A Michael; A Twist; A Portfolio of Patents
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be smow if it followed the rules and did that which you’d expected it to.
Thus it should have come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the inaugural Grassimesse smow-Designpreis produced not the expected one, but two, joint, co-winners: Budapest based designer Annabella Hevesi and her label Line and Round IO and Nürnberg based glassmaker Cornelius Réer…….
Established in Budapest in 2004 by textile designer Szilvia Szigeti and her interior designer husband Tamás Radnóti, Design Without Borders understands itself, and summarising to the point of inaccuracy, as a platform for international design dialogue across, or perhaps more accurately indifferent to, not only national borders but borders of genre, scale, approach, position et al.
By way of preparing for the platform’s forthcoming 20th birthday a showcase of projects presented, hosted, by Design Without Borders over the past two decades is being staged in context of Vienna Design Week 2023.
A presentation that allows some insights into the aforementioned understandings of itself, and also access to some reflections on the realities of contemporary design in Europe…….
The popular Bauhaus focus, preoccupation, of discussions on creativity in the 1920s very naturally leads to us all ignoring other important protagonists, causes us all, when oft unwittingly, to miss other equally valid, and enjoyable, paths to appreciations of developments in craft, design, technology and our objects of daily use in the early decades of the 20th century, that important, and still very relevant, period where handwork increasingly ceded to industry.
With Haël. Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein and her workshops for decorative ceramics 1923-1934 the Bröhan Museum, Berlin, helps one locate, and begin to explore, one of those regularly overlooked paths and thereby allows one to begin to develop those more probable appreciations…….
A Confoederatio; A Range; A Context
For all that the Schwarzwald is popularly known for its cuckoo clocks, as Mythos SABA – Memories of a Global Company at the Franziskanermuseum, Villingen-Schwenningen, helps elucidate, such aren’t the only noise emitting precision technical objects, nor indeed the only harmonies, rhythms, melodies and metres, associated with the (hi)story of, and the cultural contribution of, the Schwarzwald.
If alternative noise emitting precision technical objects and alternative harmonies, rhythms, melodies and metres that are all too often masked by the call of the cuckoo.
And also an elucidation, an enunciation, of the alternatives by the Franziskanermuseum that begins, somewhat inevitably, with clocks…….
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…….
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…….
When is an ironing board, not an ironing board?
When it’s Cinderella by Anna Kraitz for Design House Stockholm.
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…….
A Gulf; A Commonwealth; A Context
A Nils Holger; An Autodidact; A Restlessness
“For men who have to write a lot, and over prolonged periods, a desk at which they can work standing up is an indispensable piece of furniture for altering their posture and for maintaining their health”, opined Journal der Moden in May 1786. An age when, famously, only men wrote.
Yet advantageous and positive as standing to write was, prolonged standing could, as Journal der Moden notes, lead to tiredness.
A solution was however at hand for all who preferred working at a standing height desk over a prolonged period: a chair, “or a so called donkey … on which one sits as if on a saddle, and which must be just high enough that one can sit half-standing…”1
A half-standing sitting solution whose nickname can be readily derived from the proposed sitting position.
And a half-standing sitting solution that for all it is thoroughly familiar today, was novel, one could almost argue revolutionary, and even enlightened, in 1786…….