In 2002, Mudam Luxembourg acquired the light fittings, cabinets, table and door of one of the patients’ rooms. The intimate Sanatorium Paimio – Mobilier d’une Chambre installation shows what the building itself exemplifies: a pressing issue of the period, tuberculosis, and the role designers can play in the fight against disease, as well as the timeless value and beauty of the modernistic idea, in line with other works in the Mudam’s archive. The sanatorium was designed by Alvar Aalto, who, in close collaboration with his wife Aino Aalto, also designed the furniture and light fixtures. As is true of all the architectural elements, the shapes, colours, materials and surface finishings of the furniture and light fittings speak of sober functionality and elegant aesthetics.
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"Lachaert and d'Hanis are not looking to make a product, nor are they seeking to make a work of art. They will bring back into design things that are usually connected solely to the visual arts," said a release from the artists. For Crossed Legs, the artists intertwined two bronze chairs. "The construction evokes the function of furniture as a stage for social interaction, allowing people to come together in familiar gathering," they said. "Through their structural language, the chairs echo the feeling of familiarity with subtly intertwined legs."
The research for the design of an outdoor bench becomes the opportunity for Bas Smets and Eliane Le Roux to explore the biospheric processes between planetary life and solar energy. Living matter uses the latter to produce ever more organic material. Most of this former life gets deposited and compacted into sedimentary rocks. The 'biospheric bench' is composed of carefully selected stones, former life petrified and former rocks metamorphosed. Cut to an elementary triangular shape, these stones are tied together by two elastic bands while kept apart by three star-shaped printed elements, both derivates from fossil fuels. Thirteen stones form a basic module. Different modules are combined to create complex figures, resembling a crystalline structure. Much like soil samples, the stacked pieces of the bench tell a prehistoric story of living matter transformed into solid material, as a compression in time and space of biospheric processes.
Pyramid is a chest of drawers on castors. Pyramid-shaped structure in transparent acrylic resin, 17 drawers in black acrylic resin. The drawers range in dimensions from the top to the bottom. Shiro Kuramata was a Japanese designer from 1965 when he founded the Kuramata Design Office in Tokyo until he died in 1991. Kuramata designed some of the most significant and lasting pieces ever produced. His significance in western design was shown first in Memphis, then with Cappellini in 1987. Cappellini celebrated his talent and made him its choice designer to introduce the Cappellini brand on the international stage. His work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, MoMA of New York, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Toyama.
The main personality behind the establishment of the world-famous company producing bent furniture was the ingenious inventor, cabinetmaker and furniture designer, Michael Thonet (1796–1871). In 1849, he founded the company “Thonet Söhne” in Vienna, which was later renamed to “Gebrüder Thonet” and, as early as in 1851, he introduced the so-called Viennese chairs of bent wood at the World Exhibition in London, for which he received bronze medal. Four years later, it was already silver medal and in 1867 in Paris, golden medal for the most famous chair of all times – Chair No. 14. The success of the native from the Rhineland city of Boppard, Michael Thonet, and his five sons reached the highest upswing in Moravia where their factories in Koryčany (1857) and Bystřice pod Hostýnem (1861) gained fame on a global scale thanks to their spirit of enterprise, the vast beech forests and the great skills of the local workers.
Carlo Scarpa was born in Venice in 1906, and died an accidental death in Japan in 1978. Like many great artists, Scarpa’s work as architect and designer is highly influential and yet remains enigmatic, illusive and hard to categorize. What is obvious in all his work is an underlying transcendental quality, an uncanny ability to create powerful emotional states in all who experience it. It is perhaps this quality that makes him one of the most beloved and revered figures in the history of 20th century Italian art and design.
Gaston Eysselinck, Office Chair, 1931, steel and wood. Collection Design museum Gent
The Panton Chair is an S-shaped plastic chair created by the Danish designer Verner Panton in the 1960s. The world's first moulded plastic chair, it is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Danish design. The idea of designing a stackable plastic chair was first expressed by the German architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe before the Second World War. From the early 1950s, Panton too had dreamt of making a stackable, cantilevered plastic chair all in one piece. It is said he had been inspired in particular by a neatly stacked pile of plastic buckets. In 1956, he designed the S Chair which can be considered a forerunner of the Panton Chair. He saw it as an item of furniture in which the back, seat and legs were made of the continuous piece. It was first produced in 1965.
Hand turned vase with white earth casting elements. Matt black, red green and light blue enamel.
Hand turned vase with white earth casting elements. Matt black, burgundy, red and bright white enamel.
Understanding that processing wood from planks to products incurs 50% to 80% of timber wastage during normal manufacture, Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw looked at ways of incorporating waste shavings into design using bio-resin. A curious chemical reaction occurs when it is mixed with the shavings, expanding it into a foamed structure. By adding colour dye and varied-sized shavings from different workshop machines, a colourful, lightweight and mouldable material was created, reinforced by the fibres in the hardwood shavings. The porridge-like mixture of resin and shavings are applied to the underside of the chair shell by hand, building up the material wherever extra strength is required. The mixture then foams explosively to create its own exuberant form, anchored by the simple turned legs of American ash. This chair was developed with the support of the American Hardwood Export Council it was one of the first pieces of furniture to be subjected to Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), measuring its total environmental impact across its production and usage. The Well Proven Chair has been nominated for the Design of the Year 2013 Award and will be seen at the Design Museum in London.
The vitra MVS chaise lounge was designed by Maarten Van Severen and connects Minimalist chaise lounge design with comfort. Thanks to the elastically yielding material the simple, rectangular Vitra lounger offers comfort, and in addition, thanks to the sub frame it can be easily switched between a lying or sitting position. The MVS chaise lounge is marked with the manufacturers mark, and is made of Polyurethane.
The project Botanica was commissioned by Plart, an Italian foundation dedicated to scientific research and technological innovation in the recovery, restoration and conservation of works of art and design produced in plastic. Marco Petroni, curator of the project, commissioned the studio to create their own personal interpretation of polymeric materials.
Volcanic glass, procured by remelting Etna’s rocks, has been mouth-blown into unique vessels or cast into box-like structures that purposefully allude to the illegal dwellings and assorted buildings that have developed at the foot of the volcano. Drawing on their own vocabulary, these solitary glass boxes and mysterious black buildings have been finished with such archetypal Formafantasma detailing as cotton ribbons and Murano glass plaques. By returning the rocks to their original molten state Formafantasma are reversing the natural timeline of the material and forcing a dialogue between the natural and manmade. A black, obsidian mirror that is suspended on a brass structure and balanced by Volcanic rocks continues this line of narrative, as the semi-precious glass like stone is produced only when molten lava is in contact with water.
In Leopard, Impala historical taxidermy was taken from the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium to be X-ray’d in a local hospital. The steel structures uncovered inside the scene of a leopard killing an impala are recreated in rare earth neon, mammoth ivory and natural rubber; reconstructing an imaginary choreography between two animal skins in materials of contemporary mining practices.
Using inexpensive, standard-sized fluorescent lamps, fixtures and wiring, Dan Flavin fills large rooms with tremendous energy. Some of the 50 objects and installations on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s current retrospective are unbearably intense, some are seductive, and some are antagonistic. Radical in conception and execution, the light pieces hover between sculpture and drawing. Indeed, in many cases Flavin thinks like a draftsman - its just that his lines are not marks, but three-dimensional shapes in space that radiate light and color; they exist only so long as his characteristic fluorescent lamps function and receive electric power. These lines are most effective when they have an entire space to command and can stake their claim to it by their reflections on the floor, walls and ceiling.
Niki de Saint-Phalle's "Nanas", women with generous shapes and bright colors, appeared in 1964. They are now emblematic of her work. Temperance, the fourteenth arcanum of the tarot, is a typical figure of the Tarot Garden that Niki de Saint-Phalle, after a visit to Gaudi's Jardin Guëll in Barcelona, began in 1979 in a village in Tuscany, Capalbio. Temperance shows a goddess woman, with buxom forms, who in her flight seems to pour water into her wine. The artist takes up here the iconography attributed to the symbolic figure of Temperance, whose character is the opposite of his. However, we must not be mistaken, the shimmering colors highlight the feminine attributes to better highlight and denounce the feminine condition.
In the ‘Healing’ series is a changing process of familiar furniture, weakness results in new meanings. Removal and addition of elements creates new functions. The leg of the Healing Chair has become a toy car. You can imagine a father reading in this chair, he stacks his books underneath his seat and transforms the leg into a toy for his child to play with.
Small things can become large in a different perspective. Far fetched connections between seemingly unrelated things can lead to an endlessly rich archive of new ideas and possibilities. While mulling over the function of dust, an idea sprung to mind. The grey, arbitrary particles of unknown matter that make up dust, equalize everything underneath it. Valuable objects disappear under the same layer as shoddy things.
To enhance the active engagement in the caring process towards objects, I created objects that are enmeshed in the notion of fragility through physical and psychological virtues that reflect temporality. The selection of the material for my final objects was done according to what I regard as being an common structural material in furniture industry; tubular steel. I manipulated the tubular steel by cutting it into small rings. Connecting the rings back together to form a semi covering layer over an existing object was a method of capturing the physical space the object occupied. The vanishing of the original objects is done with fire; a primordial force used as a method for recreating the original object. The object goes through a horrific physical transformation and a metaphysical bond between the object and memories is forged into existence.
Jing He examines Zuiderzee credits from the viewpoint if her Chinese heritage. Crafts, she discovers, often develop through cross-pollination with other culture and crafts. Her rocking-horse is made from an inverted cradle that was woven by the museum’s basket-weaver, Ineke van der Sommon. It incorporates Chinese and Dutch technique and shapes. Jing He’s design gets us thinking about the fusion of cultures, and about immigration, (social) boundaries and identity in our world today. The basket weaving crafts are seen as a metaphor to connect different meanings and materials.
Tim Vanlier is not a ceramist, but he did specialise in the making of Delftware, developing a new view on this old craft. The traditional objects have often the same language in blue, showing intricate artwork on quite standard forms. Tim threw the painstaking pottery rules overboard and experimented with new methods of shaping, painting and baking. What if you take a tiny detail from a 16th century plate and enlarge and abstract it? Or use waste water instead of the real paint to create a new colour gradient? And how can a sandblaster contribute to the special effects? The answers are found in this refreshing collection of seven porcelain vases, simply called BLAUW.
Sejoon Kim’s project stemmed from the question as to why he, as a Korean, appears to be more drawn to this style than the Europeans around him. This led him to study what ‘cuteness’ is. For Kim, the root of cuteness is not the so-called protective instinct, but lies in a social and cultural construct. Framed by a rigid hierarchy, its sociocultural context reveals a hidden desire for dominance and control.
A Taste of Childhood Children look at the world with an incredible sense of curiosity and wonder. Yet, this is the first to go when we grow up. With ‘The Lemonade Factory’, I aim to recreate those miraculous moments: inviting delight back into our daily existence one sip at a time. Inspired by the lemonade tree in the classic tales of Pippi Longstocking, The lemonade machine celebrates the fun of making lemonade in a practical and visual way. The device transforms the sour yellow fruit into delicious juice in minutes, right before your eyes. It’s like magic – the magic of childhood.
We already value the milk, meat, skin and tongue of a cow. But what about the intestines? Interested in making use of the unused, Kathrine Barbro Bendixen found a ”second life” for these unloved innards. “Inside Out” is a man-made lamp with an animal-made material and shape. It compromises 50m of cleaned, inflated intestines from a single cow. The twist is natural and shaped by the cow, as is the white mother-of-pearl sheen. Man-made LED tube lights inserted inside to give an x-ray looking glow and exaggerated the details of the intestines. As the air slowly escapes overtime, the lamp – like the cow produces it – will perish. The design is meant for sustainable restaurants; with their new dishes they may also have to introduce new lights.
They look cute and cuddly. But look again and you’ll see them for what they are: bombs, missiles and mortars. As toy guns are popular as ever, I thought it's time to make the next step with these toys of mass destruction. Although they are made from soft wool, the shape and size are for real. The biggest of them all is a stuffed replica of the nuke on Hiroshima, which ironically was nicknamed ‘Little Boy’. Could the contradiction be any more obvious? A short accompanying movie shows how politicians play with their bombs like boys with their toys. Isn’t it time to stop this madness?
The Tulip Pyramid is a 17th-century Dutch invention. However, its form, its motifs and its material imitate Chinese porcelain and pagoda. I began this project to continue the process of replicating and transforming which is the history of Tulip Pyramid. I wanted to explore the question of ‘creativity in copying’ and the question of identity. If a Tulip Pyramid were to be imitated in nowadays China - a country which is a mixture of common and private ownership, of collectivism and individualism, troubled by the issue of counterfeiting and appropriating intellectual property - what would result be? I invited five young Chinese designers from different design disciplines, to reflect the culture and the history of imitation and innovation. They each designed two layers of the pyramid. I claim ownership of the final product together with these five designers, to further explore the intellectual property of this object. I see myself as a Tulip Pyramid. My origins are in China and I’ve been transformed in the Netherlands. What does that make me? The education in the Netherlands gave me another perspective of design. I found a flexible area outside the practice of design for mass-production, using my personal experience to ask questions about mass-production in a design discourse. For a second pyramid, I imitated and mixed up famous Dutch designers’ iconic works with my former works, to question their influence and the institution that formed me. Graduation is the starting point of this long term project. I expect that in the future, this project will keep growing and develop into mass-production.