Posts Tagged ‘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.

All.

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:

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Flowers for Slovakia. Lost & Found by Vitra

Friday, May 30th, 2014

One doesn’t have to understand why designers or design institutions do the things they do.

You don’t always have to be able to follow the logic.

Sometimes all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Such an occasion, at least for us, is the project Lost & Found by Vitra from the Bratislava based design platform Flowers for Slovakia.

Essentially the project asked 15 young Slovakian designers to combine forlorn items of traditional Slovakian folk furniture with elements from the Vitra collection.

The result is the most wonderfully confusing, irritating, amusing and inspiring cacophony that opens up new perspectives on form-giving, composition and the importance of details in the design process.

We suspect the project works so well because the Vitra elements, removed as they are from the context of the objects they normally contribute to, appear at first even more lost and forlorn than the folk furniture. Backrests from office chairs, table frames, chair legs et al, are not on their own perceived as the most attractive, far less interesting, of objects. Yet viewed in context of the new products they make perfect sense, have a new purpose. A new function which although far removed from the intended, they appear perfectly suited for.

Something which delightfully highlights just how closely related traditional handicraft with its carefully considered forms and construction really is to modern industrial design with its carefully considered forms and….

And that when both are realised competently they can be effortlessly combined.

For ultimately what is important in product design is the care and attention to the detail with which the individual components of an object are formed. Get that right and your product will be right.

The final visual form being only one element of what makes an object valuable and useful.

A position which of course reminds us of the take home message from the exhibition Wilhelm Wagenfeld: Die Form ist nur Teil des Ganzen at the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus Bremen.

And delightfully underscores the difference between lifestyle objects marketed by charlatans as design and genuine design products.

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: Godis by Nestor Campos

Friday, May 30th, 2014

As older readers will be aware one of our all-time favourite products is the table family Tints by Jason Miller.

Although officially inspired by aviator sunglasses what initially attracted us to Tints, and still holds our famously fluctuant attention, is their unmissable reference to candy.

They look like big boiled sweets suspended in a maple frame.

Our fascination with the Tint tables isn’t however the reason for writing about the lamp Godis by Lund University student Nestor Campos. Even if there are several parallels.

Not least the bonbons.

Whereas the candy in the Tint tables only exists in our somewhat imprecise understanding of the world, candies are and were the inspiration for Godis: principally the Swedish tradition of Lördagsgodis  – “Saturday candies” – which decrees that children can only have sweets on a Saturday.

Crafted from Swedish oak and glass from Småland Godis shimmers like a sweetie, its subtle mix of materials, colour and light refracting properties drawing you towards it with all the promise of a succulent, yet strangely sour, apple flavoured treat. The real joy of Godis however is the unobtrusive LED. You see the luminescence. Not the source. Hidden as it is within the wooden base.
As such one can genuinely describe Godis as being as much a room sculpture as a lamp.

On that note Nestor Campos also advocates that you can turn Godis upside down and place keys, loose change and the like on the wooden surface. We wouldn’t. We’d enjoy for the delightful light sculpture it is.

Godis by Nestor Campos

DMY Berlin 2014: Godis by Nestor Campos

Godis by Nestor Campos

DMY Berlin 2014: Godis by Nestor Campos

(smow) blog compact DMY Berlin Special: CUCULA – Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

“I want to create models for a different society, for a way of producing and living differently”, announces Enzo Mari in one of several quotes presented in the exhibition “Who is Mari? at KPM Berlin World.

A wonderful example of what can be achieved can currently be explored at DMY Berlin in context of the Berlin based organisation CUCULA.

DMY Berlin CUCULA Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin 2014: CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

Established in 2013 CUCULA is, as the organisation’s full name implies, a craft and design company run by refugees.

Or at least all going to plan it will be.

At the moment CUCULA is a training institute in which a group of West African refugees are learning about craft and design through the production of products from Enzo Mari’s 1974 “Autoprogettazione” DIY furniture project.

CUCULA traces its roots back to the International Youth Art- and Culture Center “Schlesische27″ in Berlin-Kreuzberg where five young refugees from Mali and Niger began creating objects to make their emergency accommodation more comfortable. The product designer Sebastian Däschle introduced them to “Autoprogettazione”, and the first results generated such a positive echo that a decision was made to use the furniture to form a company aimed at providing long term self-sufficiency, stability and security for refugees.

A decision made all the easier by Enzo Mari agreeing to give CUCULA a licence to produce the objects commercially. Part of the group subsequently met Mari in Milan this past April when the project was presented at Ventura Lambrate. Enzo Mari is, by all accounts, and as you would imagine, very supportive of the project.

At the moment the organisation is concentrating on establishing itself and its future plans are open. And in many respects dependent on how the various visa “issues” can be resolved, for at the moment the refugees cannot work, far less self furniture.

Berlin, as with most larger conurbations in Europe, currently has numerous “issues” involving refugees, issues that generate problems which all too often are used as the justification for doing nothing. CUCULA is one of those projects that neatly sidesteps the issues to do something positive. Something towards helping create a different, better, society.

It is to be hoped the authorities recognise that and allow CUCULA to develop unhindered.

We’re certainly looking forward to following the projects development.

DMY Berlin CUCULA Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin 2014: CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin CUCULA Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin 2014: CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin CUCULA Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

DMY Berlin 2014: CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design