Gestures belong to the oldest of human actions and interactions. Have accompanied mankind through good times and bad, through its innumerate technical, cultural and social revolutions.
And are so intuitive, we are often barely aware of them.
With the exhibition Gestures – Past, Present and Future, the Sächsische Industriemuseum Chemnitz explores not only the (hi)story and importance of gestures, but for all their role in our smart, digital, autonomous futures.
Visitors to the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig have long been able to rest on Jasper Morrison’s Vitra Bench, an object liberally distributed throughout the museum complex.
With the exhibition Thingness the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig offers visitors a deeper insight into Jasper Morrison’s oeuvre, and creative processes.
As any fule kno, an echo requires a surface off which to reflect.
Otherwise it is just shouting into the void.
With the exhibition Echoes – 100 Years in Finnish Design and Architecture at the Felleshus, Berlin, that reflective surface is the traditions, cultures and landscapes of north-east Europe.
When we spoke with designer Patrick Frey in context of our #campustour, the plan was quite simply to discuss contemporary design education; however, the natural flow of the conversation took us in a raft of interesting directions, including his experiences as a freelance designer, the question of development payments in the furniture industry and the background to his and Markus Boge’s joint diploma project, a project in many regards personified by the tables Kant and Marketing.
Modular lighting is a seldom encountered genre, and when it is encountered, then invariably in a very technical form, a form that implies the computer software has taken a greater role in the creative process than the designers understanding of form-giving,
There are however exceptions…..
While figuratively “blowing the roof off” is arguably an aim of every design festival; physically having your roof blown off is not.
Sadly that is what happened to Designblok Prague 2017; Storm Herwart, when not completely de-roofing the Art Deco Palace of Industry which hosted the event, causing damage sufficient to force organisers the cancel the last two days of the five day festival.
A situation not only unfortunate and irksome for the organisers and exhibitors, but disappointing all those who had planned spending the Sunday and/or Monday at the event.
Does however give the organisers a relevant and fitting theme for Designblok Prague 2018 …… but before we get there, our Designblok Prague 2017 High 5!!
Although as an event Dutch Design Week has always had a focus on presenting design in context, design in practice, our feeling is that of late that focus has intensified, something we thoroughly approve of as it helps make tangible that design is, can be, more than pretty objects; does however mean that you increasingly need to take more time with you to Eindhoven. Or accept that you are going to miss a lot of, potentially, interesting and thought provoking presentations.
Necessity meant that this year we followed option two.
But that still left us more than enough time to discover projects to get cross about, be confused by or simply quietly admire.
Or indeed vocally admire: our Dutch Design Week 2017 High Five!!
Like gardens mottled with the vibrant leaves of autumn, so too is November 2017 bestrewn with a multicoloured carpet of new design and architecture exhibitions. We could have published three such lists, seriously considered it …. have however instead taken the opportunity to bring our monthly recommendations average up to where it should be. Five.
Back in August we only had four new recommendations, and so to compensate summer’s shortfall, here we present six, technically seven. Although it could have been 15.
Which all of course means you, dear reader, have no excuse for not visiting a new design or architecture exhibition, for wherever you may be, there is one opening near you. So get out there and start raking up those leaves exhibitions!!!
“Marcel Breuer seeing a pair of bicycle handle-bars decided to make chairs using the same industrial process”, notes Jasper Morrison in his text, The Poet will not Polish, “the new world constructor seeing a pair of bicycle handle-bars decides to use them as they are and save himself the trouble and expense of bending the tube.”*
On seeing an aluminium tube, Eindhoven based studio OS ∆ OOS followed, in many respects, a similar logic. The result is the Tunnel collection.
Algorithms as dance, a tactile architecture guide and a future-proof flat sharing platform.
On Thursday October 26th the winners of the 2017 Kölner Design Preis were unveiled at a ceremony in the city’s Museum für Angewandte Kunst, MAKK; and where until Sunday November 19th the three winning, and all nominated, projects, can be viewed in a specially conceived Kölner Design Preis 2017 exhibition.
As we believe we’ve noted before, the joy in that exhibition format in which designers present objects which are important and/or relevant to them, is that no matter how often it is repeated it is always new.
Same, same, but different.
For their 2017 show Dutch Invertuals are presenting collections of objects from 45 alumni which have an importance to/relevance for them, or which simply represent an object of wonder and inspiration to the relevant designer. And because it’s Dutch Invertuals they have taken things a step further and each collection is also the starting point for the development a personal container.
Exposing yourself and then using that as the basis for visibly enclosing yourself. A double encapsulation, If you will.
“The problem of the construction of affordable housing for the lowest earning sections of the population is currently a primary concern in almost all civilized countries.”
Thus invited the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne to their second congress, a three day event which opened on Thursday October 24th 1929 in the Palmengarten Frankfurt am Main, and which saw some of the leading protagonists of inter-war architecture discuss potential solutions for that most primary of concerns.
The success of the Frankfurt congress can perhaps be best summed up by the contemporary relevance of the invitation.
The Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne, ECAL, isn’t actually in Lausanne, but the community of Renens on the western edge of Lausanne.
Édith Piaf famously opined that, je ne regrette rien, but how many of this year ECAL graduates would be singing, je regrette Renens?
Or perhaps better put, how many of this year’s graduates would Renens regrette?
To gauge the mood, we anchored on the shores of Lac Léman to visit the 2017 ECAL Graduation Show………
As regular readers will be well aware, here at smow blog HQ we’re very much of the opinion that fashion isn’t design. Never was. Never will be. Design, and without wanting to wade too deep into the definition quagmire, arose from applied craft/applied art, fashion is applied craft/applied art. And so while unquestionably a creative discipline, isn’t design. Neither is Graphic.
Design can however inspire and influence fashion, past decades recalling numerous occasions of fashion houses being motivated by designers’ works, a particularly apposite recent example being the news that Swiss fashion house Akris have based their Spring/Summer 2018 collection on the works of Alexander Girard, news which motivated us to retrieve a few classic items from the smow blog wardrobe……
Ukrainian designers haven’t featured often in these pages.
And may never have, had it not been for the exhibition Transformation staged at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre during Paris Design Week 2017
Aachen is famous for its Cathedral, its Rathaus, as a sedes regia, Royal seat, and coronation location of Germanic monarchs for 600 years, and its confectionery.
But for its design?
The network Designmetropole Aachen aim to change that, through both promoting the work of Aachen based designers in exhibitions and events, and also through being a network, a variagted structure in which local creatives support local creatives. Among Designmetropole Aachen’s current projects is as co-curators of the exhibition LuForm – The Design Department at the Ludwig Forum Aachen, an exhibition which has just received its fourth Update.
To find out more about LuForm, and creativity in and around Aachen, we met up with Designmetropole Aachen co-initiator Fabian Seibert.
Just as the Eamsien adage proclaims that “the details are not the details; they make the product”, so too are a design school’s teaching staff not the teaching staff, they make the school.
Consequently, it follows that to better understand not only an individual institution, but also both the wider contemporary condition, and possible future directions, of design education, it is important to talk to, and understand, design school teaching staff; both those full-time Professors, and also those practising designers who have accepted the responsibility of instructing future generations.
Practising designers such as Patrick Frey, Assistant Professor at the Hochschule Hannover.
Whereas most design schools stage their annual exhibition at the end of the summer semester, there are exceptions, such as the Folkwang Universität der Künste, Essen, who present theirs just before the start of the winter semester.
And so nigh on three months after all others have ended.
Because, one wonders, they fear its brilliant glow would place all other schools in its shade, and they want to remain fair to their colleagues elsewhere? Because they have something to hide, and hope by waiting till October no one will visit?
Our #campustour may have long since been parked up for 2017, but keen to learn more we cranked it up and set course for Germany’s Ruhrgebiet…….
“October is the month of painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight” ‡
Before Henry David Thoreau’s twilight comes, our five painted leaves, flashing their rich glow round the world from Nürnberg, Lausanne, Hamburg, Eindhoven and Barcelona.
As regular readers will be aware, for us there is little more elegant and logical than the modular shelving system.
And in the variety of systems developed, little which better illustrates both the multitude of options available for the seemingly most simple of functionalities, and thereby the talent required, or perhaps function, of the designer in developing something meaningful, interesting and, ideally, attractive.
Of late we have seen several interesting new modular shelving propositions, Arronde by Camille Ravanel being one of the more pleasing.
Having grown up near Quimper, Brittany, Ronan Bouroullec moved to Paris in 1989 to study industrial design; since when the French capital has not only witnessed him complete his studies, but establish a studio, achieve his first commercial success and together with his brother Erwan develop projects for a roster of international clients including, and amongst many others, Vitra, Magis, Flos, Kvadrat and Samsung, in addition to realising numerous collaborations with Galerie kreo.
We met up with Ronan Bouroullec to discuss Paris, his experiences in, and relationship with the city, but somehow the conversation kept drifting outwith the city limits…..
Paris Design Week is largely about brand in-store and similar PR driven presentations. An extension if you will of Maison et Objet into the city, and thus predictably prosaic.
Throughout the city there are/were stimulating and challenging presentations to be found and interesting designers and manufacturers to be discovered and enjoyed.
Among the new discoveries we made at Paris Design Week 2017 was Paris based studio woodmade.
Back in June 2016 we included the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch’s exhibition Nacho Carbonell – On the Origin of Pieces amongst our five new architecture and design exhibition recommendations, noting that, for us, the exhibition appeared to offer “an excellent opportunity to, finally, get to know the man and his work. And for all to understand his cocoon constructions, works which terrify us as much as they fascinate us.”
We sadly never did make it to On the Origin of Pieces; however, the exhibition Living Organisms at the Horta Museum Brussels offers an equally good, if slightly less fulsome, opportunity to achieve the same.
Designers are prone to spending inordinate amounts of time shaving a millimetre of a surface thickness. Or trying to increase the distance between two points by a couple of millimetres. Occupations which to the uninitiated can appear just a tick obsessive. In how far however relatively small changes of scale, differences of a few millimetres, can alter not only the physical appearance of a product, but the very character of a product, was elegantly explained by Danish manufacturer Houe at spoga+gafa Cologne 2017.
And that such changes can also have an aural impact, a Click becoming a Clip.
Whereas other cities get by with a design week, Brussels has a whole month: which shouldn’t be taken as an indication Brussels is four times more design than say Milan, Eindhoven or Vienna.
It just takes its time. Doesn’t rush. It is Belgium after all ……
For Brussels Design September 2017 MAD Brussels is hosting Belgitude & The New Belgians, two exhibitions of contemporary product design curated by the federal platform Belgium is Design.