One of the world’s most prestigious schools of art has defined a new teaching paradigm by making architecture and industrial design more interdisciplinary, more interconnected. ECAL chez Le Corbusier (ECAL at Le Corbusier’s place) is a magnificent tribute to the great architect on the 125th anniversary of his birth. It is also, and above all, an encounter between a master and some pupils: between Le Corbusier and the students of ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne). To imagine, then to produce objects for the Villa “Le Lac” was the project conceived by Elric Petit, head of the bachelor’s degree programme in industrial design at ECAL, and Chris Kabel, professor at ECAL. The project soon outgrew the framework of a classic teaching activity: the potential offered by the site, the inventiveness awakened by this assignment and the quality of the executions naturally led to the idea of an on-site exhibition.
ECAL: Chez Le Corbusier, Villa Le Lac, Switzerland, July 2 – August 29
An exhibition celebrating the Italian architect and designer Massimo Vignelli. On display is a selection of works designed by Massimo and Lella Vignelli over the course of an outstanding career of almost fifty years.
The pieces on display, which are on loan from the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology – as well as other examples of the designers’ graphic, furniture, interior and architectural design, which are featured in a slide show in the gallery – are at once disciplined and playful. A trio of colored glass and silver carafes, produced in the late 1950s by the Italian glassmaker Venini and the French silversmith Christofle, strike a perfect balance between formal rigor and sensuality. (Their handles’ U-shaped profile was later translated into plastic for the cups and mugs of the Vignellis’ famous stacking tableware for Heller, which is also on view.) Simple, elegant flatware and glassware (for Sasaki and for an Italian hotel chain) are shown alongside an array of sleek but practical watches for the Swiss company Junod. If the show has a shortcoming apart from its size – what’s there makes you want to see more – it’s that it doesn’t tell the stories behind the products, like the 1962 table lamp for Arteluce that was designed to be shipped flat and assembled at home, or the delicately colored Murano glass barware by Venini that was originally designed for the Vignellis’ wedding.
The Dutchman Gerrit Rietveld (1888 – 1964) was one of the most important designers and architects of the 20th century. He was trained as a carpenter and was associated early on with the De Stijl movement and its central figures, Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. Beginning in 1918, his work reflects the artistic ideals of this group. Rietveld transformed objects and buildings into abstract compositions of lines and planes, mainly in black, white, grey and the primary colours yellow, red and blue. However, he initially developed his legendary Red-Blue Chair in 1918 without the striking colour scheme from which its name is derived – the coloured version dates from the year 1923. Rietveld’s first architectural project, the now legendary Rietveld-Schröder House, followed in 1924. In search of ways to further develop his radical aesthetic ideas, Rietveld soon distanced himself from the aesthetics of De Stijl. Throughout the 1930s, he pursued experimental work, especially with innovative materials such as plywood and aluminium. One example of the unusual furnishings created out of these materials is the Zig-Zag Chair (c. 1932). After 1945, Rietveld was primarily active as an architect, designing prestigious buildings such as the Dutch Pavilion on the premises of the Venice Biennale. By the time of the major De Stijl retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1952/53, Rietveld had attained international recognition as a pioneer of modern design. This Vitra Design Museum exhibition is the first major retrospective on Gerrit Rietveld to be presented to the German-speaking public since 1996. Comprising around 320 objects – including furniture, models, paintings, photographs, films and approximately 100 original drawings and plans – it offers a comprehensive overview of the Dutch designer’s work. In addition, it incorporates comparative works by contemporaries such as Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer, thus shedding light on the mutual exchange of ideas and Rietveld’s place in the context of other modernist currents.
Viewed in the light of this new retrospective, many facets of Gerrit Rietveld’s work prove to be astonishingly relevant today. For example, his urban plans appear to have much more in common with current developments than many radical utopian concepts put forth by other modernist architects, since Rietveld’s were based on social aspects rather than dogmatic principles. And with a series of furniture for self-assembly in the 1930s and ’40s, Rietveld anticipated even today’s do-it-yourself trend and the concept of “open design”.
Gerrit Rietveld: The Revolution of Space, May 17 – September 16, at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
The first special project by White Cube in Brazil, Facts and Systems (Fatos e Sistemas) is an exhibition of two new series of works. In one room, the artist will present dramatic body forms made from stacked, mild steel blocks that punctuate and articulate the gallery. In another room, he will present a group of linear sculptures made from 6mm steel road that continue his investigation into architectural space.
“Experiencing an object is dependent on the forces of the mind and soul. To perceive means to be moved, and to be moved means to form.”
- Johannes Itten
The main event at the Saloni 2012 is dedicated to those men, those companies and, in particular, to those hundreds of objects that laid the ground for the Italian design system and its aspirations. Taking the objects as a starting point, therefore, allowing them — whether they be useful, good-looking, useless, debateable — to demonstrate the great power contained within themselves is, basically, what “Design Dance” is all about, furthering the great Cosmit tradition of combining trade fair and commercial
mandate with art and communication.
“Design Dance” — a project by Michela Marelli and Francesca Molteni, enables the works by the protagonists of design to speak and act, dance even. The objects become actors and storytellers because, as with all the fruits of human creativity, they narrate the emotional run-up to their inception. Modern day objects and objects from the past, classical and modern, together with SaloneSatellite designs that have “come true” by going into production.
Many of the products from Salone Internazionale del Mobile exhibition will be presented at iSaloni WorldWide Moscow in October.
Design Dance, Teatro dell’Arte at the Triennale di Milano, April 17 – 22, 2012, Milan, Italy, Cosmit
Hinoki Kogei is Japan’s leading woodwork factory, founded in 1977 by Chuzo Tozawa. British designer Peter Marigold collaborated with the Company to create a design which incorporates a woodworking technique that has been used for centuries.
Japan Creative is a non-profit organization founded to respond to the destructive earthquake of March 2011, an event that led to some rethinking of the aesthetics and value of design. The exhibit, curated by Hiroshi Naito, seeks to interpret this tremendous hardship, returning to the roots of traditional Japanes objects and crafts. The exhibition theme “Simple Vision” encompasses the idea of redefining established design rules to interpret them with a new spirit that is open to different cultures.
Each of the five concepts presented at Superstudio in Milan explores a different, distinctive approach to glass achieved by the accomplished artisans in the Lasvit workshop in Nový Bor. For Lasvit’s Inhale Lamp, glass blowers form big air bubbles then inhale to produce an unusual shape with negative air pressure. X-Ray vases capitalize on transparency and reflection, two key characteristics of glass, to transform a series of domes within a larger mirrored dome, into a subtle, ever-changing optical effect. Press lamps in pendant and floor styles rely on light sources tucked into compressed glass tubes to produce soft, organic forms. Innerblow and Overflow tables deploy two techniques using metal forms and the flowing quality of molten glass to create smooth and water-like surfaces. Growing Vases are whimsical objects in which glass pipes give the illusion of vases blooming out of flowers.
Innerflow, Overflow, Inhale, Press (Smoke), X-Ray Vase, by Nendo, for Lasvit
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Building Construction/Geodesic Dome, United States Patent Office no. 2,682,235, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Motor Vehicle-Dymaxion Car, United States Patent Office no. 2,101,057, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Undersea Island-Submarisle, United States Patent Office no. 3,080,583,from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print on Lenox paper; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Non-Symetrical Tension-Integrity Structures, United States Patent Office no. 3,866,366, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Laminar Geodesic Dome, United States Patent Office no. 3,203,144, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, 4D House, United States Patent Office no. 1,793, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print on Lenox paper; 30 in. x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 101.6 cm); Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.
The Bay Area has long attracted dreamers, progressives, nonconformists, and designers. Buckminster Fuller was all of these, and although he never lived in San Francisco, his ideas have spawned many local experiments in technology, design, and sustainability. The first to consider Fuller’s legacy in the Bay Area, this exhibition features some of his most iconic projects, as represented in a Fuller print portfolio recently acquired by SFMOMA, Inventions: Twelve Around One. Along with Fuller inventions like the 4D House, Geodesic Dome, World Game, and Dymaxion car, the exhibition presents Bay Area endeavors — from Ant Farm’s 1972 domed Convention City proposal to the North Face Oval Intention tent, and from IwamotoScott’s Jellyfish House to One Laptop Per Child — inspired by Fuller’s visionary designs connecting technology, ecology, and social responsibility.
The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area, March 31 – July 29, 2012,
at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA
Chandlo was designed as a special prototype made by BD Barcelona for Das Haus 2012. This was an installation by Doshi Levien for IMM Cologne that explored their vision of a perfect home. Das Haus consisted of interconnected spaces opening up to a central courtyard. The different areas of the home depended mainly on objects and furniture to define space.
The seemingly abstract composition of the mirrors, cabinet and surface is based on the gestures and daily ritual of dressing up and grooming, celebrating the enjoyment of getting dressed and the importance of personal grooming as part of our daily well being ritual.
An architectural composition of forms and planes are designed to be viewed from all sides, revealing different aspects of the object as you walk around it. Chandlo means moon shape and also Bindi that is the coloured dot worn by Indian women on the forehead to which the circular mirror makes reference.
Our intention was to create a composition in which the elements are holding each other in position without actually touching. To maintain the simplicity of this deconstructed arrangement, we had to conceal the production methods and this presented many technical challenges overcome masterfully by BD Barcelona.
Chandlo Dressing Table, by Doshi Levien
In March, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Tugendhat Villa reopened after an $8.8 million, two-year reconstruction. Using family photographs, archival material, visiting Mies’ other buildings in the U.S. and Europe, the Tugendhat redesign team focused on, as Villa Director Iveta Cerna said “identifying authenticity.”
The Villa, built in 1930, was the family home of the Tugendhats only until 1938 when they fled the country due to World War II. Fritz and Greta Tugendhat worked closely with Mies, who designed the site-specific building to make excellent use of steel, glass and concrete, and flowing spatial srrangement. The building was not well maintained under communism. Many of the original furnishings and other elements went missing and structural work needed to be done. Work included removing things added in the years after the Tugendhats had left, as well as hunting down original furniture, and when those couldn’t be found painstakingly making exact copies. The result is a renewed near-perfect example of one of Mies’s “space must be felt” creations.
Tugendhat Villa, Brno, Czech Republic, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s, via: Dwell