One image is ubiquitous on the construction hoardings, billboards and plastic shopping bags in Shanghai these days – the tiered silhouette of the China Pavilion at the Expo 2010.
A feature film about product design is a rare thing indeed. This one is set in a strangely familiar parallel universe with an all-star cast.
Ikea has invited Swedish quartet Front to design pieces for its new PS collection, finally allowing fans of the designers to own a piece of the studio's furniture at an affordable price.
Gary Hustwit's film Objectified, a feature-length look at product design with an all-star cast, opens today. Here's what we thought of it.
|Vitra, Hella Jongerius|
A tiny fluorescent notch attracts us to Hella Jongerius’ Rotterdam Chair. But far from decorative, the notch fills a cut in the plywood seat that stops the chair from splitting during the moulding process – when the seat is bent in several different directions simultaneously. The back and rear legs are solid wood, and the gliders are fluorescent, but the chair has a simple aesthetic despite the curious patchwork of materials.
|Classicon, Konstantin Grcic|
It might look as clean and simple as a Helvetica “e”, but as with most of Grcic’s work, there is a complicated story to his two-piece Kanu chair. Due to the number of bends and contours inflicted on the plywood – needed to make the chair as comfortable as it is – two moulds were made; one for the seat, and one for the semi-circular back.
|Cappellini, Adam Goodrum|
Cappellini had a better show this year than the last two, presenting new pieces by Nendo, Barber Osgerby and Stephen Burks. Our favourite piece was by Sydney-based designer Adam Goodrum – obscure on this side of the world but known in Australia for a mass-produced peg. The technicolour Stitch chair is made of hinged aluminium, and folds down to a flat sheet. We love the zebra-like hinges.
|More chairs tomorrow...|
Hella Jongerius is the leading female designer of our time, according to the Design Museum, which is showing the first retrospective of the Dutch designer's work.
“I can do anything. I could have been a dentist and I would have been the best dentist ever. I could have been a farmer. I really feel I could have done a lot of different things and I’m pretty sure that whatever I’d have done I’d have done it with so much passion and love that I’d do a great job.”
“When I was a student, porcelain was associated with kitschy souvenirs or stupid mugs,” recalls Czech designer Maxim Velcovsky. “But recently a new wave of ideas has revived the material and placed it in a different context.”
As a cultural force, design is taken less seriously than art. Why is that, especially when the distinction between the two disciplines is becoming increasingly hard to locate? Isn’t it time we celebrated design as the meeting of art and everyday life?
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