Category: Producer


The Historia Supellexalis J for Jongerius

Jongerius

A Hella; A Lab; An Open-ended exploration

“Dear Architect” wrote Maria Chinaglia Ponti in 1967 to the architect, but no relation, Gio Ponti, “why don’t you design us some modern furniture? Daddy Walter is worried because our traditional stuff is not selling as it used to”.1

An unsolicited request, from a company of whom he’d never heard, an architect of the status of a late 1960s Gio Ponti could have turned down, it wasn’t as if a late 1960s Gio Ponti needed the commission; however, something about the letter from Maria Chinaglia Ponti interested, intrigued, Gio Ponti. Beyond the shared surname. For as he continues, in his recounting of the tale, “Ci vado“.

“I went to see them”…….

Gabriella Chair by Gio Ponti for Walter Ponti

The Historia Supellexalis: "I" for Italy

Italy

A Peninsula; A Commonwealth; A Context

“…one only finds warmth of life and sincerity where human nature is allowed to flourish”, opined the German designer Erich Dieckmann in 1931, “one shouldn’t forget that in our apartments. Let’s treat our contemporary homes to something humane. Something unelaborate, something provisional, with some leeway and space for things to grow as they wish over time.”1

With the exhibition Chairs: Dieckmann! The Forgotten Bauhäusler Erich Dieckmann, the Kunststiftung des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt and Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin extend an invitation to explore how Erich Dieckmann understood an unelaborate, humane, contemporary apartment full of leeway and space to grow…….

Chairs: By Dieckmann!, as seen at Chairs: Dieckmann! The Forgotten Bauhäusler Erich Dieckmann, Neuwerk 11, Halle

In 1922 the Scottish novelist J.M. Barrie told the undergraduates at St. Andrews University “you remember someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”, an allusion to the summer of your life filling your darkening winter days with colour and aroma, and an analogy he neatly reinforces a little later with a, “you have June coming”.1

But that was 1922. Roses were seasonal. Today roses are available all year round, which is not only symbolic of the short-sighted idiocy with which we’re intent on destroying our planet, but also means the rose has been reduced from a metaphor that can be so poignantly and joyously employed as Barrie did, to a cheap, stereotypical, derivative trope devoid of real meaning.

Not that a century later we can’t all do things to ensure that as we progress down life’s highway, as we all approach our own, personal, December, we do so with our emotional and mental capacities fully stimulated and finely honed. Amongst the most rewarding method of which is the regular visit to architecture or design exhibitions: spaces, experiences, whose intellectual and cultural stimulation and nourishment mean that it can be forever June.

Our five new Junes blooming forth in the non-metaphoric December 2021, can be found in Vienna, New York, Düsseldorf, Kanazawa and Paris.

And as ever in these times, if you are planning visiting any exhibition please familiarise yourself in advance with the current ticketing, entry, safety, hygiene, cloakroom, etc rules and systems. And during your visit please stay safe, stay responsible, and above all, stay curious……

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for December 2021

The Historia Supellexalis G for Grcic

Grcic

A Konstantin; A Nurturing; A Reduction

The Historia Supellexalis: “F” for Front Design

Front

An Anna; A Sofia; A Charlotte; A Katja; A Conduit.

We published our first exhibition recommendations list in November 2013, and have diligently, and joyfully, ended every month since with a list of five architecture and design related exhibitions opening in the coming month that appear worthy of a recommendation.

A tradition we very much planned to continue in July 2021 for August 2021.

And would have; however, having undertaken our regular tour through our database of international museums and galleries, we can find but two exhibitions opening in August 2021 we, in all good conscience, can recommend. And while we don’t always stick religiously to the 5 in months of scarcity, 2 is… 2 few. And so we’ll find another way to integrate them into the blog.

August is always slow for new exhibitions, primarily because, and certainly in the USA and Europe, everyone is on holiday; however, we get the feeling that August 2021’s paucity is related to the realities of the past few months.

Any exhibition is the result of years of planning, years of planning that never feels quite long enough, and events such as a Covid pandemic that eats into that limited time have a very real effect on the preparation and realisation of exhibitions; meaning that all museums have been forced to reschedule their programmes, a rescheduling that in addition to a great many, and regrettable, cancellations has seen many museums extend the runs of those exhibitions that are open until the accrued losses in time can be made good.

And which, we very much get the feeling, means many museums are waiting for autumn 2021 (northern hemisphere)/spring 2021 (southern hemisphere) to launch new exhibitions, to re-set their programmes and planning schedules. Which means that for September 2021 and October 2021 we may very well get two lists for each month. All going to plan.

But means for August 2021, rather than 5 new openings… 32 architecture and design exhibitions already running that are, or certainly appear to be, worthy of a recommendation.

And as ever in these times, if you are planning visiting any exhibition please familiarise yourself in advance with the current ticketing, entry, safety, hygiene, cloakroom, etc rules and systems. And during your visit please stay safe, stay responsible, and above all, stay curious……

32 new-ish Architecture & Design Exhibitions for August 2021

What is a chair?

You sure?

With the exhibition Chairs. For children only! the Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig, explore the (hi)story of and developments in children’s seating, and in doing so not only allow for insights into an all too often undervalued, underappreciated, ignored, genre of furniture, but also forces you to reconsider your response to what you thought was a very, very straightforward question…

Chairs. For children only!, Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig

Braun occupy a special, ¿unique?, position not only in the mythology of product design but also in the (hi)story of West Germany; arguably no brand is as closely related with and to West Germany as Braun.

With the exhibition Braun 100 the Bröhan-Museum, Berlin, explore the development of design at Braun in the post-War decades and in doing so help one approach differentiated understandings of not only Braun and Braun design, but also of the relationships between Braun, design and West Germany…….

Braun 100, Bröhan-Museum, Berlin

“In his work the designer seeks to find the constancy of the good”, wrote Karl Clauss Dietel in 1973, a lightly articulated yet not so straightforward task for, as he continues, not only is the assessment of such dependent on a myriad varying factors, but “the search for what defines design, what it grows from, where it comes from and where it wants to go, takes on new dimensions against the background of our cultural upheaval”.1

With the exhibition Simson, Diamant, Erika. Formgestaltung von Karl Clauss Dietel the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz allow insights into not only how Karl Clauss Dietel understood “what defines design, what it grows from, where it comes from and where it wants to go” but how those understandings aided and abetted him in his own search for, understanding of, “the constancy of the good”…….

Simson Diamant Erika. Formgestaltung von Karl Clauss Dietel, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz

The Historia Supellexalis E for England

England

An Island; A Notion; A Context

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it is always June”, ponders Anne Shirley in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1915 novel Anne of the Island.

“You’d get tired of it”, sighs her adoptive mother Marilla Cuthbert by way of reply.

“I daresay”, responds Anne, “but just now I feel that it would take me a long time to get tired of it…”

Thoughts we very much concur with as we survey and contemplate the varied profusion of new architecture and design exhibitions sprouting forth in June 2021. Who could ever tire of such a joyous abundance? Who?

Our five recommendations from that early summer crop can be found in Leipzig, Hornu, Berlin, Bloomfield Hills and Chemnitz…….

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for June 2021

In 1935 George Nelson opined that “the history of art in Italy presents the astonishing spectacle of a series of men who knew no boundaries between the arts”; a history, a tradition, Nelson saw continued into 1930s Italy through “the cheering example of Gio Ponti, who found early in life that no one profession was sufficient to use up his energy or exhaust his interests, and added others with the nonchalance of a small boy increasing his collection of marbles”.1

A borderless, inexhaustible collection of marbles explored and discussed in the new Gio Ponti monograph from TASCHEN Verlag……

Gio Ponti, with two Superleggera chairs (Photo Dan Wynn © Gio Ponti Archives/Historical Archive of Ponti’s Heirs, courtesy Taschen Verlag)

As the title of Hella Jongerius’s 2016 book I don’t have a favourite colour succinctly explains, Hella Jongerius doesn’t have a favourite colour.

Not that Hella Jongerius is indifferent about colours.

Far from it.

And in explaining why colours are important to her, and why she doesn’t have a favourite colour, Hella Jongerius helps one approach a better understanding not only of colours, nor only of our relationships with and to colours, but also helps one approach a better understanding of the functionalities of colour…….

The Polder Sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra.... Proof, were it needed, that Hella Jongerius doesn't have a favourite colour.....

As the 19th century English poet Robert Browning so very, very, nearly phrased it:

Oh, to be in Berlin, Vienna, Chemnitz, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, or Berlin (again),
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in Berlin, Vienna, Chemnitz, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, or Berlin (again),
Sees, some morning a most interesting, entertaining and instructive sounding architecture and/or design exhibition,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough……

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for April 2021

The Historia Supellexalis: "B" for Bouroullec

Bouroullec

A Ronan; An Erwan; An unassuming, poetic, connection.

In 1936 Aino Aalto opined that “homes can be given interior design in other ways than before – not by buying expensive complete suites of furniture, but by concentrating on low-cost furnishings which can be used – with the aid of flowers, carpets, drapery and colours – to create hitherto more practical and more comfortable homes.”1

A break not only with the understandings, the ways, of generations long past in terms of what constitutes appropriate furniture; but also a break with the ways of many of the functionalist modernist practitioners of the immediately preceding decade in terms of what constitutes an interior design.

And an opinion, an understanding, which underscores why Aino Aalto stands as an important moment in the (hi)story of interior and furniture design…..

Aino Aalto (1894 - 1949)

artemide design

Artemide

A Phaesporia; A bringer of light.

The so-called Bielefeld Conspiracy asserts that the German city of Bielefeld doesn’t exist.

Have you ever been to Bielefeld?, it asks.

Do you know anyone who has ever been to Bielefeld?

Do you know anyone from Bielefeld?

If your answer to all three questions is no…….. how do you know Bielefeld exists?

A similar conspiracy could be built around Gertrud Kleinhempel, one of Germany’s first professional furniture designers and who for the greater part of her career was active in Bielefeld.

Or was, assuming Bielefeld exists. And assuming Gertrud Kleinhempel exists.

For have you ever seen any work by Gertrud Kleinhempel, do you know anyone who has seen any work by Gertrud Kleinhempel, have you ever seen Gertrud Kleinhempel on the helix of furniture design?

If your answer to all three questions is no……..

Gertrud Kleinhempel (1875 - 1948)

“Only slowly does it dawn on people that modern furniture must be designed on the basis of practical necessities”, observed the Danish architect and designer Kaare Klint in 1930.1

How Kaare Klint understood those “practical necessities”, how he understood “modern furniture”, would not only define his career, but in many regards define the development of 20th century furniture design in Denmark.

Kaare Klint (1888 - 1954)

“The placing of foam mattresses, spring mattresses, and the like, on bed frames made of wood or metal is familiar”, notes a July 1966 patent application, and it was. However, it continues, “bed frames of this type are heavy, continually take up one and the same space in a room, must be dismantled if they are to be moved to a new location, and represent a major obstacle in context of cleaning the bedroom.”1

Which, certainly in the early 1960s, they were and did.

But what is one to do?

Verner Panton had an idea.

An idea that may not count amongst his better known projects, but is a project that allows one to approach a better understanding of the work and career of Verner Panton…….

Lost Furniture Design Classics: The Panton Bed

In 1977 the German designer Luigi Colani demanded a “renaissance of Art Nouveau”1

What he meant, why he meant it, and if it is something we should all fear, can be explored and considered in the exhibition Luigi Colani and Art Nouveau at the Bröhan-Museum, Berlin…….

Luigi Colani and Art Nouveau at the Bröhan-Museum, Berlin

Hvis jeg får et nyt liv, vil jeg være gartner“, opined once the Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen.

“If I have another life, I want to be a gardener”

Not that, as Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark at Trapholt, Kolding, would tend to imply, he made an incorrect career choice…..

Arne Jacobsen - Designing Denmark, Trapholt, Kolding

“Wij hebben de nieuwe wereld te scheppen” wrote a, then, 19 year old Mart Stam in 1919.1

“We have to create the new world”

And subsequently spent the following decades developing, explaining and demonstrating his understandings of what that meant……

Mart Stam (1899 - 1986)