One doesn’t have to understand why designers or design institutions do the things they do.
You don’t always have to be able to follow the logic.
Sometimes all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Such an occasion, at least for us, is the project Lost & Found by Vitra from the Bratislava based design platform Flowers for Slovakia.
Essentially the project asked 15 young Slovakian designers to combine forlorn items of traditional Slovakian folk furniture with elements from the Vitra collection.
The result is the most wonderfully confusing, irritating, amusing and inspiring cacophony that opens up new perspectives on form-giving, composition and the importance of details in the design process.
We suspect the project works so well because the Vitra elements, removed as they are from the context of the objects they normally contribute to, appear at first even more lost and forlorn than the folk furniture. Backrests from office chairs, table frames, chair legs et al, are not on their own perceived as the most attractive, far less interesting, of objects. Yet viewed in context of the new products they make perfect sense, have a new purpose. A new function which although far removed from the intended, they appear perfectly suited for.
Something which delightfully highlights just how closely related traditional handicraft with its carefully considered forms and construction really is to modern industrial design with its carefully considered forms and….
And that when both are realised competently they can be effortlessly combined.
For ultimately what is important in product design is the care and attention to the detail with which the individual components of an object are formed. Get that right and your product will be right.
The final visual form being only one element of what makes an object valuable and useful.
A position which of course reminds us of the take home message from the exhibition Wilhelm Wagenfeld: Die Form ist nur Teil des Ganzen at the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus Bremen.
And delightfully underscores the difference between lifestyle objects marketed by charlatans as design and genuine design products.