A retrospective of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s industrial product design and architecture work arranged in six areas with more than 800 framed documents, drawings and photographs.
Lounge Chair. c. 1944. All rights reserved, Charles Eames and Ray Eames, 2011, United States. Molded plywood and steel rod, 28 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 30″ (73 x 76.5 x 76.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designers, 1973.
Butterfly Stools. 1956. All rights reserved, Sori Yanagi, 2011, United States. Molded plywood and metal, 15 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 12 1/8″ (39.4 x 44.1 x 30.8 cm). Manufactured by Tendo Co., Ltd., Tokyo. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer, 1958.
Lounge Chair. 1934. All rights reserved, Gerald Summers, 2011, United States. Bent birch plywood with pigmented lacquer, 29 5/8 x 23 1/2 x 35″ (75.2 x 59.7 x 88.9 cm). Manufactured by Makers of Simple Furniture, Ltd., London. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Barbara Jakobson Purchase Fund and Peter Norton Purchase Fund and Gift of Robert and Joyce Menschel, 2000.
“Plywood,” explained Popular Science in 1948, “is a layercake of lumber and glue.” In the history of design, plywood is also an important modern material that has given 20th-century designers of everyday objects, furniture, and even architecture greater flexibility in shaping modern forms at an industrial scale. This installation features examples, drawn from MoMA’s collection, of modern designs that take advantage of the formal and aesthetic possibilities offered by plywood, from around 1930 through the 1950s. Archival photographs illuminate the process of design and manufacture in plywood. Iconic furniture by Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Arne Jacobsen appear alongside Organic Platters by Tapio Wirkkala (1951), Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool (1956), an architectural model for a prefabricated house by Marcel Breuer (1943), and experimental designs for plywood in the aeronautics industry.
Exhibition: Plywood: Material, Process, Form, February 2 – Ongoing, at MoMA, New York
After an architectural training Jan Slothouber (1918 – 2007) and William Graatsma (1925) worked as architects / designers from 1955 for the Dutch State Mines (DSM). Here they designed the packing, product applications, advertisements and exhibitions and gave the company a recognizable face. Within the information service of DSM the two had an unique position: they could build their own world and developed the principle of cubic constructions. The cubic as a main point brought restriction but also clearity in the multiplicity of possibilities according to Slothouber and Graatsma. The use of several materials adds each time new aspects to the functioning of the cubic constructions.
With their work Slothouber and Graatsma had a clear social intention. The designers considered themselves in fact as ‘ anonymous ‘ discoverers of the many applications of cubics. In democratic passing these possibilities, in which the useful construction exceeds the personal, artistic claim, lies the meaning of their activities. On one hand their working method was entirely new, on the other hand it had been linked with an old idealistic tradition, which propagated an important role for art and design in society.
Cubics Jan Slothouber + William Graatsma, January 9 – February 27, at Vivid Gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands
We assembled square planes to create a sense of motion in this series of objects. One part of the bookshelf is frozen in its cascade of tumbling shelves, creating variety in the way books can be stacked. The stool’s twist endows it with visual play. Lamps roll about but are stable, thank to their planes, and cast light in different directions. The table leans as though falling away, but maintains its function as a table, and makes objects placed on it seem to sink into its folds and sways. The different ‘movements’make balance and unbalance overlap, as though we are watching the planes themselves dance.
Sunny Memories is the fusion of solar technology and industrial design. A project that involved more than 80 students from four leading design schools, this exhibit explores the broad new realm of technology, energy, and design that solar dye cells have heralded. Led by the EPFL+ECAL Lab, in Lausanne, Switzerland, the “Sunny Memories” workshops took place in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), the California College of the Arts (CCA), the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Creation Industrielle in Paris (ENSCI). Under the tutelage of design leaders like Yves Behar from San Francisco’s fuseproject, Jean-Francois Dingjian of Paris’ Normal Studio, Sam Hecht from London’s Industrial Facility, and Swiss designer Jörg Boner, students began their projects with the following challenge: how do we use energy to record our memory, heritage and knowledge? How can we employ solar energy to preserve history, while increasing autonomy, mobility, and sustainability?
The source of this solar innovation is the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), the “MIT of Switzerland.” There, professor Michael Graëtzel began to use molecules from colorants to transform the sun’s light into electricity. Inspired by photosynthesis, he developed an award-winning technology that allowed solar dye cells to take all sorts of shapes, colors and forms. As industrial production of these solar cells has begun, it is now up to the design community to create products that meld this new technology with great design. Sunny Memories signals a new relationship between technology and design: designers have the freedom to explore the multiple meanings that a new technology can bring about.
Sunny Memories, with the Embassy of Switzerland, January 18 – February 8, Washington Design Center, Washington D.C.
The image of this years Christmas greeting for Ligne Roset was made from dozens of La Pliée chairs. The chair was developed under the umbrella of the ‘aides à projet VIA’ by ENSCI student Marie-Aurore Stiker-Metral. LA PLIEE means ‘the folded one.’ Made from a sheet of laser-cut steel, which is folded and shaped like origami. The video shows how the tree was made (uniquement en français sans sous-titres).
Noël, by Ligne Roset
Commissioned for Wallpaper* Handmade, an exclusive exhibition organized and curated by the iconic lifestyle magazine, London based designer Miranda Watkins created Martini, a sleek travel cocktail set hand-produced in Britain by A.R. Wentworth of Sheffield. Martini combines two traditional materials, pewter and cork, to exquisite contemporary effect. The sheer simplicity of the design with its clean lines and gentle curves, achieves a modern yet classic feel, while effortlessly conveying the beauty of pewter.
Permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Martini Cocktail Set by Miranda Watkins Design
Initiated by N°111 with François Bauchet and Eric Jourdan, the Quatrième Mur was one of the ‘off’ exhibitions which spearheaded the event during the St Etienne Design Biennial 2010. In a former cinema and with this mysterious title, three ex- Saint Etienne students invited two of their ex-lecturers for a collective exhibition in the shape of ‘tribute-thanks-transmission’ with a result which lecturers and pupils alike can be proud of. The installation comprised everyday objects which, through their design and varying scales, gave rhythm and composition to the scenic space. The objective was to encourage the spectator to observe the objects from our domestic environment from a different angle and to reconsider the relationship between objects.
Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, best known for designing museums and galleries, has presented a series of wood sculpture.
Exposição Esculturas, by Álvaro Siza, Porto, Portugal, Photography by Fernando Guerra
Rocket presents the first gallery exhibition of furniture by the London-based Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi and her tna design studio. Models, drawings and watercolour sketches relating to collaborations with several international furniture-makers will be exhibited. The exhibition will document the evolution of the new Azumi dining table – a collaboration between Rocket and Benchmark Furniture.
Exhibition: Tomoko Azumi | Objective, 18 September – 20 November, at Rocket, London, UK