Given today’s range of contemporary social, economic and ecological issues in combination with the acceleration of technological change, we are positioned in an inclusive and complex time. HOW SOON IS NOW revisits themes of the legendary exhibition “This Is Tomorrow” held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1956, curated by Lawrence Alloway, asking if yesterday’s tomorrow is not today, how soon is now? What values and possibilities can we imagine with a more speculative approach that is unburdened by the constraints of everyday practice? Speculating in antagonistic collaboration HOW SOON IS NOW sets up a programme for the future and presents spatial interventions and manifestos by: Barkow Leibinger, Brandlhuber+, Jesko Fezer, Christoph Gengnagel, Fehling & Gogel , Gonzalez Haase AAS, Konstantin Grcic , J. MAYER H. with Marc Kushner, June-14 | Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff, Ludwig Leo, Sauerbruch Hutton, and Something Fantastic.
Nine Berlin-based artists and architects have been invited by Jochum Rodgers to present contemporary statements in an autumn group show. Berta Fischer, Barkow Leibinger, Thilo Heinzmann, Thomas Kröger, Angela Mewes, Sven Temper, Clemens Tissi, Tina Roeder and Suse Weber – a group of friends among themselves, their practices are grounded in the fine arts, performance, architecture and sculpture, while their respective work is located between the disciplines. Their tendency towards design stems from different interests: experimentation with materials, boredom with the norm, questions of compositions or the joy of provocation. All works in the exhibition are either unique items or editions.
The original idea behind the Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, was not white boxes and tubular furniture, but collaboration: the collaboration of genres and disciplines as well as the interchange of arts, crafts and industries. Digital Bauhaus 2014 takes this idea into the 21st century and explores the formats and frameworks of creative group work, both online and on-site, that shape successful project organization. In the frame of an extensive program of hands-on workshops, keynote talks, panels and spaces for exchange, professional experts on collaboration invited to the summit will share lessons they’ve picked up, and delve into modes and models of working together both old and new.
Organized annually by the Federal Office of Culture since 1918, the Swiss Design Awards creates platforms that help the competition winners advance in their careers and present their work to a wider audience. This year’s Swiss Design Awards exhibition, designed by Holzer Kobler Architekturen, will feature the works by 49 selected designers from a number of disciplines: products and objects, fashion and textile design, graphic design, photography, scenography and intermediation. All of them are featured in detail with an interview and profile on the specifically built Swiss Design Awards Blog. The winners of the Awards can choose between prize money, a six-month internship at a well-known firm, or free studio residences in London and New York. Furthermore, the Swiss Grand Prix Design is annually awarded on the occasion of the SDA to outstanding individual designers that contribute to the renown of the country’s innovation – this year’s Grand Prix winners are Alfredo Häberli, Wolfgang Weingart and Erich Biehle.
Established with design in Berlin since 1981, the exhibition Italian Eclectic marks the inaugural show of Hans-Peter Jochums new space on Mommsenstrasse, which is from now on operating under the new name JochumRodgers. Particularly interested in its mentality and playful spirit, Hans-Peter Jochum and Jett Rodgers’ works draw heavily on Italian design: exploring the development of design as an end in itself rather than a way to produce objects of utility.
As a result, Italian Eclectic spans from Carlo Bugatti’s Art Nouveau furniture to the bold postmodern pieces of the Memphis Group and Ettore Sottsass, and provides an assemblage of unique objects and small editions designed by different artists: a mirror object by Gino Marotta, a black cabinet by the sculptor Giacomo Cometti, a chair by the painter and sculptor Thayaht, and the TOP mirror chair by the architect and artist Nanda Vigo.
The exhibition Collection Röthlisberger | Miroirs – Spiegel at Kunsthalle Fribourg marks the largest presentation dedicated to designers and architects, Trix and Robert Haussmann, in over a decade. Since 1967, the couple has built an idiosyncratic oeuvre that has continuously challenged architectural, design and aesthetic conventions, and has explored many creative perspectives, such as poetry composed by chance, drawings, collages and texts. The exhibition, composed entirely in collaboration with Trix and Robert Haussmann, examines every aspect of their research, and weaves together different bodies of work, including furniture objects belonging to the Röthlisberger Collection, as well as a series of unique mirror’s made in the 1980’s. In addition, they have conceptualized, designed and produced about 10 new mirror works from 2014 that will be installed in the space of the Kunsthalle to create different optical illusions.
How does a digitally oriented generation, for whom creativity, sustainability, and mobility are more important than status, live? This is the question explored in Freunde von Freunden’s and Vitra’s first apartment in Berlin. Building upon their common styles and experiences, the FvF Apartment by Vitra on Mulackstrasse offers a glimpse into the world of the Swiss furniture manufacturer’s collage and visualizes the interview magazine’s conceptualization of urban living. The 65sqm ‘Altbau’ apartment has been rebuilt and designed to be adaptable to the diverse scenarios of everyday life.
In November 2012, Studio Manuel Raeder began developing the three display structures and furniture that make up La letra E está por doquier (The Letter E is everywhere) with fellow studio designer Santiago da Silva for Centro de Diseño de Oaxaca. As the first public institution of its kind in Mexico, it understands design as a tool for social change and, coinciding with the ethos of Studio Manuel Raeder, follows the understanding that form relates to production and production to alternative economic relations based on dialogue and the exchange of ideas. As a result the furniture features seating made out of plastic, wooden stools and upturned buckets, as well as the ubiquitous white plastic Monobloc chairs, reconfigured and covered with woven palm leaf. The modular cake table was produced in collaboration with a furniture factory and local wood producers in Oaxaca. Additionally the cubic structures display a selection of catalogues and artists’ books produced by Studio Manuel Raeder over the past ten years, as well as collected and found objects such as art wares, which the designers collected from their stay in Mexico.
The products of the Berlin based design company NEW TENDENCY are characterized by conceptual design, clear aesthetics and functional form, as well as the fact that they’re manufactured locally. Whether it is a glass, a coat rack or a jewelry collection, the design company’s credo is continually reflected in its new, interdisciplinary creations – expanding its portfolio of original products and collaborations with select designers. Corresponding to this approach, their newest innovation, the shelf rack CLICK is the result of a collaboration with Danish architect Sigurd Larsen. Furthermore, the latest NEW TENDENCY product range includes the MASA table base, the DECEMBER floor lamp, the HASH coat rack, the META side table and the X CHAIR, the RIEN glass as well as the SID & CHAD vases, next to a new oak version of the SHIFT, which received the Interior Innovation Award 2014.
Photos: Haw-lin | Matthias Schmitt & Michael Ott
Citizens across Europe are currently taking the initiative to re-appropriate urban space. A group of neighbours transforms wasteland into public space. Garden plot owners open their grounds to unemployed youths to test their small-scale business ideas. Communities are becoming patrons where they were once supplicants. Identified as “We-Traders” they redefine the relation between value, profit and public good and are able to motivate fellow citizens to follow suit. They respond to crisis in several arenas of urban life, be it economic, social or ecological and diffuse the boundaries between buyers and sellers: consumers become co-producers. Through interactive forums, workshops and exhibitions the project connects initiatives by artists, designers, architects and activists from Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Turin and Berlin, where the current crisis manifests different facets from empty coffers and social polarisation to a lack of civic sense as a result of excessive growth.