Passagen Cologne 2014: A&W Designer of the Year 2014 – Werner Aisslinger. The Exhibition.

What would IMM Cologne week be without the official enthronement of the A&W Designer of the Year?

One day shorter and one exhibition poorer say we.

Following on from Patricia Urquiola in 2012 and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec in 2013 the 2014 A&W Designer of the Year is Werner Aisslinger. And as tradition demands his work is currently being celebrated in an exhibition in the Kölner Kunstverein.

In summer 2013 the Berlin gallery Haus am Waldsee presented a Werner Aisslinger solo exhibition under the title Home of the Future.

The A&W exhibition is, in many ways, an abridged version of that exhibition.

Divided into seven sections the exhibition presents a nice cross section of Werner Aisslinger’s commercial and conceptual projects including, for example, the Juli chair for Cappellini, the Level 34 office system for Vitra, the conceptual Kitchen Farming project and the Chair Farm greenhouse, and helps the visitor explore aspects of Werner Aisslinger’s design approach and Werner Aisslinger’s understanding of design and design’s responsibility. It doesn’t allow one to fully understand why a Werner Aisslinger does what he does, for that it simply lacks the depth and range; but that isn’t the exhibition’s aim. Its aim is to gently introduce. And to celebrate what Werner Aisslinger has achieved in the past twenty years.

And for us that is a sensible decision given not only the relative lack of space in the Kölner Kunstverein but also in the context in which it is being presented: initially during a design week when only very few visitors have time to enjoy a full exhibition and subsequently on a tour of the stilwerk “design” shopping centres, when it will largely be enjoyed by a passing public. Curious and interested, but en passant.

Yet despite its brevity there is more than enough substance on show to encourage and motivate all who see it to undertake more research on their own. Something we can thoroughly recommend.

The A&W Designer of the Year 2014 exhibition can be viewed in the Kölner Kunstverein, Hahnenstraße 6, 50667 Cologne until Sunday January 19th and in the coming weeks it will be touring through the stilwerk centres in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. See local press for details.

In addition to the work of Werner Aisslinger the exhibition in Cologne is also presenting objects by the winner of the 2014 A&W Mentor prize Gesa Hansen

A few impressions:

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