MONO - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2018

Piqué
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Snedkersind v/Kristian Frandsen

Sunrise
designed by:
Lise og Hans Isbrand
produced by: MoreWood Møbelsnedkeri ApS

 
 

The Cabinetmakers Autumn Exhibition for 2018 has just opened at Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen.

SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling - The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition - is an association of 81 designers and manufacturers. Each year their board select a venue for their exhibition and set a theme along with any specific rules for a particular year - often to do with dimensions but this year also stipulating colour - so each work will be restricted to just one colour with the choice limited to either the natural colour of the material itself or to one of the strong and distinctive colours used in the original decorative schemes of rooms in Thorvaldsens Museum.

Each year, guest designers and guest manufacturers can apply to show their work. 

When setting the theme for this year, MONO was suggested to imply a range of associated ideas through monochrome, monolith, monopoly and monologue.

A subheading for the exhibition … furniture shaped by craftsmanship and insight … is crucial. The pieces highlight the skills and the experience of the cabinetmakers who, in some pieces, take their chosen materials to new extremes and, in all the works, take their workshop techniques to the highest level. So the exhibition is in part about the style and the form of each work but the cabinetmakers also represent a long and well-established craft tradition in Denmark so these pieces are about understanding the materials, to know what can be done and how, and to use incredible skills to shape, finish, join, refine or reduce the parts that make each work.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to experiment or to produce designs that might otherwise not be commissioned … the aim is to not only to challenge the skill of the maker but also to challenge the preconceptions of the visitor.

There are forty one works in the exhibition. Most were produced in a partnership between a designer and a cabinetmaker or furniture manufacturer - in many cases a  partnership that is now well-established over many years and over several projects shown at the Autumn Exhibition although several pieces were both designed and made by the same person.

 

the Autumn Exhibition continues at Thorvaldsens Museum until 9 December 2018

Thorvaldsens Museum
SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling

Cupola drejestol / Cupola swivel chair
designed by:
Niels Gammelgaard
produced by: Northern Layers

En stol / A chair
designed by:
Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen
produced by: Kvist Industries A/S

Introvert position
designed by:
Andreas Lund
produced by: Toke Overgaard

Rum / Encircle
designed by:
Troels Grum-Schwensen
produced by: Malte Gormsen

2Gether
designed and made by:
Steen Dueholm Sehested

Bloom
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Egeværk

Beside
designed by:
Line Depping
produced by: Skagerak Denmark A/S

Guldlok / Goldilocks
designed by:
Monique Engelund
produced by: Sune Witt Skovhus

 
 

a special edition of The Egg

my thanks to staff of Fritz Hansen in Valkendorfsgade in Copenhagen for allowing me to photograph the chair and for the time we spent discussing the work of Jacobsen and the designs and colours of the Hallingdal range

 

The Egg in suede at the Copenhagen store but showing clearly the same strong and more sculptural look seen when the chair is covered with leather

To mark the anniversary of The Egg … Arne Jacobsen designed the chair for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in 1958 … Fritz Hansen have released a special version of the chair covered in the Kvadrat fabric called Hallingdal that was designed by Nanna Ditzel in 1965 … perhaps not as well known or as easily recognised outside Denmark but, like the chair itself, a design classic that has been in continuous production since it was launched. 

In fact, although I can’t know the real figures, there is a very good chance that more people have sat on a chair covered with Hallingdal without realising what they were sitting on than have sat in an Egg chair … in the late 60s and through the 1970s for its well-deserved reputation for being hardwearing and for the range of colours it was the go-to fabric for upholstery for commercial seating for office chairs, chairs for schools, and seating for doctors’ and hospital waiting rooms.

It was a revelation seeing the chair covered in Hallingdal in the showroom of Fritz hansen in Copenhagen. 

Now we tend to know The Egg in the version covered in leather and often see it used as a sort of statement of status, and taking on a bold sculptural quality. Covered in a fabric, particularly in a soft natural colour, it immediately looks more subtle, more discrete, more inviting and comfortable and, curiously, smaller.

Initially, Jacobsen wanted the chairs in the hotel to be covered with leather but for fairly obvious economic reasons had to agree that the chairs used in hotel rooms would be covered in fabric. He designed a relatively heavy fabric in a mix of the deep blue and green shades he often used but also gave it a stronger texture with distinct wavy lines through the weave.

The Hallingdal fabric is actually a bit of a chameleon for it takes on very different characteristics depending on the combination of colours … in natural greys or browns or creams used in combination then it looks like a Harris Tweed but with two contrasting colours for warp and weft it gains a sharp pin or small check pattern that is quite sassy and in strong bold single colours it can look just as powerful and assertive as when the chair is covered with leather.

This shows that even when a form is as bold and as distinctive as The Egg, colour and texture are incredibly important in reinforcing the character of the design or modifying it and toning it down.

note:
I understand this special edition is currently available only in Denmark

Kvadrat

Republic of Fritz Hansen

 

MONO - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition

 

This year the venue for Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn exhibition is the Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen and the theme is Mono … each work will be restricted to just one colour with the choice of colour limited to either the natural colour of the material itself or to one of the strong and distinctive colours used in the original decorative schemes of rooms in the museum.

The works are also restricted in size to a maximum foot print 90cm by 90cm although the height is limited only by the height of spaces within the museum.

Below is publicity material published earlier in the year with the call for submissions to be considered by the exhibition selection committee. 

MONO - ’furniture with a maker’s touch’ opens on 2nd November 2018

 

MONO - a piece of furniture with a craftsman’s understanding
For Mono, this year's SE exhibition, furniture will be created that demonstrates an engagement and passion for shape, colour and material. Furniture that individually and together expresses quality but also a rhythmic, narrative and simple whole.

With MONO we want to create an exhibition consisting of single-coloured / MONOchrome furniture, furniture that emphasises the individual designer's personal message / MONOlog, and this in conjunction with Thorvaldsenś MONOlithic sculptures and Bindesbøll’s beautiful building

Background:
There are two strong personalities that emerge when you say Thorvaldsens Museum. Bertel Thorvaldsen, to whom the museum was built and whose works it contains and Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll who is the architect of the building. Both of them, through their work, represent great craft knowledge and a pursuit of the perfect. In addition, Thorvaldsen and Bindesbøll were incredibly adept at using the past in a new and modern way, Thorvaldsen through his new interpretations of ancient history and Bindesbøll through his personal way of using inspiration from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

This year's theme invites:
That the craftsmanship is challenged, perhaps through a new interpretation of the Danish furniture tradition.

That the inner "furniture thread" comes into play, preferably by combining new and old technology. Like Thorvaldsen and Bindesbøll, we strive for the perfect.

That through the materials, the form and the colour, the aesthetic and ethical presence of the furniture is reconsidered.

The goal is for newly thought-out furniture that expresses craftsmanship but also creates a narrative and simple exhibition in interaction with the two great masters.

Requirements for dimensions, materials and colours:
The furniture must have a maximum of 90x90 cm in the floor. The height is free but the furniture must be able to stand everywhere in the museum.

The furniture must be monochrome (one colour) and this can be either the wood's own colour or one of the colours from Thorvaldsen’s museum:

 
 

farve form stof / colour form texture

detail of 1025 Farben by Gerhard Richter 1974
Parrhesia, sculpture in papier mâché by Franz West 2012
and, in the background Para 1 by Morris Louis 1959

 

Works in this exhibition are drawn from the collection and they mark major themes in art since the Second World War looking at the use of vibrant colour that has an immediate impact and at the exploration of texture and of forms for sculpture that step well beyond realism or, rather, look beyond the realistic depiction of colours and shapes and forms from the natural world.

The exhibition in the lower galleries looks at two other major themes from art from the middle of the 20th century onwards … men and masculinity and war and conflict.


the exhibition farve form stof continues until 21 October 2018
at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gammel Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk

 

Flammespor / Scorched traces - ceramics by Charlotte Nielsen

 

 

Ceramic works by Charlotte Nielsen that are fired using raku techniques that traditionally means rapid firing at a high temperature and rapid cooling so the fired clay takes on the colours and the sharp look of weathered and rusted iron. These incredible pieces are inspired by ironwork with ribs and spirals that make the pieces look like worn machine parts. 

 

Officinet
Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Deignere
Bredgade 66
14 July until 18 August 2018

multiple shadow house

 
 

A light installation by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson for the opening of the new building and new exhibition spaces of the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen. Multiple Shadow House was shown in New York in 2010 and at the Musée d'art contemporain in Montréal, in 2017.

At BLOX, it is in a smaller so what will be, presumably, a temporary exhibition and event space at the first level up from the entrance and book shop and before the main exhibition.

This area has been divided into three simple but linked spaces of different sizes to create what feels like a set of giant boxes.

At the back of each space, strong coloured lights are set low down at floor level to project a wash of colour up and forward across the front wall but when anyone enters the space they create a series of sharp overlapping silhouettes onto the front wall that, with people in the space, becomes a screen.

Each silhouette, created by one of the lights, seems to have a distinct colour and it is  the overlap of the silhouettes that is black. These multiple silhouettes are stronger in colour towards the centre and drop back becoming lighter or paler to left and right to create a sense of three dimensions in a light effect that should surely be and look flat.

The colours of the lights and the overlapping mixtures of colours are different in each space and all curiously quite subtle or at least not glaring and the pattern of overlapping silhouettes is intriguing … normally, with a single shadow, although the outline can be distorted by the angle of the light, limbs and movement, although they are elongated, can be quickly recognised and identified but here, although the shadows are 'larger than life' it is the multiplication of the image and the pattern of the overlap that is confusing so, with a group of people in the room, or even with someone on their own, the common response seems to be to exaggerate movements just to distinguish a hand or a foot from the limbs of someone else so light, instead of bringing clarity, seems to inspire the exaggeration or distortion of a stance or a movement.

 

Visitors become distracted - as they realise that the patterns of their multiple silhouettes respond to what they are doing or how they are standing - and, as they become absorbed, they seem less and less aware that they are illuminated by those same lights so there is an overlap of watchers watched as they become performers so it is interesting to stand quietly at the back to watch an impromptu performance.

 

continues until 10th October 2018

Dansk Arkitektur Center / Danish Architecture Centre
Bryghuspladsen 10
1473 Copenhagen K

 

 

the only selfie you will see posted to this site

the buildings out on Refshaleøen through a rose-tinted lens?

select any image to open the photos as a slide show

 

 

It's difficult. 

How do you preserve somewhere like this? Or at least keep some of the buildings and some of the features that make the place so interesting.

How can you keep the colours and textures of somewhere that only looks like this because it was abandoned and for twenty years has - for the most part - been left or had a series of people working out here without the money or the security of tenure to do much beyond patching and repairing. 

Of course there have been exceptions … a yacht yard has extensive workshops and the restaurant Amass is well established in a workshop building that was reconfigured by the architect Dorte Mandrup.

But even the land itself - the island - is hardly a long-term feature of the harbour with a long history. This land was all claimed from the sea in the late 19th century and until the mid 1990s this was the shipyard of Burmeister & Wain with a huge area of workshops and dry docks with buildings that had been added or adapted as necessary and as and when there was new work to be completed. The massive dry dock out the east - such a prominent feature of the works - was only constructed around 1960 so it only had a working life of around 30 years.

Maybe there is also something wrong about romanticising or fetishising the decay of industrial buildings when actually they are all that is left to mark the tough and dangerous working lives of thousands and thousands of men ..... it's sobering to read that the workshops where Amass have their restaurant and garden now was workshops where some of the men who were too old or had been injured at work could find less dangerous jobs in servicing and repairing machinery.

Small boat yards and engineering works colonised the space after the ship yard closed and that large hall has been used for events and for rock and pop concerts but Refshaleøen is now entering its next phase with the opening of new gallery space for Copenhagen Contemporary in workshops across the front of the music venue and in an area towards the harbour there is a new food market and there will be craft workshops and studios in some of the other buildings.

Even this next phase is short term - or relatively short term in the broader context of planning and future 'investment' in long-term development. This is valuable land just across the harbour from the city and much will depend on whether or not there is the motivation to build a new road tunnel to link Nordhavn and Refshaløen. 

If that happens then the whole character of the island will change.

Even now this is hardly what you would describe as marginal land but with or even without the tunnel this will not survive like this for much longer. The gallery has been told that they can stay for 10 years and some of the industrial buildings might survive to be given new uses but what merit will rusty steps and broken windows have then? What is the value of patina? What is the best rate of return on rust?

 

previous posts

Refshaleøen

Industrial buildings on Refshaleøen and Prøvestenen

Reffen / The Reef

 

&Tradition for 3daysofdesign

 

 

Until recently, &Tradition had their showrooms and studio on Paper Island, right in the centre of the city, but those former warehouses, where the newspaper industry had stored paper for printing - so hence the name - are being demolished to make way for a major redevelopment of apartments and a new inner-city swimming pool.

So &Tradition have moved across the city and are now established in a fine 18th-century town house that overlooks the King's Garden.

 

The change could hardly be more dramatic. Visiting the new showrooms and new studio and offices of the design company for the first time was one of the most interesting revelations of 3daysofdesign … or rather one of the most amazing and, to be honest, one of the most appropriate and clever transformations for a design company I have seen.

Don't get me wrong …. the old showroom, designed by the Copenhagen architects Norm, was dramatic with impressive space but the collection always looked slightly lost and, to be honest, it was difficult to make that step to imagining how that furniture might look in the sort of spaces we actually occupy.

the old studio on Paper Island

Furniture and lighting from &Tradition has been the usual mix of most Danish design companies ... so good classic designs - like the Mayor Sofa designed by Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Larsen in 1939 or the Flower Pot light by Verner Panton from 1969 - alongside new furniture commissioned from designers like Jaime Hayon.

With the move of location comes a new tag line … &Tradition Home of a Collector. It takes the furniture up a notch or three to break away from the crowded middle ground of Danish design companies and puts the furniture into a clearly domestic but very comfortable setting. This is Copenhagen interiors at their most stylish.

 

The house has a very grand entrance from the archway from the street but beyond is an incredibly pleasant courtyard and there is a new café.

If there were clear new trends from 3daysofdesign this year it was the use of named and well-known independent stylists - rather than in-house designers - and a growing number of design stores that have a café. This is furniture buying as a destination trip. And no ... that's not snide sarcasm … I only get round these events with in-flight refuelling of caffeine.

It is not all room settings here, for there are good displays of lighting and a couple of exhibition areas with a good small show about the background to the Little Petra Chair that was designed by Viggo Boesen in 1938 - after a trip to New York - and this chair is the latest addition to the &Tradition collection.

&Tradition, Kronprinsessegade 4, Copenhagen

 

 

Frama for 3daysofdesign

 

 

FRAMA studio and store in St. Pauls Apotek in Fredericiagade was open on the first evening of 3daysofdesign with people moving out onto the pavement to enjoy the warm weather.

This was an opportunity to show new additions to the collection - so a selection of cutlery in the ICHI range from Ole Palsby, now sold in the store, and a new tie in with home goods from the Japanese brand Ouur.

FRAMA

 

 
 

Normann for 3daysofdesign

 

 

Design stores throughout the city put on special events for 3daysofdesign but Normann can always be relied on to have dramatic displays in their store in Østerbro.

For this year, the sharp pinks of last year have gone and for now the huge space of the main part of the store has been subdivided by massive grey curtains that drop the full height and form spaces for room-like displays but with mirrors and large bold stacks of blocks to display chairs and the effect is certainly theatrical.

 

 
 
 

 

The company took this opportunity - the events of 3daysofdesign - to launch their new Tivoli Collection. The most obvious pieces are a new take on traditional Danish wooden toys in bold colours but, more significant, is a new co-ordinated range of home accessories all taking as a starting point the inspiration of the pleasure gardens of Tivoli in Copenhagen. The launch was during 3daysofdesign but the full range will be available from the Autumn so ready for the build up to Christmas.

This is certainly an interesting development. Most furniture and design companies produce ranges of objects from novelty tableware to candleholders to purely decorative ornaments that supplement the main range of furniture and the more practical but often unexciting ranges of basic and practical household items like plates or bowls or flatware and if you know your design world you can spot what are obviously company colours or typical shapes or even predictable materials but here, with the Tivoli Collection, there is a very deliberate rethink of over 300 pieces to create coherence … so much so that Normann themselves are talking about the Tivoli Brand.

From the start, Normann were noted for the colours they used, usually on bold deliberately simple and uncluttered shapes for their furniture, and they were one of the first companies to mark a clear rejection of the more conservative Danish colour palette of the late 20th century and the first decade of this century … so they replaced pale natural colours with strong and deep colours for fabrics.

Maybe, with the Tivoli Collection - with the use of much more decoration and the use of gold and so on - Normann are again heading a different move away from the stripped back and uncluttered rooms normally associated with Scandinavian homes to something that many will feel reflects more complicated and more individual lives. To me it seems a bit like a return to the days of Biba in London and the very first collections of Habitat … not the simple designs from Scandinavia and Germany that Conran introduced to British homes but the Moroccan rugs, the rope plant holders, candles and brass watering cans that filled his stores and pulled people in. Essentially, looking at that change as a social historian, it was all about a break away from post-war austerity … about individuality and about young adults wanting to buy things that were interesting and hinted at excitement and travel and a broader more open viewpoint …so  perhaps the more ornate accessories from Normann mark that point where cool and rational Scandinavian design seemed too much or, rather, too little for getting away from austerity economics.

 

Normann ... launch of the Tivoli Collection

 

CPH Light Festival 2018

 
 

 

CPH Light Festival is running through February, with Frost Festival 18, with sound and light installations around the city.

The Wave, by Mikkel Meyer and Jonas Fehr, has returned for a second winter at Ofelia Plads on the harbour immediately north of the National Theatre and on the other side of the harbour to the Opera House.

There are forty triangles, each 4 metres high, set in line along the mole. The light responds to the movement of people as they walk down through the triangles and the haunting sound carries across the harbour to the park beside the Opera House.

 

The Wave, Ofelia Plads, Copenhagen 4 February and 25th March

programme of the installations for CPH LIGHT FESTIVAL

The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2018

It has been announced that the venue this year for the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition will be the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.

Each year the committee choses a theme for the works and this year it will be MONO with works to explore the ideas of monochrome; monologue or monolithic to create furniture that “individually and collectively express a rhythmic narrative and simple whole.”

Thorvaldsen’s Museum, on the north side of Christiansborg, was designed by the architect Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll and completed in 1848 to provide an appropriate building to house and display the work of the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. With the galleries arranged around a central courtyard, the rooms have a striking and rich colour scheme that formed a background to the neo-classical figures in the collection.

The furniture in the Autumn Exhibition will use one of the eight colours used in the decoration of the building or will be in the natural colour of the wood used.

Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling

Copenhagen brick

In Copenhagen major buildings in brick survive from the early 17th century, or earlier, but the most prominent are from the 19th and early 20th century. 

There are a range of styles or fashions in these brick buildings and high-quality brickwork can be seen on all types of buildings from major industrial buildings to churches and from some of the most impressive early social housing through to apartment buildings for the wealthy …. but the important points are more general: brick is a durable building material - so in Europe and Africa and the Middle East huge Roman constructions in brick survive after 2,000 years - and bricks have been used throughout the World so brick is a common building material.  

And brick as a building material is relatively cheap so what is important with brickwork is the imagination of the architects and builders and the skills of the brick makers and brick layers in using a simple material. 

Walk around Copenhagen … the buildings around Israels Plads or along H C Andersens Boulevard are a good place to start … and you realise what a huge force of skilled artisans there were in the city to achieve such an extensive and impressive rebuilding and expansion of the city after 1870.

 

Really at Kvadrat

 

Sometimes you come across a design or a product that had not been on the radar - but it stops you in your tracks. It's like driving along a road and suddenly there is an amazing view and you can’t help yourself and just go wow.

Well it was a bit like that on seeing Really at Kvadrat at Klubiensvej in Nordhavn on Thursday.

In part, this was because I had seen nothing on the internet about Really so, for once, this was the impact of something that appeared to be very new and came out of the blue ........ or maybe it just shows that I’m not going through the design magazines with enough care or attention because Really was shown in Milan.

Probably the best way to start is to quote the introduction in a catalogue from Really:

“Responding to the urgent global issue of waste, Really upcycles textiles to create materials that challenge the design and architectural industries to rethink their use of resources and to design their products with a circular economy in mind.”

 
 

 

The result is new Acoustic Textile Felt and Solid Textile Board - a new building board. These are made from end-of-life textiles - for instance, worn-out bedding from large laundry companies - and the process does not use toxic chemicals or water or dyes. At the end of their own useful life the felt and boards can be “re-granulated” to feed the start of a new product so hence that concept of circular design.

Solid Boards come in different gauges and can be cut and put together for furniture with many of the same techniques as plywood. Thicker boards even have the same impression of layers as plywood with white cotton used for the core layer and coloured outer layers in Cotton White, Cotton Blue, Wool Slate and Wool Natural and that can be more obvious when several thinner layers are combined to form a heavier or thicker gauge of  board ... for instance for table tops. 

Boards can be cut, drilled or milled, sanded and planed, laser cut and glued. Surface treatments are also similar to the finishes for plywood with lacquer, oil or wax.

In the display at Kvadrat, a number of bold benches and tables designed by Max Lamb were shown along with a mood board collection of samples and ideas that, in a good way, reminded me of lino cutting … not the prints but the tangible qualities of the linoleum itself with all the various options you have for depth and sharpness of cut that reveal the layers down from the smooth matt surface and also because the boards themselves have some of that warmth and softness of colour that is a distinct characteristic of simple linoleum.

reallycph.com

 

Erik Jørgensen + Montana in Bredgade

 

At the start of 3daysofdesign - the Copenhagen event when stores and galleries and design studios have open house - there was an official launch for a new joint venture for the Danish furniture companies Montana and Erik Jørgensen for the opening of their new design studios and show rooms on Bredgade - just beyond Designmuseum Danmark - in the street of top-end design stores, antique dealers, auction houses and galleries.

The partnership or rather their co-habitation will be interesting to follow. 

 

Erik Jørgensen was founded in 1954 by a saddle maker and upholsterer and the company has a well-established reputation for extremely well-made furniture from a back catalogue of important designs by furniture designers of the classic period including Hans Wegner and Poul Volther … Jørgensen manufacture the Ox Chair by Wegner from 1961 and the Corona Chair by Volther that was designed in 1958.

However, Jørgensen have also commissioned contemporary and young designers for important new furniture designs including the Hector and the Bow sofas from Anderssen & Voll and Shuffl from Anne Boysen. Of course these designs make full use of the company’s skills in upholstery … particularly for upholstery over what appear to be difficult or at least unconventional shapes.

These pieces are exceptionally well made and robust so the company is generally seen as a contract design company that is well used by architects, and designers for top-end commercial interiors. A main office and display space out at Nordhavn, at Pakhus 48, will remain but Bredgade is clearly a move into the more domestic side of the furniture market although not into direct retail.

 

 

Montana was founded in 1982 and is well known for both their very confident use of strong colours and for their storage systems that are now so extensive that they can be combined for almost any space and any storage needs. 

What the two companies have in common is an incredible sense of design self confidence. So this should now be the place to take anyone who tells you that they find Danish interiors too white, too bland for their taste and just too much pale soaped oak.

Montana will keep their retail space at the city-centre end of Bredgade - on the corner of Sankt Annæ Plads - but this second building in Bredgade will be a major venue for their studio and sales staff.

 

For anyone fascinated by design, but not working in the industry, it is easy to under appreciate just how important commercial sales are to many large design companies so this building is not where you can wander in off the street to buy a chair or a book shelf but is the place for meetings and serious sales and to inspire potential customers with strong shapes in strong and often unconventional arrangements or colours although it seems more than likely that the Bredgade studio will feature as the backdrop in photo shoots.

What makes it interesting to look around studios like this during events like 3daysofdesign is that you begin to get at least some idea of just how important a visually inspiring work environment is for people working in design day in and day out. Owners of good wine shops presumably don’t drink any old super-market plonk in the office and great restaurants presumably don’t expect their senior staff to eat beans on toast so definitely no table tennis here or kids’ slides from one floor to the next.

Erik Jørgensen

Montana

Smaller Objects at the Swedish Embassy

 

Many of the pieces in the Smaller Objects collection have been designed by the Swedish architecture and design studio of Claesson Koivisto Rune but there is also a Swedish stoneware bowl, some glass from Italy and objects designed and made in Japan.

What unites all the objects is not just the very high quality of the materials used but the pieces have that hall-mark of design at the highest level in that form, function and material are balanced. In fact, it is that balance of form, function and material that makes these objects minimal in the most obvious sense … in that you realise as you look at and then you hold the objects, it would be very very difficult to add anything more or take anything away without destroying that balance. These objects are refined - not in the sense of being polite and cultivated - though they are that too - but in the sense that the design has been refined or reduced down to that point where it looks and feels right. Good minimal design is about reduction … not about going straight for the basic.

These objects also demonstrate that incredibly important aim for the best design when actually you realise that although the piece appears, at first, to be primarily about appearance and style … what, in fact, is crucial is the obvious and careful consideration of how the pieces function to make even an everyday task more enjoyable. 

The Japanese notebook is a good example where you realise that here is something that not only is beautifully made - with the experience that comes through a manufacturer who has long-established craft skills - but how someone uses a notebook has been carefully reconsidered so that even turning back a pre-cut tab to mark a place becomes a simple pleasure. That probably sounds precious or pretentious but one clear reason for - maybe the justification for - designing something that is better - or is more beautiful or is better made in beautiful materials - is that the finished object should enhance life every day when doing everyday things.

Smaller Objects.com

 
 

editor's note:

the images are set to scroll through automatically but holding the cursor over an image should halt the change to the next image and should reveal information about the object

Liquid Life - Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2017

This is the last two days of the Biennalen ... an exhibition of some of the very best of Danish craft work.

What is astounding here are those very qualities that are not normally associated with Danish design … or at least not with common preconceptions about Danish design from the late 20th century. So here there is strong, bold use of colour and texture and the exploration of ideas that challenge perceptions and preconceptions. 

The theme Liquid Life - about how precarious modern life can feel - is from a text by Zygmunt Baumann and taken from his book Liquid Life that was published in 2005.

“Liquid life is the kind of life commonly lived in our contemporary, liquid-modern society ... The most acute and stubborn worries that haunt this liquid life are the fears of being caught napping, of failing to catch up with fast moving events, of overlooking the ‘use by’ dates and being saddled with worthless possessions, of missing the moment calling for a change of tack and being left behind.”

With an amazing diversity of both materials and techniques - with works in ceramic and glass, with textiles, jewellery, furniture, book binding, fashion and photography - and with many of the artists combining several materials and in some works several specialist skills - these works are the response that these observations by Zygmunt Bauman inspired in thirty seven artists, designers and makers ........... a response and an antidote.

 

Liquid Life - Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2017

Museumsbygningen, Kastelsvej 18, Copenhagen until 27 May 2017

 

 
 
 

note: select an image by clicking on it and that will take you into the gallery where the title of the work and the name(s) of the artist(s) can be found

more photographs

the architecture of Kløvermarken

 

 

 

architecture, design and planning in Copenhagen ........... 

 

the houses of Dyssen and the area between the water of the 17th-century defences and Kløvermarken on Amager

 

good architecture in Copenhagen is not just about aluminium window frames, sealed glazing units and Scandi-clean design ... here is cladding and the use of materials and a sense of colour at its best