Category: Exhibitions and Shows


Somewhat disappointingly the authorities in the southern German town of Schwäbisch Gmünd have succumbed to the current unicorn lunacy and placed one in the town’s coat of arms.

But could the design students at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd be relied upon to resist such short term fads?

The 2017 Rundgang summer exhibition provided the answers…….

Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd @ Rektor-Klaus-Straße

The donkey, dog, cat and cockerel featured in the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the traditional folktale Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten never made to it to Bremen, never worked as musicians, and thus never enriched the cultural heritage of the Hansa port.

But would any of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen’s 2017 Integrated Design graduates augment the city’s long history?

Would any rise to the post of Bremer Stadtkreativen……?

Hochschule für Künste Bremen (Photo Hochschule für Künste Bremen)

Sited in the gentile calm of Pimlico, Chelsea College of Arts sits between the independent free-thinking of the Tate Britain, the original Tate with its collection of British and international art from 1500 until today, and the state control and surveillance of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in their unobtrusive bunker on the opposite bank of the Thames

But where would the conformity/rebellion equilibrium be found amongst the current crop of Chelsea students…….

Chelsea College of Arts, London. Tate Britain on the left, the College builing on the right

The 18th century forebearer of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart was established as a location “where the youth can be cultivated, likes plants in a nursery”

While nurseries can produce strong and noble trees, flowers with the most exquisite blossoms and hardy perennials that keep on contributing to their environment, they are also often home to unstable experimental hybrids and provide the perfect breeding ground for parasites and disease.

How well the current Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart nursery is being maintained could be assessed at the 2017 Rundgang summer exhibition……

Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart

Once upon a time there lived in Cassel two brothers by the name of Grimm. Legend has it that one day Jacob and Wilhelm, for that was their names, travelled to Marburg to become wealthy lawyers; however, instead of learning the basics of Roman law, jurisprudence and how to write huge invoices, they spent their days with the witches, kings, queens and elves of northern European folktales.

The people of Cassel were angry when the heard of the brothers’ activities, and a large crowd gathered to meet them on your return.

“Why do you waste your days with this romantic nonsense?”, they demand, for they were very aware of the cultural context of the period.

“It’s not romantic nonsense”, the brothers protested, “rather these stories contain the wisdom of previous generations, wisdom our current age has forgotten, yet which could help us not only better understand our current age, but also help us prepare for future ages.”

And then a wolf ate them.

Romantic dreamings? Contemporary reinterpretations of tradition? Or just autonomous vehicles and Apps that tell when you’ve had too much to drink or help you identify wicked stepmothers from their social media activity, what future folklore would the 2017 Kunsthochschule Kassel Rundgang present……

Kunsthochschule Kassel @ Rundgang 2017Kunsthochschule Kassel @ Rundgang 2017

Few materials can have claimed to have influenced architecture and design in quite the way plywood has.

And thereby remained as anonymous as plywood, easily overlooked in public and barely researched in an academic context as it is.

With the exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World, the V&A Museum London aim to redress both.

Plywood: Material of the Modern World at the V&A London

Jokes about revolting students are as old as the noble art of the student protest itself.

And neither has lost any of their charm.

The 2017 Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig Rundgang was held against the backdrop of a student protest over new regulations concerning, amongst other aspects, how and when the school buildings and workshops could be used.

But would there also be protest from our side over the way the students had used the buildings and workshops……..?

Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig

One of our standard claims is that whereas Dutch designers, generally, work conceptually, Belgian designers, generally, realise much more practical projects.

With the exhibition Occupation:Designer MAD Brussels present a small snippet of contemporary Brussels creativity, yet a presentation broad enough to convincingly contradict our position. And serve as a warning of the inherent dangers of sweeping generalisations.

Occupation:Designer, MAD Brussels

As part of their 50th anniversary celebrations Design School Kolding are staging the exhibition Beyond Icons – New perspectives on design, a showcase of 50 objects which presents a very personal interpretation of good design and thereby challenges popular conventions.

Beyond Icons - New perspectives on design at Koldinghus, Kolding

The Cass is situated in London’s Whitechapel, not far from the East London Mosque and in an area long a centre of London’s Muslim community. The day we visited the Cass Summer Show it was Eid al-Fitr, a festival of family, feasts and finery. The narrow streets of Whitechapel awash with smartly attired, good humoured locals, or possibly just smartly attired locals high on sugar, for Eid al-Fitr is also a festival of sweetness at the end of Ramadan.

Cakes and sweets as far as the eye could see. And far, far beyond.

But would we find any bonbons in the Cass Summer Show…….

Central House, home of the Cass, London

“What are you going to do this summer, Amory?”, Tom D’Invilliers asks of Amory Blaine in F Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.

“Don’t ask me”, comes the somewhat languid reply, “same old things, I suppose. A month or two in Lake Geneva — I’m counting on you to be there in July, you know — then there’ll be Minneapolis, and that means hundreds of summer hops, parlor-snaking, getting bored…..”

Sorry Amory, but you’ll have to survive the magnificence of Lake Geneva on your own, would have been our response. We’ve got new design and architecture exhibitions in London, Berlin, New York and Holon to visit!

But we’ll definitely catch up with you afterwards in Minneapolis for a bit hopping and parlor-snaking…….

5 New Design Exhibitions for June 2017

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue…..

Life is so simple as a child.

Yet whereas in almost all other respects the progression to adulthood is one of simplicity to complexity, in terms of our understanding of colour we never lose our inner child.

With the exhibition Breathing Colour at the Design Museum London the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius encourages us to sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow new.

Noon colour catchers, as seen at Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius, London Design Museum

In our recent interview with the Danish designer and author Thomas Dickson, he discussed the relevance of 1968 as a year of revolution in Danish design. Founded in 1967 Design School Kolding grew up against the background of that revolution.

An indication as to if that spirit lives on as the institution celebrates its 50th could be found at the 2017 Design School Kolding graduation exhibition.

Koldinghus Kolding. Location for New Perspectives on Design. Design School Kolding Graduate Exhibition 2017

She came from Greece, had a thirst for knowledge, studied sculpture at St Martins College and, according to Jarvis Cocker, had no understanding of the brutal realities of late 1980s British society.

Thirsty to know if the 2017 Central St Martins design graduates were more grounded in their contemporary reality, our 2017 #campustour headed to North London….

Central St Martins,London. The Granary

With the exhibition Panorama. A History of Modern Design in Belgium, the ADAM, Brussels Design Museum present an exploration of design in Belgium from the 1880s until the 1980s: and in doing so not only explain the development of design in Belgium, but provide for new understandings of that development.

"The Golden Age, as seen at Panorama. A History of Modern Design in Belgium, ADAM Brussels

It is fair to say that Malmö University wasn’t on our radar before we began our 2017 #campustour.

Which is in no way to detract from the institution, far from it, much more it highlights our ignorance. And also one of the aims of our tour, achieving a better understanding of contemporary European design education.

Form/Design Center Malmö

The exhibition Much More Than One Good Chair. Design & Society in Denmark at Felleshus Berlin explores the development of Danish design, and by extrapolation Danish society, since the end of the Second World War.

To find out a little more we spoke to the exhibition’s curator, the Danish designer and author Thomas Dickson.

Much More Than One Good Chair @ Felleshus Berlin

The Swedish town of Lund is famous as the birthplace of the Tetra Pak packaging system, and thus of a global revolution in food and drink distribution systems and consumption patterns.

If the new crop of Lund University School of Industrial Design graduation projects reached conclusions as simple, logical and resource efficient, if arguably, and ideally, without the associated post-use recycling problems, could be assessed at the institution’s 2017 Degree Exhibition.

Lund University School of Industrial Design Degree Exhibition 2017

As the apostle Paul once wrote to the people of Galatia, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The manifestation of that wisdom can be observed in the twisted reality of our contemporary farming and food production systems.

What we could, should, sow in order to reap a more sustainable and democratic future harvest, and for all the role our personal relationships’ to food plays in approaching such an answer, is explored in the exhibition Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrow’s Society at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.

Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrow’s Society at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Until Sunday June 4th state of Design, Berlin 2017 is presenting projects from over 80 international creatives, supported by films, lectures and workshops, in the Vollgutlager in Berlin-Neukölln.

Viewing the 2017 edition it occurred to us there is a lot of charming ambiguity about the name state of Design, Berlin…….

Folding Chair Arena by students from the Inside interior architecture masters course at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague. The main discussion forum at state of Design Berlin 2017

In northern hemispheres June marks the start of both astronomical and meteorological summer.

In southern hemispheres June marks the start of both astronomical and meteorological winter.

The one rejoices, the other laments …. and we don’t even notice, far too busy as we are perusing architecture and design exhibitions. Our five recommendations for June 2017 features new shows in Den Haag, Frankfurt, New York, Leipzig and Brussels.

5 New Design Exhibitions for June 2017

Inaugurated in 2016 state of Design Berlin is a festival which seeks to explore the experimental, critical, social character of design as much as present the industrial and commercial: and by extrapolation explain not only that design is all these things, but that the various aspects of design’s character needn’t be contradictory, far less conflicting or contrary.

The 2017 edition of state of Design Berlin opens on Thursday June 1st

state of design berlin 2017

’tis a curious thing time. It has accompanied our universe since the instant of its creation, has allowed for the development of our civil and social society, is the bedrock of our economic, industrial and commercial systems, guides us through every day, week, month, year, life.

Yet it is questionable if it actually exists.

And if it does exist. In what form? How can we visualise and document it? Does it have an inherent value?

Clues towards some possible answers are provided by the Designpreis Halle 2017 exhibition.

Designpreis Halle 2017. White

When we first viewed the exhibition Full House: Design by Stefan Diez at The Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne, it was was still being assembled. Objects were missing, set-ups not in their final composition, lights not yet properly positioned. As such we didn’t get to form an opinion on the final, complete, intended exhibition. Did however mange to take some truly awful photos.

Fortunately we have now had a second chance to view the exhibition.

And it is every bit as good as we assumed it would be from what we had seen.

Prototypes of the 404 collection by Stefan Diez for Thonet, as seen at Full House: Design by Stefan Diez, The Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne

With the exhibition Much More Than One Good Chair. Design & Society in Denmark, the Danish Embassy in Berlin present an exploration of the evolution of design in Denmark since 1945. And by extrapolation of the evolution of society in Denmark since 1945.

Much More Than One Good Chair @ Felleshus Berlin