According to Germanic folklore, A cold and wet June spoils the whole year.
For farmers possibly, but not for the rest of us, as a cold, wet June is a perfect excuse to visit an architecture or design exhibition, an experience that can only enrich and enliven and invigorate the rest of the not only your year, but your life.
Our recommendations for new showcases opening in June 2023 can be found in Värnamo, Ljubljana, East Lansing, Vienna and Ulm…….
Everyone knows that the Nazis built Autobahnen. Everyone knows that the Nazis built an imposing and daunting parade ground in Nürnberg. And that they had outrageous, decadent, plans for Berlin. But the wider architecture and spatial planning projects of the NSDAP dictatorship are not only a lot less well known, but a lot less well understood, and certainly far less well popularly reflected on in wider contexts of the relationships between architecture, spatial planning, state, community, identity, control etc, etc, etc. Similarly far too irregularly posed is the question why and wherefore the NSDAP undertook so many varied and various architecture and spatial planning projects; and when it is posed is all too often answered with well worn references to representation and a desire to drive their shiny new Volkswagens, their shiny new Porsches, really, really fast.
With the exhibition Power Space Violence. Planning and Building under National Socialism the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, allow one to begin to reflect on such themes and also to begin to learn to better formulate such questions…….
For all that the Schwarzwald is popularly known for its cuckoo clocks, as Mythos SABA – Memories of a Global Company at the Franziskanermuseum, Villingen-Schwenningen, helps elucidate, such aren’t the only noise emitting precision technical objects, nor indeed the only harmonies, rhythms, melodies and metres, associated with the (hi)story of, and the cultural contribution of, the Schwarzwald.
If alternative noise emitting precision technical objects and alternative harmonies, rhythms, melodies and metres that are all too often masked by the call of the cuckoo.
And also an elucidation, an enunciation, of the alternatives by the Franziskanermuseum that begins, somewhat inevitably, with clocks…….
An oak; A cultural good; A material
Although the Grassimesse has been staged, with readily understandable pauses, since 1920, the Grassimesse smow-Designpreis is being staged for the first time in 2023.
Which means a highly impressive roster of innovative, intelligent, imaginative, informative, designers from back in the day can’t win it. Have, if one so will, missed out
But you can win it and the associated €2,500.
Or can if your reading this before
Friday May 12th Sunday May 21st, the new extended, deadline for entries.
Otherwise you’ve also missed out.
Putting you in an illustrious, if very unfortunate, group along with the likes of…….
In the northern Hemisphere May is a month of ritual; rituals primarily associated with the awakening of nature, the approaching of summer with the associated hope of a successful and bountiful harvest. And rituals which include, amongst many others, maypoles in various contexts, bonfires for various reasons and a myriad dances, including the traditional English children’s dance/game Nuts in May, with its repetition of the line “Here we come gathering nuts in May”… which obviously raises the pertinent question, which nuts can, could, should one gather in England in May? Or indeed anywhere in northern Europe in May? Are they not all a bit underdeveloped in May? Is gathering nuts in late summer, early autumn not a more worthwhile experience? As squirrels do.
So, children and adults alike, don’t waste your time looking for edible nuts in May and invest your time instead in visiting an architecture and/or design exhibition and thereby gathering fresh perspectives and insights in May.
Our five recommendations for new shows opening in May 2023 can be found in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Helsinki, Friedrichshafen and, once again, Rotterdam…….
“My work was… How would I put it?”, asks Yrjö Kukkapuro.
“Constant contemplation” he answers.1
With the exhibition Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room Espoo Museum of Modern Art, EMMA, invite us all to contemplate on Yrjö Kukkapuro’s contemplations…….
The 2023 edition of the Grassimesse Leipzig will see the inaugural awarding of the €2,500 smow-Designpreis. The first dedicated design prize in the institution’s long (hi)story. Entries are open until Friday May 12th.
But what if that first Grassimesse smow-Designpreis had been awarded not in 2023, but 1923?
Who might have won?
Who would the 1923 Grassimesse jury have selected from the many possible candidates?
A smow Blog fantasy final four…….
It is, we’d argue, fair to say that most people in western Europe still have a very stereotypical, skewed, if not prejudiced view of late 20th century design in and from those nations that form the eastern half of the European continent.
With Retrotopia. Design for Socialist Spaces the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, in cooperation with numerous museums and institutions from across eastern Europe, provide an introduction to post-War 20th century architecture and design in and from Croatia, the Czech Republic, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine, and in doing so invite us all to begin to approach more probable and more meaningful positions……
For the first time in its long and illustrious history Leipzig’s Grassimesse will award a dedicated design prize at its 2023 edition.
More specifically, will award the €2,500 smow-Designpreis.
The call for entries is now open, and you are all cordially invited…….
What is the popular understanding of the contribution of women to the mural of design (hi)story?
Thus, and with very good reason, and a degree of necessity, urgency even, the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur invite us all to consider The Bigger Picture…….
Although the etymology of “April” is lost in the mists of time, one of the more likely, and more satisfying, theories as to its origins is to be found in the Latin verb aperire, to open, which itself can be considered as being, possibly, related to the ancient Greek ἄνοιξις, ánoixis, opening. And thus the very obvious connotations to spring springing forth in April, to the natural world opening for another season.
What is much better recorded are the new architecture and design exhibitions apertio and ἄνοιξις in April 2023. Springing forth in April 2023.
Our five recommendations from those many new springtime blooms can be found in Zürich, Weil am Rhein, Paris, Hasselt and Dresden…….
Amongst the great many things the experiences of the last couple of years have brought to the fore, and have unequivocally reinforced, is the importance to humans, collectively and individually, of outdoor spaces; not just for fresh air, movement, relaxation and physical well-being, but also for mental well-being.
With Garden Futures. Designing with Nature the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, explore the garden as such an outdoor space, and also as a cultural space, as a design space, as a social space, as a political space and in doing so allow for reflections and considerations on not only gardens but humanity’s wider relationships with the natural world…….
An Île; A Commune; A Context
The return of an old favourite, and no not (smow) introducing, although Welcome Back!!!, but the Rowac-Schemel, the Rowac stool, a work initially launched in 1909 as one of the world’s first sheet steel furniture objects, a work that once graced not only innumerable industrial workshops, craft ateliers and educational institutes, but the workshops and ateliers at Bauhauses Weimar and Dessau, a work that became lost in the confusions of post-War eastern Germany.
A work returning in 2023, some 80 years after production ended: and that from and in its native Chemnitz.
And via a Kickstarter crowdfunding project.
To find out more we caught up with Alide and Dieter Amick from Rowac…….
“How did I end up going to technical school?” asked once the Finnish architect Wivi Lönn, rhetorically, “I had building in my blood, and it pulled me in.”1
With the exhibition Long Live Wivi Lönn! the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, help elucidate not only how that innate urge expressed itself, but also that for all the apparent ease contained in Lönn’s account of an innate urge being followed, for a Wivi Lönn, and for the great many Wivi Lönn’s over the past 200 years, it wasn’t that simple, if every bit as self-evident…….
“March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know”,
opined once the American poet Emily Dickinson.1
Easily enough resolved!!!
And no, not by “Persons of prognostication”, whom one should definitely always “show becoming firmness”; but by visiting an architecture or design exhibition and approaching that which you don’t know via your own inquiry and questioning and reasoning.
Our five recommended locations for transforming expectations into knowledge in March 2023 can be found in Berlin, Espoo, New York, Nyköping and Weil am Rhein…….
When is an ironing board, not an ironing board?
When it’s Cinderella by Anna Kraitz for Design House Stockholm.
“Der var en stolt Theepotte“, “there was a proud teapot”, so begins Hans Christian Andersen’s 1863 tale, The Teapot, Andersen continuing by recording that said teapot was, “proud of its porcelain, proud of its long spout, proud of its broad handle”; the start of the biography of an everyday household object, the start of the biography of one of those anonymous goods with which we all surround ourselves, that is one of the first items one meets in the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Berlin, exhibition The Story of My Life. Object Biography as Concept, Method and Genre.
And a biography of an anonymous everyday object, alongside the many, many other object biographies featured and discussed in The Story of My Life, which helps assist the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge explore less object biographies per se as to explore the place and function and relevance and reading of the object biography, and thereby to question our complex relationships with those objects with which we surround ourselves, to question relationships between the human world and the object world…….