She came from Greece, had a thirst for knowledge, studied sculpture at St Martins College and, according to Jarvis Cocker, had no understanding of the brutal realities of late 1980s British society.

Thirsty to know if the 2017 Central St Martins design graduates were more grounded in their contemporary reality, our 2017 #campustour headed to North London….

Central St Martins,London. The Granary


With the exhibition Panorama. A History of Modern Design in Belgium, the ADAM, Brussels Design Museum present an exploration of design in Belgium from the 1880s until the 1980s: and in doing so not only explain the development of design in Belgium, but provide for new understandings of that development.

"The Golden Age, as seen at Panorama. A History of Modern Design in Belgium, ADAM Brussels


With their eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead, the riders in the 2017 Tour de France prologue time trial through the streets of Düsseldorf on July 1st will have no thoughts for the buildings they pass.

Which is a shame, because as a city Düsseldorf has more than its fair share of buildings which are not only architecturally interesting and important, but whose stories are often interesting and important in wider cultural contexts.

Interesting and important architecture and stories the Tour de France competitors could become acquainted with. If they just slowed down.

Cycling at a pace which allows one to enjoy Dusseldorf's architecture, such as the 1926 Rheinterrasse


It is fair to say that Malmö University wasn’t on our radar before we began our 2017 #campustour.

Which is in no way to detract from the institution, far from it, much more it highlights our ignorance. And also one of the aims of our tour, achieving a better understanding of contemporary European design education.

Form/Design Center Malmö


The exhibition Much More Than One Good Chair. Design & Society in Denmark at Felleshus Berlin explores the development of Danish design, and by extrapolation Danish society, since the end of the Second World War.

To find out a little more we spoke to the exhibition’s curator, the Danish designer and author Thomas Dickson.

Much More Than One Good Chair @ Felleshus Berlin


The Swedish town of Lund is famous as the birthplace of the Tetra Pak packaging system, and thus of a global revolution in food and drink distribution systems and consumption patterns.

If the new crop of Lund University School of Industrial Design graduation projects reached conclusions as simple, logical and resource efficient, if arguably, and ideally, without the associated post-use recycling problems, could be assessed at the institution’s 2017 Degree Exhibition.

Lund University School of Industrial Design Degree Exhibition 2017


At the opening of the exhibition Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec – Rêveries Urbaines at the Vitra Design Museum we intimated that the first projects arising from the brother’s research into urban spaces were in an advanced state of planning.

With Oui the Kunsthal Aarhus present the first realised project.

Oui Fireplace by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec at Kunsthal Aarhus


Throughout June and July well be touring Europe in context for our 2017 #campustour.

By way of an accompaniment, we thought it would be an opportune moment for a game of bingo.

For who doesn’t love bingo?

Welcome to smow Blog #campustour Bingo (photo by via https://commons.wikimedia.org)


As the apostle Paul once wrote to the people of Galatia, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The manifestation of that wisdom can be observed in the twisted reality of our contemporary farming and food production systems.

What we could, should, sow in order to reap a more sustainable and democratic future harvest, and for all the role our personal relationships’ to food plays in approaching such an answer, is explored in the exhibition Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrow’s Society at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.

Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrow’s Society at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg


Very much like Willie Nelson, we’re on the road again, and like a band of gypsies goin’ down the highway, we’ll be goin’ places that we’ve never been, seein’ things that we may never see again, and all the time insistin’ that the world keep turnin’ our way.

It’s smow blog #campustour 2017

smow blog #campustour 2017


Until Sunday June 4th state of Design, Berlin 2017 is presenting projects from over 80 international creatives, supported by films, lectures and workshops, in the Vollgutlager in Berlin-Neukölln.

Viewing the 2017 edition it occurred to us there is a lot of charming ambiguity about the name state of Design, Berlin…….

Folding Chair Arena by students from the Inside interior architecture masters course at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague. The main discussion forum at state of Design Berlin 2017


In northern hemispheres June marks the start of both astronomical and meteorological summer.

In southern hemispheres June marks the start of both astronomical and meteorological winter.

The one rejoices, the other laments …. and we don’t even notice, far too busy as we are perusing architecture and design exhibitions. Our five recommendations for June 2017 features new shows in Den Haag, Frankfurt, New York, Leipzig and Brussels.

5 New Design Exhibitions for June 2017


Inaugurated in 2016 state of Design Berlin is a festival which seeks to explore the experimental, critical, social character of design as much as present the industrial and commercial: and by extrapolation explain not only that design is all these things, but that the various aspects of design’s character needn’t be contradictory, far less conflicting or contrary.

The 2017 edition of state of Design Berlin opens on Thursday June 1st

state of design berlin 2017


’tis a curious thing time. It has accompanied our universe since the instant of its creation, has allowed for the development of our civil and social society, is the bedrock of our economic, industrial and commercial systems, guides us through every day, week, month, year, life.

Yet it is questionable if it actually exists.

And if it does exist. In what form? How can we visualise and document it? Does it have an inherent value?

Clues towards some possible answers are provided by the Designpreis Halle 2017 exhibition.

Designpreis Halle 2017. White


Dear Judge Tessin:

I will herewith express our delight to have Florence with us this summer. I am sure that it will be good for her to see a little more of the world. We are going to Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Holland. We will take good care of her.

Most sincerely yours,

Eliel Saarinen1

And take good care of Florence, Eliel Saarinen did: so much so that she advanced to become one of the most important protagonists in the development of post-war furniture, textile and interior design.

Hairpin Stacking Table by Florence Knoll for Knoll produced 1948-1966. Reintroduced by 2017


When we first viewed the exhibition Full House: Design by Stefan Diez at The Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne, it was was still being assembled. Objects were missing, set-ups not in their final composition, lights not yet properly positioned. As such we didn’t get to form an opinion on the final, complete, intended exhibition. Did however mange to take some truly awful photos.

Fortunately we have now had a second chance to view the exhibition.

And it is every bit as good as we assumed it would be from what we had seen.

Prototypes of the 404 collection by Stefan Diez for Thonet, as seen at Full House: Design by Stefan Diez, The Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne


With the exhibition Much More Than One Good Chair. Design & Society in Denmark, the Danish Embassy in Berlin present an exploration of the evolution of design in Denmark since 1945. And by extrapolation of the evolution of society in Denmark since 1945.

Much More Than One Good Chair @ Felleshus Berlin


It’s early May and once again the party ship we call the smow song contest is ready to set sail……

smow song contest 2017


There is one song missing from the smow blog playlist: missing for the simple, regrettable, and thoroughly avoidable, reason that it isn’t on spotify.

For din skyld by the Danish singer Birgit Brüel. Denmark’s entry for the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest. And featuring lyrics by Poul Henningsen.

Yes, that Poul Henningsen.

Poul Henningsen


On May 1st 1851 Queen Victoria opened The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park London: the first “World’s Fair”, an event which celebrated the advances of the industrial age, and whose influence on industry, engineering, science, architecture and society was to resonate globally for decades, acting as it did as the motor for the quickening technological advances of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While the profit generated from the 6 million visitors allowed for the construction of London’s Science Museum, Natural History Museum and neighbouring Victoria and Albert Museum.

If any of the numerous architecture and design exhibitions opening globally in May 2017 will become quite so pivotal remains to be seen. Our top five can be found in Hamburg, Atlanta, Amsterdam, London and Stuttgart.

5 New Design Exhibitions for March 2017


It’s not quite radio smow. Not yet. But we hope it is another way to enjoy, and understand, the smow blog…….

6 D 030 Z by Charles Ray Eames for Evans for Zenith Radio, as seen at Radio Days. Tube Radios, Design Classics, Internet Radio, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne


The handicraft training in the Bauhaus workshops was not an end in itself, but an irreplaceable educational tool. The aim of this training was to create designers who, thanks to their precise knowledge of materials and processes, were able to influence the industrial production of our time.” Walter Gropius, 1955*

The tensions caused by the practical question of how this influence was to be expressed, and the parallels with the industrial production of our time, are explored in the exhibition Craft becomes Modern. The Bauhaus in the Making at Bauhaus Dessau.

Craft becomes Modern. The Bauhaus in the Making at Bauhaus Dessau


One of the genuine highlights for us at Milan Furniture Fair 2017 was without question the launch of USM Haller E – a new development by which electricity can be supplied to USM Haller units, electricity which can be used to power LED lighting or USB chargers housed unobtrusively in the structural tubes. “Unobtrusively” being the keyword as it means the functionality of the system is extended without altering, adjusting or otherwise impacting on the aesthetics of the system. A genuinely very exciting development and one which extends not just the functionality but also the value the system.

And which got us thinking…….

USM Haller E, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2017


Backrests appeared to be a major feature of those new products Konstantin Grcic presented at Milan Furniture Fair 2017. Or perhaps better put, from those new product we saw by Konstantin Grcic, we interpreted the backrest as being central components. But it wasn’t all about backrests, a few thoughts on new products for Magis, Plank, Flos and Mattiazzi.

Noctambule by Konstantin Grcic for Flos, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2017


Much as we moan, moan, and moan about Milan Furniture Fair, it is a rare opportunity to get a snapshot of where individual designers are currently at: differing products for differing manufacturers being displayed in relatively proximity allowing for a nice overview. A few considerations on the latest projects by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra, Magis, Flos and Mattiazzi.

Verticale by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Flos, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2017