Another French Revolution: Design & Prisunic in the 1970’s

From Terence Conran to Andrée Putman, major names in the design industry embarked upon Prisunic's quest for "Beauty for the price of ugliness", and good design for all. It all started during the 1930's, following the stock market crash of 1929, when famous Parisian department store Le Printemps decided to spruce up and launch a new concept. In 1936, the brand "Prisunic" was born (literally: "unique prices"). From the beginning, this innovative approach met a huge success. Renowned furniture and graphic designers or photographers gradually whipped up the perfect image, offering an avant-garde lifestyle and an affordable "new look" for interiors that left a strong imprint. The epitome of Prisunic's success came in the 1970s. (...)

Loewe’s strange tribute to Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Loewe x Mackintosh - This capsule collection may leave the fans of the famed "Glasgow Four" a bit puzzled... To mark the visionary designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 150 birthday - and following the dramatic fire that destroyed his masterpiece, the Glasgow School of Art-, Loewe has just unveiled a tribute collection. Jonathan Anderson, the artistic director of the renowned Spanish luxury brand, has widely spoken about his fascination with the arts and crafts movement, himself an avid collector of works by William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. But as much as one can admire Ms Cranston's tearoom rose pattern, was it necessary to design an all-over patterned garment? Yes, it looks awkward. Likewise, Mackintosh's most famous geometrical patterns have been used very literally, leaving no space for re-interpretation whatsoever. Glaswegians coined a term that could apply to those: "Mockintosheries". (...)

Design inspired by Nature: Flora & Fauna

Hong Kong based publisher Viction:ary have released yet another gorgeous design book: Flora & Fauna, Design inspired by Nature. The focus certainly rings a bell with the current, fascinating "Fashioned From Nature" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum in London (sponsored by the European Confederation of Linen). Over 256 pages, the book explores various projects that took nature as a focus point - or main inspiration. "Besides providing the setting for ideation and imagination, (Nature) is a canvas full of complex shapes and lines interwoven with each other, countless varieties of colour palettes, as well as diverse tones and textures that set distinct moods and atmospheres. Flora & Fauna, Design inspired by Nature explores the ways with which these timeless elements have been re-interpreted and incorporated into modern branding and design work. Spanning a wide range of project types such as logos, icons, packaging and print ads, it showcases a world of creativity as diverse as nature itself."    

Is Modernism dead? The sinking of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye

Danish artist Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen's installation Flooded Modernity, a full-scale, 15 x 6 x 9m model of a corner of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1929), will float in the waters of Vejle, Denmark, until September 2nd. The sculpture, made of wood, polystyrene, and Plexiglas, is part of the Vejle Floating Art Festival.  The artist, Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen, imagined the 11,000-pound work of art as a comment on the ‘sinking’ of the public sphere after the disclosure of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the manipulation of democratic elections through social media.

The powerful work of Christien Meinderstma on display @Vitra Design Museum

We know her works with and for Japanese label ARITA or have seen her many experiences with flax or linen, including the brilliant Label/breed Flax chair (picture above). The Vitra Design Museum team were right to dedicate their next exhibition to the works of Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma: "Beyond the Surface", the designer's first solo presentation outside her native country, will focus on her seeing the creation of a product as only one element of the design process. In her unique approach, she explores the mechanisms of modern industrial production, undertaking expeditions to factories and conducting meticulous detective work at waste disposal sites and workshops - while bringing her unquenchable thirst for knowledge to interviews with the protagonists of these adventures. The exhibition focuses on Christien Meindertsma's work with the materials of wool, flax, incinerator bottom ash and recycled wool. On display are projects such as the One Sheep Sweater (2010) - for which she produced garments from the coats of individual sheep - or the Flax Chair (Label/Breed, 2015), an innovative, sustainable piece of furniture made from a now rarely used material, which earned her the New Material Award and the Dutch Design Award in 2016. The exhibition (18 August 2018 until 20 January 2019) at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery will not merely concentrate on finished products, but material samples, prototypes and photographs. A particular focus lies on the production processes behind the completed object, which Meindertsma captures by means of films and publications - a method she refers to as "documentary design". This renders visible how deeply the designer dives into her subject matter, often exploring a topic for long periods of time and positioning one completed project as a launch pad for the next.

Of toothpicks & design: “A Million Time” at Changi Airport, Humans since 1982

It took four years to complete this uncommon clock, that you can admire in the Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi airport, at the entrance of the departure hall. But to be fair, it took over ten years to its designers, Stockholm-based studio Humans since 1982, to refine this one-of-akind concept; the Changi example is one of its variations. "A Million Times" at Changi is both a kinetic sculpture and functioning clock composed of 504 smaller clocks and 1008 motors. With a width of 7.5m, the entire ‘clock face’ is wider than that of London’s Big Ben (7m). Each of the 1008 clock-hands (504-minute hands and 504-hour hands) are fitted with individual motors, giving the kinetic sculpture the ability to show various patterns, as well as the time and greetings in various languages across different times of the day. Bastian Bischoff and Per Emanuelsson are the founders of Humans since 1982. Since meeting as postgraduate students at HDK Göteborg in 2008, the duo are renowned to have produced works that defy easy categorisation, situated between visual art and product design. Creating objects and experiential installations, they describe their work as "analytical, with a healthy dose of escapism".

At last! Tim Walker at the V&A, London

Whimsical, extravagant, out-of-this-world: the V&A museum have just announced an upcoming exhibition (well, we will have to wait a bit: 7 September 2019 – 8 March 2020) dedicated to the fantastical fashion photographer Tim Walker. You can admire some of his iconic pictures in this post we published in 2012. The immersive exhibition, showcasing everything from installations, films, photo sets, and at the heart of it all – a brand new photo-series influenced by the V&A’s collections. As well as as a retrospective of the photographer, the exhibition (designed by British art director Shona Heath) will also pay an homage to the contributions of his creative collaborators, from stylists, makeup artists, set designers, to models and artists who have all played a part in the creation of Walker’s magical worlds.

Hans Tan: “Design can be a cultural driver for Singapore”

Hans Tan has just been crowned Singapore Designer of the Year 2018 (Product & Industrial design) at this year's President's Design Awards. He was already the recipient of two Design of the Year awards, in 2015 for his Pour table and in 2012, for the now famous Spotted Nyonya series.  Having studied design in both Singapore and the Netherlands, where he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, his works show a balanced combination of finely tuned industrial processes and knowledgeable artistic references, that is still too rarely seen in the Singapore design scene. Early on in his career (with the meaningful Petrified Victoria series in 2008, for instance, and probably earlier while studying at DAE), Hans Tan started using the most recent, refined technologies to write modern stories that can be read, each in a different way, as a testament to a rich, multi-layered cultural heritage (past, present and future). Observed carefully, his designs also reveal intricate tales of social evolution. (...)