Satisfying Images – Order, Destruction and Power
There is an endless sea of images and videos on the Internet. In fact, it seems that there is almost nothing you cannot find in the digital ocean. What excites us most in this infinite archive of our species? What attracts our eyes? What makes our brains go into automatic sorting mode? What do we let us affect us? Are there pictures that we particularly like without us knowing why? Perfect shapes, straight lines, colours, destruction, confusion. Order and chaos - It is almost impossible to turn the gaze away from such images. There is a satisfaction to them. Are we all obsessive-compulsive? As well as the funny "home-clips" on Facebook, heartbreaking stories of stranded whales and exaggerated political articles, images and videos have been appearing that are supposed to have a "calming" or "satisfying" effect on the viewer - visual oases of relaxation. Perfectly executed movements, soft enveloping foams, miles of colourful cables that are precisely arranged, aligned and sorted, various objects that are being sliced, brought together and pushed into one another as if they were only created for each other. These images and videos, often accompanied by #satisfying or the very ...
The Look into the Unknown
This year's Dutch Design Week [http://www.ddw.nl/] held a mirror up to current concerns and scenarios. One saw - not only what people create - but also how they will be shaped by new technologies in the future. Technologies enhance identities and make them possible. Identities in turn conceal technologies. The objects and installations on display are not always concerned with concrete design, but importantly with a poetic, almost artistic approach to what design could be - the mirror of humanity and poetic design as an instrument for cultural engagement. If one considers the impact that these design objects and installations have regarding a self-triggering effect, one recognizes a denominator. Poetic design and the view into the unknowable scratch the surface, which we call the ego. Without us knowing it, we are touched, shocked and left alone with a sense of cluelessness and maybe even inspiration. An object with such an effect due to its peculiarity is "Speculum" by Simone Smelt [https://www.simonesmelt.com/speculum/]. Soft tone black mirrors mounted on the wall let the viewer unnaturally look into a deep illuminated tunnel, which from a logical perception should not be there. The two interactive mirrors play ...
Desert Pioneers
New gardening methods, especially urban gardening or guerilla gardening became popular in the beginning of the 21st century, when the notion of rapidly growing cities and mega structures grew. Today designers are becoming more aware of the trend and it is increasingly present within social media blogs, where urban gardeners come up with creative methods to garden their concrete dominated environment. An environment less frequently showcased in this fashion are the desert regions that inhabitants have to flee due to war and grievances in their homeland. The graduation project Desert Pioneers in the field of "Man and Leisure" from the Dutch designer Thom Bindels concentrates on a self sustaining, durable future targeting the refugee camp Zaatari in the area of Jordan.  Being one of the biggest refugee camps in a dry desert area, it offers a place of shelter for approximately 80.000 people. Desert Pioneer is a foldable garden, developed for degraded landscapes, that holds nested seeds of pioneer plants to kickstart a new ecosystem. Bindels vision for the foldable honeycomb-shaped structure of the Desert Pioneer, is to allow small communities in refugee camps to create erosion barriers. Among the largely product-oriented pieces of this year's graduate show, which o...
The Hearth - First Focal Point of the Home
The first sign of settlement and rest after the hunt, the battle, and wandering in the desert is today, as when the first men lost paradise, the setting up of the fireplace and the lighting of the reviving, warming, and food preparing flame. Around the hearth the first groups and alliances formed, Descartes reflected on the self while sitting by the chimney and the first rude religious concepts were put into the customs of a cult by the fireside. Throughout all phases of society the hearth formed that sacred focus around which took order and shape. Once considered as a vital element within the home, the fireplace is now, in the West, a nostalgic luxury, redundant but cherished, a ritual (laying the fire), and a sense of community. If a stable and reliable fireplace was once crucial to the civilized domestic life, we might depend on its successors nowadays. Whereas fireplaces were the focal point of dwelling (literally the “focus,” in Latin etymology) until the early 20th century, today, this center cannot hold. The former former tasks of the hearth – heating, cooking, lighting, a gathering place and focal point for culture – have been divided up among multiple devices, and dispersed like vin...
Modernity, Promise or Menace
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice explored the fate of the basic foundations of architecture through modernity, in its concrete manifestations, as well as its theoretical dimensions. It proposed to focus on several contradictions that marked the invention of modern architecture and its deployment in response to society’s expectations. The commissionership of the French Pavilion was entrusted to architect and architecture historian Jean-Louis Cohen. Under the title ‘Modernity: Promise or Menace?’ he has proposed a critical reading of the path followed by French architecture through this “modernity,” with a recurring focus on key moments highlighting its utopian impulses, and sometimes its contradictions. The ultimate question that arises when looking at this retrospective in the pre-war and post-war architectural period of France is whether precisely that modernity can be assessed from the perspective of the present and portrayed appropriately. The following text is intended to explain how this was achieved using the example of the exhibition' Modernity, Promise or Menace?' and where the challenges lie in confronting this omnipresent concept with an exhibition on modern pre- and post-war residential architecture. How does the term modernity actually behave today? If the concept of modernity means not only the period of a histo...
Pink Steel - Critique of an Everyday Object
Among all the little things that my bathroom contains, such as a scissor, a manicure set out of stainless steel, various bottles - mostly glass objects, containing shampoo, lotions and oils, a wooden brush and some chaotic snarl, which seems to be hair accessories and bracelets, I see this pink, cute and ergonomic little object - a Venus Gilette razor. I am wondering why I bought this pink razor. I would never buy something pink. But I bought it, because I needed a razor, and this razor is a „women’s“ razor. I am a woman, thus, I bought it, finding myself in the here and now, being sceptical towards my shopping choice. I am wondering, what makes this razor female, and why is an object designed according to a certain gender? does the razor stand for a much bigger movement in our designed environment? Forms play an important role, of course. Socially, angular, square forms and large, dark things are considered male-occupied. Cute, small, soft and round products as feminine. What is decisive to the customer, however, is the overall appearance of a brand and the whole atmosphere that creates it. Also the product names: My lady razor is called...
Ein Besuch in der Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London
Loic Le Gaillard, Mitinhaber und Gründer der Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London, hat einen guten Geschmack - wenn es um ihn und seine Prinzipien als Galerist geht. Er sagt: "Was die Reichen voneinander unterscheidet, sind nicht die Dinge, die sie besitzen, sondern ihr Geschmack." Man möchte mit Gaillard ins Gespräch kommen, wenn man ihn trifft, denn seine überzeugte Aversion Kunst und Design klar zu definieren (Hauptsache man kann dem Objekt einen ästhetischen und funktionalen Wert aberkennen) lädt regelrecht zu einer Diskussion ein. Er ist fixiert, ja fast schon verwachsen mit seinem Galerieraum, der wohl genau das repräsentiert, was Gaillard am meisten schätzt – Design, das eine Formsprache besitzt, das provoziert und anregt und aus eindrucksvollen Materialien besteht. Umgeben von Skulpturen oder Lampen - man weiß es zunächst nicht - von Atelier Van Lieshout, beginnt der Besucher seine Erfahrung in der Londoner Galerie. Dem Besucher wird zunächst nicht offenbart, was namentlich hier ausgestellt wird – der erste Eindruck soll nicht vom Preis oder Namen eines Produkts verblendet werden. Man merkt, hinter dem Galeriebesitzer Gaillard steckt nicht nur ein Kunstliebhaber, sondern auch ein gerissener Geschäftsmann. Eben diese Eigenschaft weiß der Gallerist auch an holländischen Des...