The long and winding (hi)story of furniture design is largely one of evolution not revolution, largely one of innumerable, often imperceptible, social, cultural, economic, technical, et al transformations, movements, hindrances and undulations which slowly, continually, combine and interact to widen and deepen the river as it flows. A process aided, abetted and accelerated by irregularly arising confluences where a new tributary flows into the unflinchingly onwards rolling mainstem.
One such being inarguably Michael Thonet.
With the exhibition Bentwood and Beyond. Thonet and Modern Furniture Design the MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst Vienna navigate the history of that tributary and explore its legacy and contemporary relevance, and relationship, to the course of furniture design.
“Since the founding of the museum in 1864 there has been an ongoing committent to honouring the statute of the house, namely, to promote the art industries and the arts and crafts and to develop the taste of contemporary society”1
So noted the, then, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst’s Director Wilhelm Mrazek in the catalogue to the museum’s 1969 exhibition Sitzen 69, Sitting 69, an exhibition which sought “to develop the taste of contemporary society” in terms of sitting/seating.
And that through a presentation of (largely) wooden chairs, several of which dated back to the 1930s and 1940s………
With the showcase Sitzen 69 Revisited the, now, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst initiate a debate on the apparent contradictions inherent in Sitzen 69, and on the wider question of the mediation of design, through a presentation of objects presented in 1969 juxtaposed with some of those chair designs that weren’t. Chair designs that one may have, reasonably, expected should, would, have been……
“…when we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
The freezing hours away?”
asks Arvirargus of his brother Guiderius in Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline, before lamenting,
“We have seen nothing”
Easily solved old boy, a visit to an architecture or design exhibition should not only provide for new, stimulating, impressions but plenty of discourse throughout not only December but for many, many months to come.
For all a visit in December 2019 to the following new exhibitions opening in Vienna, Holon, Bloomfield Hills, Weil am Rhein & San Francisco……..
On November 1st 1512 Pope Julius II celebrated the All Saint’s Day Mass in the Sistine Chapel. The first public presentation of Michelangelo’s frescos, and thereby the opening of a permanent exhibition still on show today. And still attracting a public.
And while permanent exhibitions are good and important, for all in allowing an overview and an introduction to a subject, it is those ever changing temporary exhibitions that, should, ideally, allow for new insights and deepening of understandings.
Our recommendations for five new, temporary, architecture and design exhibitions opening in November 2019, and which promise such insights and depths, can be can be found in Munich, New York, Vienna, Esslingen and Gotha…..
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Enticed us into the following architecture and design exhibitions…….
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98, From you have I been absent in the spring (extended, with apologies)
“The role of the architect is one of organisation. The house is the considered organisation of our ways of life”1, opined the Austrian architect Margarete Lihotzky in 1921.
And in the course of a long, varied career, she repeatedly demonstrated what she understood by such; including most famously, if somewhat narrowly, in a kitchen design………….
On December 10th 1869 Gebrüder Thonet voluntarily relinquished their 1856 Privilege in respect of “The manufacture of chairs and table legs made of bent wood, the bending facilitated by the action of steam or simmering liquids”; thereby ending not only a thirteen year monopoly during which time Thonet became a firmly established global brand, but also the culmination of a neigh on three decade story which highlights the importance of patent protection in the furniture industry.
If you are planning visiting an architecture or design museum, anywhere in the world, in 2019, it will be staging a Bauhaus themed special exhibition. Guaranteed. There are literally millions of them lined up. If not billions.
Which is no complaint. Or at least not unless they are exhibitions based on formulaic, lazy clichés. Then it is very much a complaint. But if they are exhibitions which take open, honest and unblinkered views on either the institution as a whole or a specific, ideally, under researched, aspect of the institution, and of course remember that it is 100 years Bauhaus Weimar, and not 100 years Bauhaus Dessau, then it is no complaint.
Consequently, December 2018 could be your last chance to experience anything else for a goodly while.
Our Bauhaus free recommendations or December 2018 can be found in Vienna, Dortmund, New York, London & San Francisco……..
In the wonderful month of May,
As all the buds bloomed,
My heart became,
With Love consumed
In the wonderful month of May,
As all the birds did sing,
I confessed to her
My desire and yearning.
Heinrich Heine, Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, 1827
Heinrich, don’t leave us hanging! It all started out so positive!
It’s an awkward month May, the vitality of blooming buds and oratorio of singing birds luring us into hopeful fantasies, utopian visions of what lies ahead: but what will become of them? Will the freshly bloomed buds survive the inevitable late frost? Will the birds’ new chicks evade their predators to flee the nest and carry their song to pastures new? Will she respond to your confessions of desire and yearning?
Probably not. And so therefore rather than losing your May to romantic dreaming, before May becomes but a painful memory of what could have been, something destined to remain forever in the past tense, use it to improve your understandings of the realities of the world around you, to learn to talk confidently in the future.
Our five recommendations for new architecture and design exhibitions opening during May 2018………
1918 was a bad year for the Wiener Moderne, losing as it did with the deaths of Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner four of its leading protagonists.
To mark the centenary, and help underscore the important role Vienna played at the turn of the 19th/20th century in the development of art, architecture, music and literature, museums across Vienna are staging a wide range of specially themed exhibitions throughout 2018; the Hofmobiliendepot – Imperial Furniture Museum – taking the opportunity to celebrate not only Otto Wagner, but his younger contemporaries Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos.
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.
“Have you ever met a robot?” asks the Vitra Design Museum.
The answer is yes.
The answers to the other 13 questions posed by the exhibition Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine are not necessarily so easily answered: but are important for defining our relationship with digital technology.
O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild* You’d be
Such are the vagaries of the autumn/spring cycle in the global design exhibition industry, and it is an industry people,
If the (hi)story of 20th century architecture and design is unimaginable without the contribution made by Austria/Hungary/Austria-Hungary; then the contribution
Inaugurated in July 212 BC* the Ludi Apollinares were Roman games staged in honour of Apollo and featuring a mix
December can be a trying month: always having to think of others; always having to patronise bars and restaurants you’ve
March is a month for caution. Yes, the sun shines. Yes, the days are getting longer Yes, one can smell
Following on from the relative inactivity of August September saw us wind back up towards the 2014 autumn design festival
One of the advantages of having been running our “5 New Design Exhibitions” series for over a year is that
As long as we’ve been going to Vienna Design Week the festival has always included a focus on social responsibility.
At an otherwise disappointing presentation of projects by students from the TU Graz Institute of Spatial Design during Vienna Design
Ask most people what they identify as the central feature in the work of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and they’ll
For some 200 years Wiener Silber Manufactur have produced the finest silverware. Exquisite cutlery, table services, coffee pots and sugar
In context of a 2014 summer semester project students from Vienna Technical University’s Department for 3D Design and Model Construction