The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
Or, and much more sensibly, take himself off and visit one of the new design exhibitions opening during March. And so not only keep himself warm but also informed, entertained and inspired.
Our selection from the new, robin friendly, openings in March features an homage to East German concrete architecture in Stuttgart, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in Tulsa, Henry van de Velde in Zürich, Ray Eames in Pasadena, and Konstantin Grcic’s vision of the future in Weil am Rhein.
“Ray Eames: In the Spotlight” at the Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA
In our 2013 post celebrating Ray Eames’ 100th birthday we encouraged “you all to investigate the works and talents of a remarkable artist and designer.”
The Williamson Gallery in Pasadena are now offering that chance.
Curated by Eames’ granddaughter Carla Hartman “Ray Eames: In the Spotlight” promises to display letters, sketches, films, furniture, photographs et al that present an honest and deep glimpse of Ray Eames, and so introduce and illuminate the life and work of a woman who far too often and far too unfairly is presented as merely having provided the aesthetic accent to Charles Eames technical genius. Particularly exciting for us is the promise of sketches and drawings from the years before she met Charles, objects that could/should help explain how the New York abstractionist Ray Kaiser became the Californian modernist Ray Eames.
Ray Eames: In the Spotlight opens at the Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, California, USA on Tuesday February 25th and runs until Sunday May 4th
"Ray Eames: In the Spotlight" at the Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA
“Henry van de Velde – Interieurs” at Museum Bellerive, Zürich, Switzerland
One of the problems with all round talents such as Henry van de Velde is presenting exhibitions of their work. There is simply too much of it. And it is too varied.
As a consequence reducing down to explore one aspect, and so deciding to ignore all inevitable complaints about a lack of context, is the only realistic solution.
The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s Museum Bellerive dépendance have taken this sensible step and are hosting an exhibition devoted to Henry van de Velde’s interior designs. Presenting furniture, cutlery, crockery and textiles, complemented by photographs and planning sketches, “Henry van de Velde – Interieurs” promises to present not only an insight into van de Velde’s approach to his work but also explain how he helped move our understanding of interiors from the dark, heavy days of the late 19th century and onto the lighter, reduced style of the early 20th century.
Henry van de Velde – Interieurs opens at Museum Bellerive, Höschgasse 3, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland on Friday February 28th and runs until Sunday June 1st
A Henry van de Velde interior, here as seen at "Leidenschaft, Funktion und Schönheit", Klassik Stiftung Weimar
“Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec – Album” at the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
When the Vitra Design Museum Gallery opened the Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec exhibition Album it felt somehow, well, odd. An exhibition of drawings, sketches, shapes, colours. By designers.
Since then the foresightedness of the project has become apparent and ever more texts, books and exhibitions are devoting themselves to the analogue creative process and for all the role of drawing and sketching in design.
Presenting over 300 sketches by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec complimented by photographs and models Album provides not only a delightful insight into the brother’s creative process, but much more underscores the importance of having a firm understanding of what you want to do, what the aim of your project is, before you begin to form your design, your product. And that for such a process computers aren’t always the best solution.
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec – Album opens at the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA on Sunday March 2nd and runs until Sunday May 11th
"Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec - Album", here at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery, Weil am Rhein
“Ulrich Müther – In Beton Gegossen” at the Architekturgalerie am Weißenhof, Stuttgart, Germany
Walk from north to south along the beach at Binz on the German Baltic Sea island of Rügen and you will eventually come across something that will make you stop. And stare. And possibly panic.
Created in 1981 by the East German civic engineer Ulrich Müther the Binz U.F.O. is, in actual fact, a lifeguard station constructed from a thin concrete shell.
And one of the most gloriously beguiling examples of Ulrich Müther’s craft.
Introduced to the “International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures” while a student in Dresden Ulrich Müther was to go onto become one of the leading protagonists of the use of thin concrete shells in architectural structures.
A career development no doubt helped by his nationality. On the one hand his thin, almost weightless structures provided a welcome aesthetic contrast to the solid architecture of the DDR, thus allowing for a bit of variety in the cityscapes: but they also used less resources. Something which could only appeal to the notoriously stretched DDR regime.
In addition to the Binz U.F.O. further Ulrich Müther highlights include the so-called Teepott restaurant in Warnemünde, the Café Seerose, Potsdam and the Zeiss Planetarium in Berlin.
Quite aside from the historical importance and aesthetic elegance of many of the projects, the construction principles explored and developed by Ulrich Müther during his career are more relevant than ever today. And worthy of an exhibition.
Ulrich Müther – In Beton Gegossen opens at the Architekturgalerie am Weißenhof, Am Weißenhof 30, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany on Thursday February 27th and runs until Monday April 7th
The Binz U.F.O., sorry lifeguard station by Ulrich Müther, a project featured in "Ulrich Müther – In Beton Gegossen" at the Architekturgalerie am Weißenhof, Stuttgart
“Konstantin Grcic – Panorama” at the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
A museal design exhibition can, in principle, have two perspectives: a look back or a look forward.
“Konstantin Grcic – Panorama” at the Vitra Design Museum aims to do both.
Part of the exhibition promising an overview of Grcic’s canon, the second part his vision of the future.
And this vision is, for us, the most enticing aspect of the exhibition.
Despite the obvious reduced clarity and easy comprehensibility of his designs Konstantin Grcic’s work is largely not about the object itself but the route taken, the objects raison d’etre and its context. As such Konstantin Grcic’s work is often underscored by a conceptual complexity that belies its visual simplicity.
We’re looking forward to seeing in how far Konstantin Grcic can and has transformed this design understanding into a coherent vision of the future.
Konstantin Grcic – Panorama opens at the Vitra Design Museum, Charles-Eames-Str. 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany on Saturday March 22nd and runs until Sunday September 14th
"Konstantin Grcic - Panorama" at the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany