The archetypal body of a classic sofa gets a textile-rich makeover by the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius’ poetic reworking of weave patterns, colours and textures into an intricate fabric pushing the boundaries of modern day technology. Jongerius’ mastery of weaving and her fascination with colour shapes the visual language of Vlinder Sofa.
Lake Verea photograph the »Guy C. Wilson House« (1939) of R.M. Schindler, Silverlake, California Paparazza Moderna Serie, 2011–2018 © Lake Verea
There is an interesting erotic language surrounding the typology of renowned modernist residencies – made familiar as iconic villas that harmoniously welcome and fulfill all your desires. Mining the corporealized qualities of inanimate structures through a tongue-in cheek manner the Mexican artist duo Francisca Rivero-Lake and Carla Verea haunt their favorite architectural masterpieces like paparazzies – unannounced and spontaneous – with the aim of capturing them in an unembellished, private state.
The manifesto by Friedrich von Borries, an installation view from the exhibition at Neue Sammlung The Design Museum and Die Münchner Rutsche, Berlin 2018 | © Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries, graphic manifesto: Ingo Offermanns, photo Die Münchner Rutsche: Achim Hatzius
The last decade has seen catastrophic shifts in global politics, economy and the environment. Foregrounding the role of contemporary positions in design, architect and design theorist Friedrich von Borries raises the question around socially and politically responsible practices. Engaging with his earlier literary work that proposed new methods for social criticism through art and design, the exhibition reframes Borries’ pragmatic approach through a series of interventions in the museum space. “Politics of Design” is the first of the three parts that conceptually underpin the exhibition and addresses the political moment in design. It uses the theses ”design sexualizes”, “design colonizes” and “design manipulates” as entryways to open up new perspective on Coca-Cola advertising, the Sony Walkman and modernist furniture. The second part of the exhibition takes a personal reading of the Friedrich von Borries’ work through a Sisyphean marble-run installation by the artist Mikael Mikael that points at the absurdist dimension of a politically active artist and designer. The third part “Design as Politics” explores the possibilities for shaping the political environment through design. Coexisting as a carrier of messages and a tool of influence design is used to persuade. The question we have a responsibility to ask is, “Persuade to do what and to whose benefit?”
When designer duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby observe that “the rules of formal work are dissolving, resulting in the archetype of classic desk disappearing”, they underline a growing transformation of work environment, setting the scene for Vitra’s latest presentation at Orgatec trade fair. Under the tile “WORK” Vitra addresses the increased merging of office and public space, highlighting three exemplary office concepts which make propositions for the changing needs of modern work. Konstantin Grcic’s concept of “Superflexible Office” deals with the possibilities of constantly rebuilding the office while still preserving its identity: open to be reconfigured as a meeting room, a café or a communal space. With “Company Home”, the architect Sevil Peach has developed a different scenario which also includes a park and a dining area – elements of public space that are becoming an integral part of architecture in more corporate headquarters. “Shared Office” blurs the boundaries between the office and the public space, as we become more familiarised with working in environments such as co-working spaces, cafés and hotel lobbies. As part of this concept “Soft Work” is a new modular sofa system by Vitra that responds to these conditions, developed in collaboration with designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
What is social design and is there such a thing anyway? The term is typically used to label the work of those designers and architects who focus on tasks born out of humanitarian and socio-political issues, and it has often gone hand in hand with moralism and sweeping declarations. In a world growing deficient in both resources and energy, questions regarding inclusion, social justice, and sustainability are becoming more relevant to today’s design than ever before. In the 1960s and 70s Viktor Papanek was among the first to address not only issues of living conditions, class and income difference, but also environmental responsibility. Many designers practicing today carry in their pocket his “little green book” Design for the Real World (1971), which remains the most widely read book about design ever published. The exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum dedicated to the life and work of this prolific author, designer and lecturer is set to re-examine methods, usage and applications of Papanek’s approach to design as a political tool. Both a retrospective and a thematic exhibition, it gathers his manifold drawings, objects, films, manuscripts, and prints, some of which have never before been presented. Drawing upon his inter-disciplinary and collaborative methods, the exhibition forges dialogues between contemporary works from the areas of critical and social design, and radical positions from the 1960s to 1980s, including legendary figures such as George Nelson, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, or the radical design initiative ‘Global Tools’. Contemporary works from the areas of critical and social design provide insight into Papanek’s lasting impact.
Victor J. Papanek, We are all handicapped (drafted with students in 1969). Section from Big Character Poster No. 1: Work Chart for Designers (1973). | Victor J. Papanek, Tin Can Radio, 1971. | Victor J. Papanek filming the WNED-TV Channel 17 programme Design Dimensions in Buffalo, NY (1961 – 1963). | Victor J. Papanek, The minimal design team (drafted with students in 1969). Section from Big Character Poster No. 1: Work Chart for Designers (1973). | © University of Applied Arts Vienna, Victor J. Papanek Foundation
Andrea Fraser, Little Frank and His Carp, 2001 © The artist, Galerie Nagel Draxler | Jeewi Lee, Einschlag © The artist | Raul Watch, Eureka, 2015 © The artist | Wermke / Leinkauf, Überwindungsübungen, 2015 © Wermke / Leinkauf
© Thomas Meyer
Berlin is a fascinating yet chaotic whirlwind of clashing architectural sites, with some of its most monumental and distinctive landmarks inherited from the German Democratic Republic era. Distinctively embodying the GDR’s engineering ambitions, Funkhaus is a colossal broadcasting centre and studio complex designed during the 1950s by the distinguished Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich. His job was to create the world’s largest and most sophisticated recording facility that promised to be an ideal marriage of German functionality and Eastern decadence. It was constructed to symbolize the virtues of equality, collectivity and openness by bringing a wide array of musical genres under one roof. Red Bull Music Academy is celebrating their 20th anniversary at the historic complex, which has been converted into a creative microcosm. 61 international musicians have been selected to participate in the Academy, they will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, learn new things and expand their musical vocabulary. Design studio New Tendency has created a bespoke furniture collection for the Academy, combining lounge modules, tables and sofas that bring back the essence of Bauhaus design principles and through a poetic and playful tone rejuvenate the functional and rational aesthetic of the interiors. Part of the transformation is an exhibition showcasing Berlin’s established and most promising emerging artists. Hailing from different generations, the artists have been carefully selected by Johann König. The exhibition takes central stage at the Lecture Hall with large-scale paintings by Karl Horst Hödicke, a pioneer of German neo-expressionism and a representative of the New Figuration, depicting Berlin in the decades before and after the fall of the wall.
Parallel with Art Basel, the Swiss Design Awards exhibition offers a detailed insight into contemporary Swiss design. From richly diverse areas of photography, graphic design, fashion and textile design, product and industrial design as well as scenography and mediation, the jury will grant 17 Swiss Design Awards to selected participants. Since 2007, in addition to the Swiss Design Awards, the Federal Office of Culture has presented the Swiss Grand Award for Design to individual designers or established firms that contribute to the renown of Swiss design nationally and internationally. Having originated as a means of encouraging, supporting and ultimately honouring the Swiss design scene, the prize communicates and indicates the traditions of Swiss design. This year the winners of the renowned prize this year are textile designer Cécile Feilchenfeldt, manufacturer of professional pruning shears Felco and graphic designer Rosmarie Tissi.
My stool is an Athlete. Me too? In conjunction with Milan Design Week 2018, Vitra presents the exhibition Typecasting, a panorama of some 200 objects curated by designer Robert Stadler. The Austrian designer looks at the furniture in this installation outside the context of conventional categories, such as their functional uses or historical origins. Instead, he regards them as characters and assigns them to groups that reflect stereotypical behaviour patterns and personality profiles in contemporary society. Drawing on the extensive Vitra archives, the show places current products alongside icons, prototypes, special editions, rejects and future visions. Another central question is how changes in society could affect established furniture typologies. Various designers – including Konstantin Grcic, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Commonplace Studio – were invited to develop ideas for a collective living space under the title The Communal Sofa.
Soundsystem Despacio, New Century Hall, Manchester International Festival, Juli 2013 © Rod Lewis / Guests at Studio 54, New York, 1979. © Bill Bernstein, David Hill Gallery, London / Installation views, Photos: Mark Niedermann
Nightclubs and discothèques are hotbeds of contemporary culture. Since the 20th century, they have been centres of the avant-garde that question the established codes of social life and experiment with different realities. Interior and furniture design merges with graphics, and art with sound, light, fashion and special effects to create a modern Gesamtkunstwerk. Night Fever is the first exhibition to give a comprehensive overview of the design history of the nightclub, examining its cultural context from numerous perspectives. Examples range from Italian clubs of the 1960s created by the protagonists of Radical Design to the legendary Studio 54 where Andy Warhol was a regular, from the Palladium in New York designed by Arata Isozaki to more recent concepts by the OMA architecture studio for the Ministry of Sound in London. Featuring films and vintage photographs, posters, flyers and fashion, the exhibition incorporates music, light and spatial installations to take visitors on a fascinating journey through a world of glamour and subcultures – always in search of the night that never ends. In a night that never ends, the exhibition begs the question of whether the disco culture has evolved into a particular direction.