Category: Architecture


According to Germanic folklore: A wet February brings a fruitful year.

And that, we’d argue, not only in terms of vegetation, but also in terms of your individual personal development: a wet February meaning more time spent in museums and thus an enhanced opportunity to engage in meaningful and relevant and motivating discourses and discussions. An ideal environment in which to allow your appreciations of and positions to the world around you to optimally develop, swell, ripen and nourish.

So come on February…… Rain!!!

Our five recommended growth stimulating shelters for February 2023 can be found in Cologne, Stockholm, Hornu, Hamburg and Montréal…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for February 2023

For all that shops are places where design of all types is bought and sold, as the exhibition On Display. Designing the shop experience at Design Museum Brussels helps elucidate, throughout the past 150ish years shops have been both microcosms and drivers of architectural and design positions.

If one so will have been display windows for contemporary architecture and design as much for the goods they purvey…….

On Display. Designing the shop experience, Design Museum Brussels

Globally some 100 million individuals are classed as homeless, with untold millions more living in precarious, unsafe, unhealthy conditions.1

And the problem isn’t new. Just one of the great many that as a global society we’ve never managed to get on top off.

With the exhibition Who’s Next? Homelessness, Architecture and Cities the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, both offer insights into global homelessness and also demand fresh impetus for finding more meaningful ways forward…….

Who’s Next? Homelessness, Architecture and Cities, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

By way of breaking us all gently into 2023 we thought that rather than presenting a list of new architecture and design exhibitions opening in January 2023, we’d provide a list of those exhibitions both up and running in January 2023 and those opening in January 2023.

It seemed a civilised and informative approach. An approach that was more empowering, less demanding. An invitation to visit an exhibition rather than defining an obligation to visit an exhibition.

If an approach, an invitation, admittedly aided and abetted by the dearth of new showcases opening globally in January 2023. As in essentially none. Certainly nowhere near the five of our title.

But then, the old is also the new when first discovered, everything is unknown and unfamiliar until approached and engaged with, it’s all a question of perspective.

Which is a very good way to enter a new year…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for January 2023

According to popular (hi)story the tradition of the Christmas tree originated in the lands of the contemporary Germany. And with O Tannenbaum it was in the lands of the contemporary Germany that that most popular ode to the Christmas tree was first sung.

But it’s not by way of celebration of Germanic contributions to the Christmas season that all five of our new exhibition recommendations for December 2022 are in Germany, Austria or Germanophone Switzerland.

It’s just the way the dice fell. Just where the five most interesting sounding new architecture and design exhibition openings in December 2022 were to be found. As were what would have been at 6, 7 and 8 on our list. Had it continued that far.

And while we’d much rather, would much prefer, that they were more geographically, globally, strewn; thematically they are disparate, and all very much international, universal, in their subject matter and relevance. Plus, and lest we forget, an exhibition opening should never be understood as a reason to visit a particular museum, although please, please, do; but as an invitation to busy oneself with the subject and themes therein, an invitation to begin a journey.

Thus view what follows not as five exhibition recommendations in Germanophone Europe, but as five extra candles for your 2022 Christmas tree, five extra candles lighting your way forward into 2023 and beyond…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for December 2022

We published our first monthly list of exhibition recommendations on November 1st 2013, one of those short, superficial, posts we used to compose, having as we did back then endless time on our hands; and an intervening nine years that means that with this list for November 2022 we are entering our tenth year of helping you advance your cultural education.

While being very much aware that the vast majority of you have never visited a single one of the circa 450 new exhibitions we’ve carefully and conscientiously selected for your delectation, nor indeed have the vast majority of you visited any architecture or design exhibition in the past nine years: that the vast majority of you have chosen to neglect your cultural education. However, one of the joys of the museum exhibition as a format for elucidation, exploration, energising and entertainment, the reason we don’t give up on you all, is that, the next opportunity is always approaching.

Thus, while that which you have missed is gone for ever, and you’ll just have to try to catch up as best you can; that which is still to come is an opportunity waiting to be grasped. And in November 2022 there is an unusually large and varied amount of opportunities to grasp; the global architecture and design museum community unleashing a plethora of diverse new showcases.

And a plethora of new exhibitions opening in November 2022 that we were simply unable to narrow down to five. It would also have felt unjust given how many new showcases there are.

Our five six new opportunities to advance your cultural education in November 2022 can be found in Leipzig, Edinburgh, Winterthur, Berlin, New York and Vienna…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for November 2022

“Everybody, except myself, have used, and admit to having used my photographs … and often also without mentioning my name”, lamented Lucia Moholy in 1956, “everyone – except myself – have derived advantages from using my photographs, either directly, or indirectly, in a number of ways, be it in cash or prestige, or both”.1

The photographs in question being of and from the Weimar and Dessau Bauhauses, photos which played, and continue to play, a not unimportant role in mediating Bauhaus to a wider audience. But which in doing such don’t necessarily help mediate Lucia Moholy to that wider audience. On the contrary, they tend to hold her in a relative anonymity.

With Lucia Moholy – The Image of Modernity the Bröhan Museum, Berlin, help explain how such a situation came to be, why Lucia Moholy’s lament is both justified and an important lesson, and also how it relates to popular understandings of Bauhaus.

But for all seek to redress some of the ongoing consequences of that relative anonymity…….

Lucia Moholy – The Image of Modernity, Bröhan Museum, Berlin

What is a school?

A question in Dessau all too often answered in architectural terms. And while the space in which a school exists is not irrelevant, what is a school?

For the 2022 edition of the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau’s Bauhaus Lab the participants concerned themselves with education in apartheid era South Africa, considerations which took them far beyond the school room, and far beyond South Africa; and the results of which are presented in the exhibition Doors of Learning: Microcosms of a Future South Africa…….

Bauhaus Lab 2022: Doors of Learning. Microcosms of a Future South Africa, Bauhaus Building, Dessau

Autumn is once more upon the Northern Hemisphere, that season of not only “mists and mellow fruitfulness”, but as a John Keats also reminds us the season of harvest, be that vine fruits, apples, gourds or hazelnuts.

Or the architecture and design exhibitions Keats didn’t mention. If, to be fair to him, they would have been largely unknown in 1819.

Unlike today; a today where after a long summer of waiting patiently, of observing from afar, and hoping, autumn traditionally presents a bountiful crop of new showcases to be consumed with gay abandon. And with plentiful thanks for the unseen work that led to their creation.

And Autumn 2022 is no exception. After a summer of growth and development and careful tendering the global architecture and design museums are once again brimming and overflowing with fresh, invigorating, nourishing delights to suit all tastes.

Our pick of the new crop in October 2022 can be found in Paris, New York, Brussels, Helsinki and Rome…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for October 2022

In 1947 the American designer Edward J Wormley reflected in the New York Times on what contemporary furniture could, should, be, and amongst his thoughts on beds, chairs, storage units et al, opined that “an ideal table would be a flat plane suspended in space”, and that not least because “it’s the legs that are the big nuisance”.

“Can we find this kind of furniture in today’s market?”, he asked his readers, albeit, rhetorically, “You know we can’t.”1

Which tends to imply Wormley didn’t visit the Home Show exhibition in New York in April 1930, for had he, he would have seen Friedrich Kiesler’s Flying Desk…….

Friedrich Kiesler's Flying Desk as seen at the 1930 Home Show, New York. Note also the base of the armchair on the left, a very nice early example of a sled base...... There is, in effect, only one photo of the Flying Desk and it is under copyright, and, as yet we don't have permission to publish it. We're trying to get that permission and are hopeful we can depixelise soon. Which would be great, because as a work it deserves to be, demands to be, seen, enjoyed, analysed, further developed...... Until then it can be seen in neigh on all books about Friedrich Kiesler.......

In September 1839 Henry David Thoreau and his brother John spent two weeks navigating the Concord and Merrimack rivers on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. A boat trip, a journey, motivated by Thoreau’s long time observation of the Concord river, and for all its many organic and inorganic inhabitants, floating past him, “fulfilling their fate” as they did; and which inspired Thoreau to “launch myself on its bosom and float wither it would bear me.”1

Which is not only a very positive attitude to life, but also to approaching an architecture and/or design exhibition: launch yourself at it and see whither it bears you.

Our five recommendations for allowing yourself to carried off to pastures unknown, and possibly fulfilling fate as you are, in September 2022 can be found in Frankfurt, Hornu, Kolding, Rotterdam and Los Angeles…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for September 2022

Summer Break!!!

Not us!!!

We’re still here, tirelessly toiling to provide the fuel to keep your fires of inquiry burning bright and thereby powering your ongoing exploration into the depths and breadths of design. And your deconstruction of the simplifications, half-truths and objectifications that have become popularly confused for design.

But the international architecture and design museum community have collectively decided not to open any new exhibitions in August 2022.

We’re not bragging, it’s not what we do, but we do possess inarguably the largest global databank of architecture, design (and art) museums ever compiled, a resource that is continually growing, a resource through which we continually move, within which in many regards we live. And a resource which reveals no new architecture or design relevant exhibitions opening in August 2022.1

One.

Globally we found one new exhibition opening in August 2022 that would fit our criteria for being an exhibtion worthy of recommendation before it has opened and revealed what it actually it is not that which the curators claim it is.

But one is too few for a list. We will however visit it and, should it live up to its promise, report on it in due course.

Not that no new exhibtion openings means the global architecture and design museum community are all on holiday, far from it, they have simply retreated to the cool of their archives; and September and October should, will, offer veritable bounties of easily recommendable new shows.

Nor does no new exhibtion openings mean the global architecture and design museum community are closed. They are very much open, and very much should, must, be visited.2

Thus in place of a list of new exhibitions, we offer two geographically arranged lists of those architecture and design exhibitions on show in August 2022 and which you can, should, must, visit…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for August 2022

For all that the (hi)story of architecture and design is one staged against a background of economic, social, environmental, cultural, et al evolutions and developments, it is also a (hi)story fundamentally dependent upon developments and evolutions in materials, and also in the development and subsequent evolution of novel technologies. Novel technologies and materials which not only enable new approaches to the construction of our buildings and the manufacturing of our objects of daily use, but also enable new forms which offer the possibility of new functionalities and new relationships; new functionalities and new relationships appropriate for and demanded by the age, appropriate for and demanded by the contemporary economic, social, environmental, cultural, et al realities. And which ultimately allow that age to develop into, segue into, the next.

With PRINT3D. Reprint Reality the CaixaForum, Sevilla, allow space for reflections on the actuality, and future possibilities, of 3D printing, a technology that although it has been around for a few decades is, arguably, only now starting to fully reveal its potential and indicate where and how it could contribute to the future of architecture and design. And thereby contribute to future society…….

3D printed furniture by The New Raw at the entrance to PRINT3D. Reprint Reality, CaixaForum, Sevilla

Against the background of an ongoing climate emergency, rising nationalism, ever more politically active religious fanaticism of all hues, a Covid pandemic that refuses to go quietly, the return of War to Europe, amongst a great many other contemporary existential ills, there are a myriad questions we’d all rather be asked than if you believe in the future?

We’d all like to believe, but, well…….hhhmmm……. you know…….

The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg however considered the question particularly apposite, necessary even.

And so asked.

And ask.

Ask Me if I Believe in the Future, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

“One day in the midst of a burning July,
When meadows were parched and the rivulets dry,
A cluster of Bees in extreme……. anticipation,
Flew towards…… a design exhibition”1

(With apologies to Sara Coleridge)

Our five welcoming, stimulating, retreats for bees, or anyone or anything, from the parching burning of July 2022 can be found in Munich, Metz, Tulsa, Vienna and Bordeaux…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for July 2022

“Reinforced concrete is the best constructional material yet devised by mankind”, enthused the Italian civil engineer Pier Luigi Nervi in 1956.1

A position Nervi spent a circa sixty year career arguing for, both in innumerable texts and through a canon of varied, and varyingly challenging, constructions throughout Italy, and much further afield. And in doing so Pier Luigi Nervi not only helped advance a popular acceptance of reinforced concrete as a construction material, but also helped develop an argument that in context of our built environment how we construct is, in many regards, more important than what we construct. An argument that has lost none of its contemporaneous since Pier Luigi Nervi first advanced it…….

Pier Luigi Nervi (1891 1979)

With the Boötids, the Arietids and the Beta Taurids June is an eventful month for meteor showers; and a month of great promise for all those who hope their most earnest wishes for the future will be fulfilled through entrusting them to a shooting star.

If only their wasn’t the seemingly endless wait for nightfall, the seemingly endless sitting and streaming and snacking and stupor of waiting…….

Alternatively, use the day(s) ahead of the arrival of those celestial messengers of hope in perusing a good architecture and/or design exhibition: something that may enrich your life in ways you could never have imagined. Far less hoped for. And could lead you, could lead us all, to a future better, more promising and more fulfilling than you/we could ever have wished for. Could ever have achieved through the sitting and streaming and snacking and stupor of waiting for the future.

But you can still watch the meteors when they appear. And wish upon a star.

Our four meaningful distractions until nightfall in June 2022 can be found in Berlin, Rotterdam, Wrocław and Copenhagen……

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for June 2022

“The May of life blooms but once”, reflects Friedrich Schiller, continuing, “It has faded for me”.1

Cheer up Freddie!!!

And there’s nothing quite like a good architecture or design exhibition to revitalise all your faculties.

Our recommended fertilizers for the zest of life in May 2022 can be found in Berlin, Den Haag, Brussels, Pfäffikon SZ and Amsterdam…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for May 2022

“Green is beautiful” proclaims an anonymous youth, an anonymous youth blind since birth, from Sophie Calle’s 1986 photography project The Blind, “because every time I like something, I’m told it’s green. Grass is green, trees, leaves, nature too… I like to dress in green”.

An indication, a confirmation, that even for those who have never seen colour, colour can awaken associations, stir emotions, have agency on the human being.

With the exhibition Color as Program. Part One the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, explore colour beyond its physical reality, and in doing so allow for differentiated insights and perspectives into and on our relationships with colour, with colours.

Tanz RGBCMYK by Antje Majewski, as seen at Color as Program. Part One, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn

“Everything is sculpture” opined once Isamu Noguchi.1

But is it?

The exhibtion Isa­mu Noguchi in the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, Cologne, allows one to engage with, reflect on, immerse yourself in Isamu Noguchi’s life and work, and thus to better approach your own opinion on Isamu Noguchi’s firmly held conviction…..

Isamu Noguchi, Museum Ludwig, Cologne

As here in the northern hemisphere winter cedes to spring, not only is nature once again reawakening from its long repose but so too is the international museum community; and that, one senses, with more vigour than in the most recent springs where the Covid pandemic induced upsetting of the established order of the museal ecosystem, through both enforced closures and fundamental disruptions of essential exhibition development processes, dimmed somewhat the promise of the annual spring blush.

In spring 2022, one sense from wandering through the global museum landscape, the vitality, and for all variety, has returned to that landscape.

Which is to be welcomed, for little is as effective in helping us all broaden our minds, expand our perspectives, appreciate unseen associations, free us from prejudices, develop as human beings and as members of a functioning society, than a good museum exhibition. For while a good TV programme or a good podcast can inform, they tend to do so in definitives and in an unyieldingly linear fashion: they tell, they know, just how things were, are, will be. And in their telling tend to leave you bereft of tools of your own. A good museum exhibition in contrast gives you information but primarily bequeaths you a framework in which to develop your own understandings and positions, to question, to challenge, to expand on that which is presented; ’tis but a invitation to let your mind wander as it sees fit. And that in an environment which is devoid of time and space, where you are free to jump about as you wish, go back, rush forward. Stop.

 
 

Start again somewhere else

noiɈɔɘɿib bɘɈɔɘqxɘnυ nɒ ni ɘvoM

Discover new, uncharted, paths.

Thus whereas you can leave a TV programme or a podcast with new information on the subject at hand; you can leave a well organised exhibition not only with new information on the subject at hand, but with your thoughts immersed in a completely different subject and with your mind stimulated, receptive, restless.

And broad, receptive, questioning, unihibited, objective minds freed of definitives are very, very, important at this moment in global (hi)story.

Thus, get thee to an exhibition!

Our five recommendations for exiting the space-time continuum in April 2022 can be found in Essen, Brussels, Stockholm, Linz and Helsinki…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for April 2022

In December 1969 the Austrian TV station ORF broadcast a half-hour portrait of the architect Hans Hollein, including a presentation of Hollein’s Mobile Office project: essentially an inflatable plastic bubble in which one person could sit and work.

“Klingt vielleicht etwas verrückt”, mused the presenter, “sounds perhaps a bit crazy”.

And in 1969 a device, a construct, that allowed for the creation of a private domain in the midst of a public space, unquestionably did sound “etwas verrückt”.

And in 2022…….

Hans Hollein at work in his Mobile Office under the watchful eye of ORF

“It was one of those March days” reflects Philip “Pip” Pirrip in Great Expectations, “when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”.1

And thus exactly the sort of dithering, indecisive, capricious, March day when rather than surreptitiously rowing down the Thames towards Gravesend, one should seek refuge in the consistent climate and warming intellectual atmosphere of an architecture or design exhibition.

Our five Great exhibition Expectations for March 2022 can be found in Weil am Rhein, Brussels, Wolfsburg, Vienna and Ulm…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for March 2022

According to the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro February 7th marks the first day of spring.

Which strikes us, as we’re sure it does you, as a little early; however, there was reason in Varro’s bold claim, for Varro further sets February 7th as the start of the year, and for all links February 7th with the rising of the west wind, a favourable, warming wind, whose arrival indicates the need to start cultivating your land and crops, specifically Varro advises, “these are things which should be done in the first period, from the rising of the west wind to the vernal equinox: All kinds of nurseries should be set out, orchards pruned, meadows manured, vines trenched and outcropping roots removed, meadows cleared, willow beds planted, grain-land weeded.”1

But not just the cultivation of your land and crops is important from the rising of the west wind to the vernal equinox, the cultivation of mind and spirit and character is of equal importance.

Our five non-agrarian cultivation tips for February 2022 can be found in Halle, Garðabær, Paris, Stockholm and Zürich…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for february 2022 smow blog

According to Germanic folklore, “If January is frosty and cold, a green woodland will soon entice us”.

The implication being that a severe January is the necessary pre-requisite not only for a timeous spring bursting forth with new life, but also for a warm, (meteorologically) settled, summer.

But in the frost and cold and dark and endlessness of January that green (deciduous) woodland is still a long way off, is unimaginable, is unreachable, is almost mythical; however, protection, and distraction, from January can always be found in the warmth and stimulation and light of a good architecture or art or design exhibition.

Our five enticing shelters from the climatic vagaries of January 2022 can be found in Berlin, Humlebæk, Bloomfield Hills, Moscow and New York…….

5 New Architecture and Design Exhibitions January 2022