According to Germanic folklore, A cold and wet June spoils the whole year.
For farmers possibly, but not for the rest of us, as a cold, wet June is a perfect excuse to visit an architecture or design exhibition, an experience that can only enrich and enliven and invigorate the rest of the not only your year, but your life.
Our recommendations for new showcases opening in June 2023 can be found in Värnamo, Ljubljana, East Lansing, Vienna and Ulm…….
An oak; A cultural good; A material
In the northern Hemisphere May is a month of ritual; rituals primarily associated with the awakening of nature, the approaching of summer with the associated hope of a successful and bountiful harvest. And rituals which include, amongst many others, maypoles in various contexts, bonfires for various reasons and a myriad dances, including the traditional English children’s dance/game Nuts in May, with its repetition of the line “Here we come gathering nuts in May”… which obviously raises the pertinent question, which nuts can, could, should one gather in England in May? Or indeed anywhere in northern Europe in May? Are they not all a bit underdeveloped in May? Is gathering nuts in late summer, early autumn not a more worthwhile experience? As squirrels do.
So, children and adults alike, don’t waste your time looking for edible nuts in May and invest your time instead in visiting an architecture and/or design exhibition and thereby gathering fresh perspectives and insights in May.
Our five recommendations for new shows opening in May 2023 can be found in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Helsinki, Friedrichshafen and, once again, Rotterdam…….
“My work was… How would I put it?”, asks Yrjö Kukkapuro.
“Constant contemplation” he answers.1
With the exhibition Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room Espoo Museum of Modern Art, EMMA, invite us all to contemplate on Yrjö Kukkapuro’s contemplations…….
The 2023 edition of the Grassimesse Leipzig will see the inaugural awarding of the €2,500 smow-Designpreis. The first dedicated design prize in the institution’s long (hi)story. Entries are open until Friday May 12th.
But what if that first Grassimesse smow-Designpreis had been awarded not in 2023, but 1923?
Who might have won?
Who would the 1923 Grassimesse jury have selected from the many possible candidates?
A smow Blog fantasy final four…….
It is, we’d argue, fair to say that most people in western Europe still have a very stereotypical, skewed, if not prejudiced view of late 20th century design in and from those nations that form the eastern half of the European continent.
With Retrotopia. Design for Socialist Spaces the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, in cooperation with numerous museums and institutions from across eastern Europe, provide an introduction to post-War 20th century architecture and design in and from Croatia, the Czech Republic, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine, and in doing so invite us all to begin to approach more probable and more meaningful positions……
What is the popular understanding of the contribution of women to the mural of design (hi)story?
Thus, and with very good reason, and a degree of necessity, urgency even, the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur invite us all to consider The Bigger Picture…….
Although the etymology of “April” is lost in the mists of time, one of the more likely, and more satisfying, theories as to its origins is to be found in the Latin verb aperire, to open, which itself can be considered as being, possibly, related to the ancient Greek ἄνοιξις, ánoixis, opening. And thus the very obvious connotations to spring springing forth in April, to the natural world opening for another season.
What is much better recorded are the new architecture and design exhibitions apertio and ἄνοιξις in April 2023. Springing forth in April 2023.
Our five recommendations from those many new springtime blooms can be found in Zürich, Weil am Rhein, Paris, Hasselt and Dresden…….
Amongst the great many things the experiences of the last couple of years have brought to the fore, and have unequivocally reinforced, is the importance to humans, collectively and individually, of outdoor spaces; not just for fresh air, movement, relaxation and physical well-being, but also for mental well-being.
With Garden Futures. Designing with Nature the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, explore the garden as such an outdoor space, and also as a cultural space, as a design space, as a social space, as a political space and in doing so allow for reflections and considerations on not only gardens but humanity’s wider relationships with the natural world…….
An Île; A Commune; A Context
The return of an old favourite, and no not (smow) introducing, although Welcome Back!!!, but the Rowac-Schemel, the Rowac stool, a work initially launched in 1909 as one of the world’s first sheet steel furniture objects, a work that once graced not only innumerable industrial workshops, craft ateliers and educational institutes, but the workshops and ateliers at Bauhauses Weimar and Dessau, a work that became lost in the confusions of post-War eastern Germany.
A work returning in 2023, some 80 years after production ended: and that from and in its native Chemnitz.
And via a Kickstarter crowdfunding project.
To find out more we caught up with Alide and Dieter Amick from Rowac…….
“March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know”,
opined once the American poet Emily Dickinson.1
Easily enough resolved!!!
And no, not by “Persons of prognostication”, whom one should definitely always “show becoming firmness”; but by visiting an architecture or design exhibition and approaching that which you don’t know via your own inquiry and questioning and reasoning.
Our five recommended locations for transforming expectations into knowledge in March 2023 can be found in Berlin, Espoo, New York, Nyköping and Weil am Rhein…….
When is an ironing board, not an ironing board?
When it’s Cinderella by Anna Kraitz for Design House Stockholm.
As any fule kno Italy has a long (hi)story in and of architecture, whereby it is predominately a (his)story of architecture: with Buone Nuove. Women Changing Architecture the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Stockholm, offer an introduction to an alternative narrative.
And to alternative futures…….
“Design”, opined textile designer Bernat Klein in 1976, “means to enjoy the exploration of new possibilities. It means to take pleasure in finding new solutions to old problems; or to have fun juggling with a number of old solutions until they suddenly click and coalesce into one, beautiful, new solution”.1
With the exhibtion Bernat Klein. Design in Colour the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, allow insights into how Klein explored, discovered and juggled. And the new possibilities and new solutions that thereby arose…….
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…….
Our recent reflections on the La Fonda bar stool by Charles and Ray Eames, and also our recent reflections on Goethe’s Donkey, Goethe’s chair “just high enough that one can sit half-standing”, got us very naturally thinking a lot about stools of all types, the various and varied places one meets stools, the various and varied manners via which stools interact with and contribute to our daily lives, the (hi)story and development of the stool, in particular in context of the (hi)stories and developments of global societies; and also the cultural and social relevance of the stool, and the stool figurative, the stool metaphoric……
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…….
The Swiss Design Lounge on the first floor of the Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich, is home to selected works by the good and great of 20th and 21st century Swiss furniture, lighting and textile design, including, and amongst many others, Bruno Rey, Ubald Klug, Hans Eichenberger or Susi and Ueli Berger, works which not only stand in discourse with one another but also actively invite visitors to try them out, to spend time with them, to get to know them; and while you are, and while you enjoy yourself, while your making new friends, from outside, works by Willy Guhl, thick with the lichen and moss that rolling stones don’t gather, gaze through the windows on this scene of domestic harmony and mutual appreciation.
One could be forgiven for imagining that the scenography was in some way a comment on, a metaphor for, Willy Guhl’s place in the (hi)story of design: outside, on the periphery, faded by the merciless passage of time.
Viewing the Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich’s, exhibition Willy Guhl. Thinking with Your Hands, enables a differentiated perspective, on both Willy Guhl and on the Swiss Design Lounge…….