With his two faces the Roman God Janus was able to look in two different directions at once, a skill he traditionally employed as a gatekeeper, as a guardian of transitions, observing the past while always having his view firmly on the future; but a skill which is also helpful in understanding design processes, allowing as it does one to see simultaneously both the finished article, and the research, experimentation and design philosophy that lead to it.

Presenting works by eight Liège based studios which juxtapose the finished product with the development process, the exhibition Face A – Face B at Design Station Liège allows just such a Janus perspective.

Reciprocity Design Triennale Liège 2018: Face A – Face B @ Design Station


Escalating tension between the nuclear powers, public discourses on gender equality/respect, racial equality/respect, religious equality/respect, thousands displaced through war and conflict in South East Asia, destabilising wars and conflicts in the Middle East, warnings about irreversible environmental stability and the long-term habitability of earth, thousands on the streets demanding change…..

And the situation in 1968 wasn’t very different.

With the exhibition 68. Pop und Protest the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg explore the relationships between the social and political developments of the late 1960s and the cultural manifestations of the period……

Hermann von Wissmann, and proters posters from Paris, as seen at 68. Pop und Protest Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg


The 2018 ArtEZ Academy of Art & Design Arnhem graduation exhibition was staged under the title, Liberty, but how many would the students be taking……

ArtEZ Academy of Art & Design Arnhem, Liberty 2018


The 6th edition of LuForm Aachen is being staged, as the title succinctly implies, in conjunction with the Reciprocity Design Triennale, an event nominally based in the Belgian city of Liège but which, and as with LuForm, integrates creatives and creative institutions from across the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion. And therefore a most logical and natural cooperation

As an exhibition LuForm 6 also reflects one of the principle themes of Reciprocity 2018: fragility.

Whereby, if the exhibitions in Liège primarily discuss practical considerations on fragility, then the presentation in Aachen is much more concerned with speculative, theoretical, abstract, artistic considerations on the same.

LuForm 6 - LuForm Meets RECIPROCITY @ Ludwig Forum Aachen


Recycling, reuse and reappropriation are not only subjects for product design, but also for architecture, which hopefully isn’t new information, even if considerations on such (arguably) aren’t always at the forefront of architects thoughts, far less architectural planning.

Even if they (equally arguably) should be.

With the exhibition Transform the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum Basel make an appeal not only for more, better considered, recycling, reuse and reappropriation in architecture, but explore three contemporary projects which demonstrate how such can function, and thereby serving as impeti* for further projects.

Cité du Grand Parc Bordeaux by Lacaton & Vassal, Druot Hutin - left what was, right the new extension, as seen at Transform S AM Swiss Architecture Museum Basel


“I am happy to supply you with photos of a larger building that has recently been completed, and which, for me, is one in which I have succeeded in most clearly expressing my views on art”, wrote the German architect, designer and artist Peter Behrens in 1931, “it is the central warehouse and the associated administration building of the Gutehoffnungshütte Oberhausen, Rhineland”1

With the exhibition Peter Behrens – Art and Technology that clearest expression of Behrens’ view on art hosts an exhibition explaining how he arrived at such an expression, and the wider development of his understanding of the relationship between art and technology.

Peter Behrens - Art and Technology @ the LVR-Industriemuseum Oberhausen


Fragility is in many regards the natural state of all systems and organisms.

Something the Second Law of Thermodynamics tends to support.

Given this inherent fragility, the secret to existence is largely a perpetual struggle to prevent fragility becoming the defining condition of a system/organism, in keeping the fragility in the background: something our organic and non-organic systems have developed very clever and astute methods for achieving, so much so that we normally are unaware of fragility, although it is always present.

Which, arguably, is the reason we find such strong, contradictory, emotions in fragility: for example, on the one hand the beauty we find in fragility, on the our other how our, and our environment’s, fragility can elicit fear and despondency.

Considerations on, and responses to, our, and our environment’s, fragility are one the central themes of the 2018 Reciprocity Design Triennale Liège.

Precarious Architecture & Design, Fragilitas, La Boverie, as seen during Reciprocity Design Triennale Liege 2018


If Jean-Claude Juncker gets his way October 2018 could see the clocks of Europe turned back an hour for the final time.

And thereby bringing to an end the long tradition of local newspapers publishing bi-annual articles documenting the curious tales and legends of town clocks, stories from the Schwarzwald on the largest and smallest cuckoo clocks, and photographs of horologists surrounded by the 350+ clocks and watches they need to reset.

For our part, we’ll miss them.

It will also mean you won’t have that extra hour the last Sunday in October to enjoy an extra leisurely visit to an architecture and/or design exhibition, so take the chance while you can…..

Our five recommendations for using that extra hour in October 2018 can be found in Hamburg, Weil am Rhein, Zürich, Paris and Helsinki.

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for October 2018


Victor Papanek’s contention that “There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them”, remains one of the most pertinent considerations on the design profession, because it succinctly underscores that in what they do designers directly and indirectly impact not only the user/consumer of that which they design, but also on all those involved in the production, distribution and disposal of that which they design. And thereby, directly and indirectly, on our environment.

A pertinence that remains relevant despite the opinion being voiced in 1971.

With the exhibition Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design the Vitra Design Museum not only present the first major retrospective of Victor Papanek, his life and work but also investigate his wider contemporary relevance.

And indicate how designers could be less harmful, more useful…..

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design, Vitra Design Museum


Staged in context of Intersections, ADAM Brussels Design Museum’s biennale programme, Design Generations explores not only the work of designers of differing generations, but for all design that remains relevant across generations……

Intersections #5 Design Generations, ADAM Brussels Design Museum


Back in the day most everything was produced locally, every community had its network of producers, who not only produced but were also knowledge depositories for processes, materials, local conditions etc, etc, etc

Back in the day.

More recently production has become remote, goods being produced in anonymous factories, transported across continents, through innumerate staging posts, and thereby not only severing the link between producer and customer, but meaning ever fewer people understand how things are produced.

But could evolving cultural, social and ecological understandings open the way for a return to local production?

With the exhibition New Urban Production Halle 14 Leipzig explore possible future realities.

Cow&Co by Ottonie von Roeder Anastasia Eggers, as seen at New Urban Production, Halle 14, Leipzig


The metal wire chair is such a well established seating genre it is hard to imagine it is possible to do anything new with it. Far less anything exciting.

However……

ArNO by Bright Potato, as seen at Meet My Project, Paris Design Week 2018


In our post from the state of DESIGN Berlin curated exhibition VICIS. Always Change a Running System during Munich Creative Business Week 2018 we opined that there was something biographical in the title. Similarly Expertimental Design has overtones of self-reflection. And for all of an unyielding belief in the value, logic, necessity of experimentation in design.

Something also reflected in the 2018 state of DESIGN Berlin showcase.

state of DESIGN Berlin, Expertimental Design


It is a universal rule of life that some of the most pleasing things occur unplanned, and that is certainly the case when visiting a design week, events where the disappointment that invariably arises visiting shows you intended to, is quickly offset by something you stumble across per chance.

So too was it as we turned into the Rue des Coutures-Saint-Gervais, our thoughts less concerned with where we were or where we were going as with where we had been and for all why we’d been where we’d been, then we passed number 14. Stopped. Went back…..

Plateau Lamp by Ferréol Babin for Daniel, as seen during Paris Design Week 2018


As we regularly note in our #campustour posts, what students produce is largely irrelevant, alone important in how the student got there, including how they responded to a given brief, posed their initial question, the logic in the decisions they made, the lessons learned from their mistakes, the lessons learned from others, the impulses received from contemporary discourses, etc, and how through the course of all such their understanding of and relationship to design evolved……

The Münster School of Design understand this process as a Parcours.

Their graduation exhibition allowing chance to reflect on all that leaping, bounding, climbing, rolling……

Münster School of Design @ Parcours 2018


Everything should be Ecodesign, opines the tag line to MAD Brussels’ exhibition Buy Now, Pay Later.

And while we are, arguably, (at least a little) further advanced in terms of ecological, sustainable, design thinking than we were a generation ago, we still have a long way to go.

Buy Now, Pay Later highlights some of the areas where we could do better…….

Buy Now, Pay Later. Everything should be Ecodesign at MAD Brussels


The advantage the autumn edition of Maison et Objet has over the spring edition is Paris Design Week, a chance to not only explore French creativity in a wider context than can be found in the trade fair halls, but also to explore the French capital without the distraction of the city’s history.

A central component of Paris Design Week is Le Off, a platform for young designers and which for its 2018 edition was based in the Ground Control event and creative centre, tucked away behind Gare du Lyon.

Although for us it quickly became much more Gare du Nord…….

Friche au pied du ballot umbrella stand-flower box by Benjamin Helle through Aequo Edition, as seen at Paris Design Week 2018


We doubt we will be able to visit the 2019 Summaery exhibition at Bauhaus University Weimar, as we suspect the town will be too full of visitors celebrating the centenary of Bauhaus Weimar.

Or perhaps better put, full of confused visitors wondering where all the steel tube furniture is….. Wrong Bauhaus people.

Consequently we attempted to extract as much as we could from Summaery 2018.

Bauhaus University Weimar, Summaery 2018Bauhaus University Weimar, Summaery 2018


The biggest disappointment at Maison et Objet Autumn 2018 was that Announcement Lady wasn’t broadcasting across the halls, and so this year there was no continual “Mesdames, Messieurs”, and so we had no continual Sash soundtrack to carry us though our visit.

We just hope Announcement Lady’s absence wasn’t on account of us, we hope she didn’t quit because she felt we were mocking her, being cheeky, or otherwise making fun of her. We weren’t. It was genuinely one of our highlights at Maison et Objet Autumn 2017. One of the reasons we went back.

Fortunately, and as much as we missed her, there were a few other highlights to distract us in Paris this September.

And so with a hearty Encore une fois for auld lang syne, a Maison et Objet Autumn 2018 High Four!

Maison et Objet Paris Autumn 2018 High 5


While for most locations a design week is sufficient, Brussels takes a whole month. We’ve never asked why, just assume it is because in the bi-lingual Franco-Dutch city where everything has to be repeated twice, thrice when one considers the more or less obligatory English required for the large diplomatic community in the de facto European capital, everyone is just used to things taking a little longer and plan accordingly.

Whatever the reason, throughout September Brussels is playing host to a wide variety of design events, events reflecting various definitions, understandings and degrees of design, and over the next couple of weeks we’ll bring you some of those projects which particularly caught our attention, starting with an exploration of nature that while presenting unmistakable parallels to Brussels’ Art Nouveau heritage, couldn’t be further removed.

Marcin Rusak - Nature of Things II at the Horta Museum Brussels


Having made his way to America as a stowaway on an British freighter the Dutch abstract expressionist artist, and eponym of Rotterdam’s art school, Willem de Kooning, initially made his living as a painter and decorator.

Which, considered in context of his later work, is just the most delicious thought……

“No Willem, that wall ONLY green, that wall ONLY yellow, the doors ONLY white. And straight edges!!!”

Willem de Kooning Academy & Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam


On the train to Cologne the signs were unmissable, the sun may have been gloriously, victoriously, shinning, as it has done since Easter, from a clear azure sky: but autumn is definitely approaching. And while it may be a bit premature to start planning for next summer, at the annual spoga+gafa garden, freetime and equestrianism trade fair in Cologne, manufacturers presented what they expect us to sit on next summer in our gardens, on our balconies, while camping, the accessories they expect us to have around us while we do such and the ludicrously testosterone charged names of the barbecues they expect us to cook with.

But will we? Should we? Can we?

spoga+gafa Cologne 2018: High Five


That unfamiliar bouquet in the air in Karlsruhe is the wind of change blowing through the Hochschule für Gestaltung: having guided, nurtured and, one assumes, wisely counselled, the design department since 1994 as Professor for Product Design Volker Albus is departing.

What that all means for the future is anyone’s guess, it’s very much a case of watch this space; for now all we could do is to what we do whenever a wind of change blows, and follow the Moskva down to Gorky Park and then on to the Hochschule für Gestaltung where the children of tomorrow were dreaming away at the 2018 Rundgang annual exhibition.

But would it be a glory night…….?

Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe


According to Germanic lore, “ein guter Septemberregen kommt nie ungelegen“, a good rain in September is never inopportune.

This year arguably more so than ever.

Similarly a good architecture and design exhibition in September is never inopportune.

And, and keeping with rain metaphors, while we can all remember what rain is, September 2018, sees a proper downpour of new architecture and design exhibitions. A downpour that is particularly opportune. Following July’s drought and its meagre 4 recommendations we have a ongoing deficit of one in our annual quota, the current deluge however means that for September 2018 we can present 6.

And so grab your umbrellas and take yourselves to an architecture and/or design exhibition this September. Our recommendations can be found in Kolding, Munich, London, Herford, Moscow and Weil am Rhein……..

5 new Architecture & Design Exhibitions September 2018


Derived from the French parcourir, the parcours is perhaps historically most popularly associated with equine show-jumping, the challenge of negotiating an artificial obstacle course; more recently it has become popular in context of human show-jumping, the challenge of negotiating an urban obstacle course.

Approaching the Köln International School of Design 2018 KISDparcours semester and graduation exhibition we hoped the obstacles to be negotiated would be of the mental, philosophical, type……

Köln International School of Design