As noted from the exhibition Der ungesehene Designklassiker at the Deutsches Stuhlbaumuseum, Rabenau, alongside the introduction, re-introduction, enabled to the EW 1192 by Horst Heyder, a work that was, in all probability, the most widely found, most widely used, chair in the DDR and, potentially, one of the chairs existent in the greatest population densities anywhere ever, and thus a chair that inarguably shouldn’t need to be re-introduced, but which on account of the nature of the development of Europe since 1989 sadly does, one also finds a contemporary 21st century re-design of the EW 1192 by Leipzig based designer Jacob Strobel.
A re-design that poses the question darf one re-design a work such as the EW 1192?, is one allowed to re-design a work such as the EW 1192?
¿Is one allowed to re-design a work that was one of the most widely found, most widely used, chairs in the (hi)story of a nation?
¿Is one allowed to re-design a work that so eloquently and succinctly allows access to more nuanced appreciations of the (hi)story of furniture design in the DDR?
¿Is one allowed to re-design a work that is one of the few surviving testaments to the work of Horst Heyder, an individual who played an important role in the development of furniture design in the DDR?
¿Is one allowed to re-design a work that is one of the few surviving testaments to the work of the Entwicklungsbüro Waldheim, an institution who played an important role in the development of furniture design in the DDR?
¿Is one allowed to re-design a work that is an artefact of daily life in the DDR, in a nation no longer existent?
Standing in the Deutsches Stuhlbaumuseum looking at that contemporary re-design it occurred to us that there was one person particularly well placed to answer that question, one person who’d already considered it in a lot more detail than us. So we we asked them: ¿Is one allowed to re-design a work such as the EW 1192, Jacob Strobel?
Imagine you were one of the best selling and most widely used chairs in your country. But (hi)story had forgotten you.
Imagine you were informative in context of elucidating important, but rarely illuminated, chapters in the (hi)story of furniture design. But (hi)story had forgotten you.
Imagine you were instructive in context of the practice and craft and industry of furniture design. But (hi)story had forgotten you.
Imagine you were in use in a great many locations. But no-one saw you. No-one knew your name. Just sat on you.
Imagine you were the EW 1192 by Horst Heyder.
With Der ungesehene Designklassiker the Deutsches Stuhlbaumuseum, Rabenau, not only enable one to imagine, but for all begin to redress the situation……
A Michael; A Twist; A Portfolio of Patents
“Something is happening to the way people live” opined Nanna Ditzel in 1961; changing realities which caused her to reflect that, in terms of our furniture and interiors, “don’t we carry around a whole load of stuff that is old and defunct – and could actually be different.”1
With the exhibition Nanna Ditzel. Taking Design to New Heights, Trapholt, Kolding, explore how Nanna Ditzel approached and understood and realised that “different”…….
Our recent reflections on the La Fonda bar stool by Charles and Ray Eames, and also our recent reflections on Goethe’s Donkey, Goethe’s chair “just high enough that one can sit half-standing”, got us very naturally thinking a lot about stools of all types, the various and varied places one meets stools, the various and varied manners via which stools interact with and contribute to our daily lives, the (hi)story and development of the stool, in particular in context of the (hi)stories and developments of global societies; and also the cultural and social relevance of the stool, and the stool figurative, the stool metaphoric……
Upholstered furniture is called upholstered furniture for a reason, yet how often do we consider the upholstery rather than the furniture; or more accurately, how often do we consider the upholstery that makes furniture upholstered furniture? How often do we consider the upholstery that makes upholstered furniture such a singular genre of furniture? How often do we consider the upholstery that bequeaths upholstered furniture such a singular status?
With the exhibition Deep-seated. The Secret Art of Upholstery the Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig, invite you to do just that…….
“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”…….
With furniture, as with so much in life, it is rarely the showy, high profile, works, or individuals, that teach us most, but those works, and those individuals, who in their anonymity and modesty accompany us in invisible silence.
Or rather the anonymous and quiet could teach us most, if we spent less time being distracted by, letting ourselves willingly be distracted by, the noise of the showy.
With the project Monobloc author and director Hauke Wendler, and a team of co-collaborators, offer us all an opportunity to focus on, and learn from, an object we’ve all seen and used, but only rarely, if ever, openly engaged with…….
“…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…….
As Peer Gynt reminisces with his dying mother, they dwell long and fondly on how, when Peer was a child, they would imagine his bed was a sleigh whisking them across a frozen fjord, a sleigh pulled by “fleet-foot horses”.
Or more accurately by a cat proxying for fleet-foot horses; a cat who before being pressed into service as a horse had been peacefully “sad på en kubbestol“1, sat upon a kubbestol: a chair hewn from a tree trunk, and an item of furniture which is as closely associated with Norway as is Peer Gynt, and which may have led just have as many lives and have just as many tales to tell…..
In all corners of the globe one finds objects of furniture which developed in response to local conditions, traditions and practices; vernacular objects without a formal author and which although, on account of?, arising from a very specific place and time can, invariably, both teach us a lot about the essentials of furniture and help explain furniture’s relationships with wider realities.
And objects we want to celebrate, starting with arguably, one of the best known examples of vernacular furniture: the Windsor chair.
The metal wire chair is such a well established seating genre it is hard to imagine it is possible to do anything new with it. Far less anything exciting.
It’s probably fair to say that no object at IMM Cologne 2018 confused us quite as much as the new 118 chair by Sebastian Herkner for Thonet.
Not in bad way. Just in a confused way.
We know, we know, what sort of being gets confused by chairs.
Us. Regularly. It’s why our lives’ are such a mess.
As we’ve oft noted in these pages, not only have designers since time immemorial had a particular fascination for chairs, but society a particular predilection.
Arguably the two are related and can be traced to the long, universal, cultural, political and social relevance of the chair and the act of sitting, a state of affairs which not only makes the physical chair/seat an integral part of our lives, but the metaphorical: excitement brings us to edge of our chairs, those who are brave/foolish enough place themself in the hot seat, while we either sit in judgement or on the fence depending on what prudence and prejudice advise.
And so following on from our Cupboards, Closets, Wardrobes Playlist, a Radio smow Chairs Playlist, starting with five songs which discuss the action, symbolism and relevance of chairs/sitting in various contexts. Considerations on which can keep us occupied for hours.
Although the evidence is not, yet, conclusive, recent years have seen an increasing confidence in the theory that sitting for too long can have a negative impact on health, and that all whose job involves prolonged sitting should regularly stand, move and generally change their body position.
But what about those workers who can’t? What about those workers whose job is defined by long periods of sitting?
Amongst all the fake flavours at Ambiente Frankfurt 2017 the Umami of Japanese design studio Bouillon was a genuine delight.
For the 13th century Dominican friar Thomas Aquinas beauty required a perfect combination of integritas, consonantia & claritas – integrity,
On March 10th 2015 a jury at the Central District Court of California in Los Angeles concluded that Pharrell Williams