In Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale Perdita bewails that she has no “flowers o’ th’ spring” to make garlands for, and to strew over, her beloved Florizel; “flowers o’ th’ spring” including violets, primroses, oxlips or “daffodils, That come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty”.
Whereby in her infatuation with, and fearless youthful love for, Florizel, Perdita fails to appreciate that it wasn’t fear of the winds of March that kept the swallows away, swallows love a stiff wind; rather that they are all in architecture and design museums enjoying the new blush of exhibitions that invariably blooms forth every March. As should she and Florizel, for the shared experience of an architecture and design exhibition is a more sustainable and resilient conduit to maintaining the thrill of young love than a violet, primrose, oxlip or daffodil that will soon wilt and fade.
Our six, yes six, ‘exhibitions o’ th’ spring’ opening in March 2024 for swallows, lovers, Elizabethans, and us all, can be found in Hamburg, Vienna, New York, London, Paris and Weil am Rhein……
“So revolutionary his ideas”, opined the Austrian state broadcaster ORF in 1969 of architect Hans Hollein, “when he enunciates them they sound like the cosy, cordial habitiere of ages past. His ‘schauen se‘ and ‘eeeeeh‘ conjure up Fiaker, the chatter and gossip on Graben, the Riesenrad, memories of alt-Wien“.1
With Hollein Calling. Architectural Dialogues the Architekturzentrum Wien invite one to explore in more detail the vocabulary and articulation of Hans Hollein…….
Back in the spring Haitian musician Wyclef Jean informed us all he’d be “Gone Till November”.
And so he should be back any day now; and given how busy he’s invariably been all summer, earning as he has been enough money to buy out blocks, he’s probably not had a chance to visit an architecture or design museum. And so, we assume, will be absolutely desperate to stimulate his cognitive faculties.
Our five recommendations for new exhibitions opening in November 2023 for Wyclef Jean, or indeed for anyone seeking to achieve fresh perspectives on architecture, design and the world around us, can be found in Vienna, Oslo, Brno, Krefeld and Ljubljana…….
A Michael; A Twist; A Portfolio of Patents
Much as the (hi)story of architecture is also a chronicle of developments and changes in the social, cultural, economic, ecological, technical, et al realities of any given region, so to is the (hi)story of a region’s parks and gardens and urban green spaces.
Whereby the (hi)story of the latter is much less often popularly employed in studying and interpreting and learning from the (hi)story of a region than the former.
With the showcase Of Gardens and People. Designed Nature, Art and Landscape Architecture the Austrian National Library, Vienna, allow for reflections on gardens and parks throughout (hi)story and in doing encourage us all to take them as seriously as we do the architecture amongst which they invariably stand…….
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…….
There is an argument to be made that while variation and uniqueness are inherent features of craft processes, design strives for the production of endless uniformity.
Or perhaps more accurately design did: while the earliest design practitioners, and those of the 1920s and 1930s who followed them, very much (largely) sought to develop products that contemporary industry could produce en mass as exact replicas of one another, since the 1960s individuals and groups of designers have sought to move away from the design of the identical for a society that is diverse; have sought to develop either systems that allow for individual expression and individual adaptation and/or to develop production processes that inherently and intrinsically enable and foster and realise variety without fundamentally questioning the idea of industrial multiplication and reproduction.
With the showcase The Series Vienna Design Week 2023 allows space for reflections on approaches by contemporary designers to designing for variety, and thereby also for differentiated reflections on contemporary design…….
It’s been a while, and we were beginning to think it would never happen again; however, after an inordinately long absence September 2023 sees us once again meet up with Vienna Design Week…….
In the alpine regions of Europe the arrival of September marks the start of the Almabtrieb, that annual migration of the cattle, sheep and goats of the region from their high pastures to the valleys far, far below.
A migration undertaken because, as the cattle, sheep and goats of the alps innately understand, September is the month when the global architecture and design museum community (slowly) end their summer siesta and begin to invite us all to peruse their autumn/winter exhibition programmes.
And a migration that looks particularly worthwhile in September 2023, being as it is abloom with a crop of new showcases every bit as enticing and flavoursome as the herb rich pastures of any alpine alm. Indeed so bountiful is the September 2023 harvest we could have written two lists. For probity’s sake we stick with the one.
Our five reasons for saying Servus, Tschüs and Adieu to the fresh air and green, green, grass of the high alps and venturing into the city can be found in Frankfurt, New York, Kolding, Vienna and Malmö…….
According to Germanic folklore, A cold and wet June spoils the whole year.
For farmers possibly, but not for the rest of us, as a cold, wet June is a perfect excuse to visit an architecture or design exhibition, an experience that can only enrich and enliven and invigorate the rest of the not only your year, but your life.
Our recommendations for new showcases opening in June 2023 can be found in Värnamo, Ljubljana, East Lansing, Vienna and Ulm…….
According to popular (hi)story the tradition of the Christmas tree originated in the lands of the contemporary Germany. And with O Tannenbaum it was in the lands of the contemporary Germany that that most popular ode to the Christmas tree was first sung.
But it’s not by way of celebration of Germanic contributions to the Christmas season that all five of our new exhibition recommendations for December 2022 are in Germany, Austria or Germanophone Switzerland.
It’s just the way the dice fell. Just where the five most interesting sounding new architecture and design exhibition openings in December 2022 were to be found. As were what would have been at 6, 7 and 8 on our list. Had it continued that far.
And while we’d much rather, would much prefer, that they were more geographically, globally, strewn; thematically they are disparate, and all very much international, universal, in their subject matter and relevance. Plus, and lest we forget, an exhibition opening should never be understood as a reason to visit a particular museum, although please, please, do; but as an invitation to busy oneself with the subject and themes therein, an invitation to begin a journey.
Thus view what follows not as five exhibition recommendations in Germanophone Europe, but as five extra candles for your 2022 Christmas tree, five extra candles lighting your way forward into 2023 and beyond…….
We published our first monthly list of exhibition recommendations on November 1st 2013, one of those short, superficial, posts we used to compose, having as we did back then endless time on our hands; and an intervening nine years that means that with this list for November 2022 we are entering our tenth year of helping you advance your cultural education.
While being very much aware that the vast majority of you have never visited a single one of the circa 450 new exhibitions we’ve carefully and conscientiously selected for your delectation, nor indeed have the vast majority of you visited any architecture or design exhibition in the past nine years: that the vast majority of you have chosen to neglect your cultural education. However, one of the joys of the museum exhibition as a format for elucidation, exploration, energising and entertainment, the reason we don’t give up on you all, is that, the next opportunity is always approaching.
Thus, while that which you have missed is gone for ever, and you’ll just have to try to catch up as best you can; that which is still to come is an opportunity waiting to be grasped. And in November 2022 there is an unusually large and varied amount of opportunities to grasp; the global architecture and design museum community unleashing a plethora of diverse new showcases.
And a plethora of new exhibitions opening in November 2022 that we were simply unable to narrow down to five. It would also have felt unjust given how many new showcases there are.
five six new opportunities to advance your cultural education in November 2022 can be found in Leipzig, Edinburgh, Winterthur, Berlin, New York and Vienna…….
“One day in the midst of a burning July,
When meadows were parched and the rivulets dry,
A cluster of Bees in extreme……. anticipation,
Flew towards…… a design exhibition”1
(With apologies to Sara Coleridge)
Our five welcoming, stimulating, retreats for bees, or anyone or anything, from the parching burning of July 2022 can be found in Munich, Metz, Tulsa, Vienna and Bordeaux…….
In December 1969 the Austrian TV station ORF broadcast a half-hour portrait of the architect Hans Hollein, including a presentation of Hollein’s Mobile Office project: essentially an inflatable plastic bubble in which one person could sit and work.
“Klingt vielleicht etwas verrückt”, mused the presenter, “sounds perhaps a bit crazy”.
And in 1969 a device, a construct, that allowed for the creation of a private domain in the midst of a public space, unquestionably did sound “etwas verrückt”.
And in 2022…….
“It was one of those March days” reflects Philip “Pip” Pirrip in Great Expectations, “when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”.1
And thus exactly the sort of dithering, indecisive, capricious, March day when rather than surreptitiously rowing down the Thames towards Gravesend, one should seek refuge in the consistent climate and warming intellectual atmosphere of an architecture or design exhibition.
Our five Great exhibition Expectations for March 2022 can be found in Weil am Rhein, Brussels, Wolfsburg, Vienna and Ulm…….
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……
In 1956 the Dutch electronics conglomerate Phillips asked Le Corbusier if he would be interested in designing their pavilion for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels.
Le Corbusier was.
Albeit, “je ne ferai pas de pavillon; je ferai un Poème électronique avec la bouteille qui contiendra“, “I will not create a pavilion; I will create a Poème électronique with the bottle to contain it.”1
And a pavilion/bottle/Poème électronique which offers an apposite starting point to approaching a differentiated image, a differentiated composition?, of Le Corbusier…….2
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……
To paraphrase the Propellerheads, this is just a little bit of a blog post repeating…
For much as with our November 2020 exhibition recommendations, so some of our December 2020 exhibition recommendations won’t be opening. Or at least not in December 2020.
But then as now are in still in our list.
On the one hand because they will open, and is an important part of any pleasure not the expectation and anticipation?
And on the other hand, because that which makes an exhibition recommendable in advance of its opening, that which makes its anticipation and expectation so pleasurable, is that it promises to present a rarely explored subject and/or promises to explore a regularly presented subject from a new and/or fresh and/or deeper perspective. And thus a recommendable exhibition is also a nudge that there may be more to learn and understand about architecture and design than you were aware of. And thus a stimulus for your own research. And what better season than winter for that research?
Our five recommendations/stimuli/nudges for December 2020 can be found in Berlin, Vienna, Helsinki, Rome and St Petersburg.
And as ever in these times, if you do feel comfortable visiting any museum, 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….
July is traditionally a slow month for new architecture and design exhibition openings. July 2020 less so. Not because of any fundamental changes in understandings amongst architecture and design museums of when is a good time to open an exhibition; but because owing to Corona many shows scheduled to open in the spring had to be postponed, not least until the museums were allowed to open.
And throughout July 2020 ever more museums are planned and planning to open; meaning ever more architecture and design exhibitions are planned and planning to open throughout July 2020.
And thus, while our physical travel options may still be limited, our (potential) cerebral and cultural travel spheres continues to expand, and that is never a bad thing.
If you do feel comfortable about visiting a museum, and are physically allowed to do so, as we will never tire of saying in these trying of times, 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….