallery are presenting the Czech manufacturer TON, winners of the exhibitor category, and Clair Obscur by Berlin based Fischer Weidenmüller Unterberg, winner of the new talent category.
Raised in 1994 from the ashes of the former Thonet production facility in Bystřice the name TON is the abbreviation of “Továrna na ohýbaný nábytek” – Bentwood furniture factory – a name which for us describes the foundation on which the company is based, but not those projects on which the company’s future is being built. For us the unequivocal highlights of the TON collection are the formed, moulded plywood chairs such as the ever exquisite Merano family by Vienna based Alexander Gufler, a chair concept we first saw as a student project at IMM Cologne 2010 and which still impresses us. And which forms the focal point of the TON presentation in the DMY Design Gallery. Maybe the company should change their name to TTPN – Továrna na tvarované překližky nábytku.
Or possibly not.
Clair Obscur in contrast needs no re-naming.
Essentially involving a projected image that can only be seen through a special filter, Clair Obscur – Clear Obscure – was without question one of the public highlights of DMY Berlin 2014. Everyone who walked past the stand stopping, doubling-back and checking that they really had seen what they thought they had seen.
On our way to the exhibition vernissage we continually asked ourselves, what attracts us to the project? Why were we going to an exhibition presenting a project we last saw just four weeks ago? And to be honest couldn’t find a definite answer. Or perhaps better put, couldn’t hang our fascination with the project on one of our pegs.
It’s simply not the sort of project we normally like.
But like it we do, largely on account of the potential it allows. OK it may ultimately prove to be a potential exclusively for lifestyle and marketing purposes; but the ability to hide film, photos, information from a section of a group of people while making it freely available to “selected” individuals is not only a delightful metaphor for our modern society, but is something new, something different. And something for which one still needs to find a use. Or uses. And that’s exciting. And worth seeing.
We hope Lene Fischer, Constantin Unterberg and Jörn Weidenmüller get the chance to develop it further. We’ll certainly keep you updated.
The DMY Award exhibition runs at the DMY Design Gallery, Blücherstr. 23, 10961 Berlin until Friday August 22nd. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm, the Clair Obscur presentation can however also be enjoyed through the window should you visit in the evening or at the weekend.