According to Germanic lore, “ein guter Septemberregen kommt nie ungelegen“, a good rain in September is never inopportune.

This year arguably more so than ever.

Similarly a good architecture and design exhibition in September is never inopportune.

And, and keeping with rain metaphors, while we can all remember what rain is, September 2018, sees a proper downpour of new architecture and design exhibitions. A downpour that is particularly opportune. Following July’s drought and its meagre 4 recommendations we have a ongoing deficit of one in our annual quota, the current deluge however means that for September 2018 we can present 6.

And so grab your umbrellas and take yourselves to an architecture and/or design exhibition this September. Our recommendations can be found in Kolding, Munich, London, Herford, Moscow and Weil am Rhein……..

5 new Architecture & Design Exhibitions September 2018

Following smow Lisboa’s surprise victory in the 2017 smow Song Contest, the Portuguese capital is preparing to host the 2018 song contest: a contest being staged very much in context of the contemporary relevance of smow’s historic connections….

smow song contest 2018

The only FAQ not answered by the smow FAQs is the one that begins, “What is smow……..?”

And as smow grows and grows so too does the F with which the Q is A’d.

The answer in one sense is very simple, smow trade in furniture, lighting and home/office accessories through a series of showrooms and online shops. But that only partly explains “smow”. Doesn’t explain the how, who, why and wherefore. Nor the richness. Explaining the true smow is in many respects best achieved by exploring another trading institution whose superficial simplicity hides its true depth of character ….. The Hanseatic League.

Then as now the way to the top was difficult, but a challenge the succesful traders didn't shy away from.....

In front of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich stands a Futuro House by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, a work realised in 1968 as his response to considerations on questions concerning our future society.

And an object which resembles a flying saucer. And arguably does so more now than it did then. Then it was a bright new future enabled by contemporary technology: now it is a piece of late 1960s science fiction.

Inspired by the Futuro House 28 students from the Industrial Design and Architecture Master’s degree programs at the Technische Universität München undertook their own considerations on questions concerning our future society.

The results of their deliberations are presented in the exhibition 50|50. Die Welt 2068.

Futuro House by Matti Suuronen @ the Pinakothek der Moderne Munich

In context of the renovation of the historic Falkenhütte alpine hut, Munich based StudioFaubel were commissioned to develop a formally appropriate, contemporary lighting solution.

During Munich Creative Business Week 2018 the Alpines Museum Munich are presenting with Gentiana Alba – Tradition und Design, not only the result of that commission, but an insight into the development process.

Gentiana Alba by StudioFaubel, as seen at Tradition und Design, Alpines Museum Munich

It is arguably just us, but we firmly believe that there are ever more design students studying ever more design degrees in ever more design schools, which (potentially) means ever more designers. In itself no bad thing: assuming that is that what they learn is relevant for the ever evolving nature of not only the design profession, but the society they will/should serve.

To better gauge the current situation of design education in Europe we embarked in 2017 on our #campustour, an ongoing exercise which involves not only visiting design schools but for all speaking to some of those responsible for teaching the coming generation of designers.

Among them Professor Florian Petri from the Department of Design at the Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München.

Florian Petri, Professor for Industrial Design Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a ticket for a design exhibition.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two tickets for two design exhibitions, and a ticket for a design exhibition.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…… You get the idea.

Our five goohoold rings for December 2017 are new architecture and design exhibitions in Winterthur, Barcelona, New York, Munich and Moscow.

5 New Design Exhibitions for December 2017

Back in the day one of the joys of reading the British Yellow Pages was the entry for Boring: “See Civil Engineers”*

Oh how we laughed! And still do!

Partly to counter such negative associations, partly to explain what Civil Engineers do, and partly to explain just how fundamentally that what Civil Engineers do has contributed to our contemporary society, and the multitude of possibilities available to us, whether we choose to take them or not, the Oskar von Miller Forum Munich is staging the exhibition Visionäre und Alltagshelden. Ingenieure – Bauen – Zukunft.

Visionäre und Alltagshelden. Ingenieure – Bauen – Zukunft @ the Oskar von Miller Forum Munich

Can innovation be an end to itself? Are we living in excess? Do things bewilder and inspire us still? Does a museum collection inevitably lose its link to reality as time goes by? What is good design?

The exhibition Hella Jongerius & Louise Schouwenberg – Beyond the New at Die Neue Sammlung Munich poses a lot of questions.

Questions which needn’t necessarily find answers, but which should serve as inspiration and motivation to further questions, and thus a deeper discourse on design.

Hella Jongerius & Louise Schouwenberg - Beyond the New, Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, Munich

In 2018 the Hochschule München Design Department will move a few hundred metres round the corner from its current home, a home it has occupied for over forty years, to a new purpose built facility opposite the main college building; consequently, the 2017 Jahresausstellung was one of the last chances to experience the Design Department in its original location.

But was it a presentation worthy of the moment, a fitting au revoir to an old friend……….?

Hochschule München Design Department

German designer Klaus Hackl’s understanding of design is one based on the principle of evolution not revolution, of understanding the context in which a project arises, and of the value, and logic, of craft processes and craft scale production. And of the value, and logic, of craft processes and craft scale production augmented by digital technology.

Keen to learn more, we met up wit Klaus Hackl in Munich….

Flare by Klaus Hackl for Hausgenossen (Foto Eva Jünger, courtesy Klaus Hackl)

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

It’s early May and once again the party ship we call the smow song contest is ready to set sail……

smow song contest 2017

It may lack the Unicorn Horn that graced so many Renaissance era Cabinets of Curiosities, but with The Room of Desires Keum Art Projects present a collection of objects with just as much beauty, mystery and grace as could be found in the Wunderkammer. And yet which are grounded much more in reality.

The Room of Desires @ Raumwerk Munich

The Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner is one of the more interesting international design prizes. Not only because it is biennial and thus steadfastly refuses to play with the “every year new” ethos of the contemporary design industry, nor only because it is exclusively for young designers, but also because in addition to the “usual” categories it also recognises Design Research and Applied Crafts. And thus promotes a pleasingly healthy and positive understanding of the term “Design”

The winners of the 2016 Bayerischer Staatspreis were announced on Monday March 6th at an awards ceremony in Munich.

Merhaba by Susanne Honsa – Winner Applied Crafts, as seen at Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner 2016 exhibition, Munich

With the exhibition Full House: Design by Stefan Diez the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne, MAKK, present the first museal overview of the canon of the German designer Stefan Diez.

And an exhibition which in many respects also helps explain industrial design. Or at least the contemporary industrial design process.

Yard by Stefan Diez for emu, as seen at FULL HOUSE: Design by Stefan Diez, Museum für Angewandte Kunst Cologne

One of our highlights of 2016 was without question PrintStool by Munich based designer Thorsten Franck for German manufacturer Wilkhahn. Less because of the object itself and more because of what it represents: the first step by a major furniture producer towards industrial 3D furniture printing. We met up with Thorsten in Munich to discuss PrintStool, 3D printing and the changing role of designers.

PrintStool by Thorsten Franck for Wilkhahn, here as seen at NeoCon Chicago 2016

Five recommendations for new architecture and design exhibitions opening in December 2016, featuring shows in Copenhagen, Weimar, Nürnberg, London and Munich

5 New Design Exhibitions for December 2016

Friends + Design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden (Photo Marco Cappelletti © DSL Studio, Courtesy Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden)

Inaugurated in July 212 BC* the Ludi Apollinares were Roman games staged in honour of Apollo and featuring a mix

February 2015 saw us break new ground and make our first visits to Munich Creative Business Week, the magnificently monikered

Munich Creative Business Week 2015 Tools for A Break Korean Crafts and Design Galerie Rieder Song Seung Yong Park Ye Yeon

As we’ve noted in these pages in the past, changing methods of working and communicating mean that we need new

Munich Creative Business Week 2015 Hit the Future Metropolitan Design

Munich Creative Business Week 2015 is being staged under the motto “Metropolitan Ideas”, a banner under which the organisers aim

Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner 2014 Winners Honorary Recognitions Jury

Among the regional German design awards the Bavarian Design Award is particularly notable being as it is an award exclusively

Munich Creative Business Week 2015 HIT THE FUTURE – Metropolitan Design

Premièred in 2012 as a platform to help connect design with business and to encourage greater design thinking by and

Tom Vack Tom Vac

It’s now been twelve months since we decided to start recommending upcoming architecture and design exhibitions based on nothing more