As regular readers will appreciate, we’re no great approvers of lumping individual creatives together under one umbrella term; always strikes us as being an unnecessary distraction, and (more than) a little counterproductive.
We are however most appreciative that following an inaugural presentation at Kazerne Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2017, the showcase Generation Köln is now being presented, as it were, on home turf.
Organised by Passagen Cologne initiator Sabine Voggenreiter in context of the German/Dutch design project Maken/Machen, Generation Köln presents projects by five designers: Meike Harde, Karoline Fesser, Thomas Schnur, Klemens Grund & Tim Kerp, supported by photography from Thomas Wiuf Schwartz. Not all six are from Cologne, all however currently live and work in Cologne. And that in their own specific, if not idiosyncratic, manner.
As an exhibition Generation Köln sees its role as a platform, there is no central curatorial concept, no question being posed, theory to be challenged and/or proved, exploration undertaken; much more Generation Köln can be best understood as a Kölsch Smörgåsbord of objects which demonstrate how each of the five designers transfers their own experiences, principles and understanding of design and the designer’s function into their work. Despite that the nature of the presentation and the parallels/conflicts which can found between objects, mean there is communication between objects, sometimes directly, sometimes more subtly. But accessible for those visitors who invest the time to explore.
And therefore making it in many regards part of the design discourse/dialogue discussed in context of the neighbouring showcase In Arbeit. Prototypen von Thomas Schnur und Klemens Grund.
Alternatively one can skim through it, enjoying as you go the variety of objects and the space they enjoy.
Presenting a mix of prototypes, studies and commercially available products, for us, and hopefully for all the more loyal smow Blog readers, Generation Köln is also a chance to catch up with some fond old acquaintances, for example, Thomas Schnur’s Twist table from the 2016 exhibition Funktionsraum staged with Sven Lützenkirchen, and now in production with Functionals, or Karoline Fesser’s All Wood Stool from 2014’s Objects and the Factory exhibition and now in production with hem.
Pleasing, satisfying, as the transformation of the various objects we remember from their prototype days unquestionably is, reflecting on what that involved does also neatly underscore the effort young designers need to take to get their works noticed. The “Objects and…..” series of exhibitions, for example, was organised by Thomas and Karoline (not least) because there were so few platforms during IMM week for young, professional designers. So they realised their own. And if our math is right, four of the “in production” objects on show at Generation Köln were realised in context of the “Objects and…..” series.
And so in many ways, as much as being an exhibition in its own right, Generation Köln is also a question: if this is what five Cologne design studios are creating, what else is out there?
IMM and Passagen Design Week is always an opportune moment to start exploring.
And Generation Köln a very pleasing place to begin. Just pay more attention to the works that the exhibition title……
Generation Köln runs at Ruttkowski;68, Bismarckstrasse 70, 50672 Cologne until Sunday January 21st
A few impressions: