In our latest issue, we meet the designers rethinking the aesthetics of technology and assess the architectural legacy of the European Union in Britain
Consumer electronics have an entrenched aesthetic. Hard, slick and at their worst baffling complex, it is hard to describe them as ‘designed’ objects, such is their degree of homogeneity.
And, so far, the recent reinvention of craft as a signifier of luxury has not heralded a wholesale return to the classic wood panelled Bang & Olufsens of the 1970s. During that period, Hi-Fi resembled a piece of Scandi furniture. But the more complex sound systems and the like became, the more they jarred with the sensibility of our homes. It need not be this way, argues London-based designer Tord Boontje, who challenged the prevailing wind in a thought-provoking and, at times, eccentric show ‘Electro Craft’ at the recent London Design Festival.
Of all the participants, Yuri Suzuki came up with the most eye-catching response to Boontje’s brief to rethink the craft of electronics, with his deconstruction of a ghetto blaster (pictured on our cover). It proved a neat reference to Daniel Weil’s 100 Objects (also part of the show), which captured a similar disenchantment with the overriding trend in the 80s. Of course, no one is suggesting the work on show would make for real-world products – Boontje’s own horsehair-covered speaker for Yamaha, which looks to be inspired by Cousin It, is a case in point. ‘These projects don’t start with market research, they start with creativity,’ he says. We rarely question the aesthetics of consumer electronics. Maybe it is time for that to change. The ideas behind Electro Craft make as good a starting point as any.
IN THIS ISSUE
Tech The vividly green Serpentine Stereo set from Norwegian studio Osloform
Watch The latest horological offering from Melbourne’s Aãrk collective
Perfume Artist Zuza Mengham sculpts scent
Home Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s Nuage vase for Vitra, new shelving by Finland’s hottest talents, Troels Flensted expands his Poured collection and Richard Yasmine strikes again
Restaurant Inverted brick vaults by Andy Martin enliven a Marylebone eatery
Transport The bare-bones Leafy Savage may hold the future of the eco-motorcycle
Office Zaha Hadid Architects’ rooftop extension at the Antwerp port authority is anything but pedestrian
Education Inside the folded planes of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s towering Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University, New York
Public Flores & Prats transform a Mallorcan palace from within
Arch-EU-tecture The contested architectural legacy of the European Union will remain with Britain long after Brexit
Icon How computational design lead to a reappraisal of Eero Saarinen’s ‘Yale Whale’
Q&A London’s Asif Khan on the challenge awaiting him at
Electro craft A more human way of designing our ever-present electronic appliances
Furniture Baars & Bloemhoff curate a materially daring exhibition in Eindhoven
Lighting Darling of the noughties, Decode, goes back to its roots
Furniture James Stickley’s constructivist style is a breath of fresh air among Memphis wannabes
Icon Vladimir Kagan: the unlikely champion of midcentury opulence
Q&A Design duo Doshi Levien reveal their architectural ambitions and discuss high-street high-jinks
Obsession George Gottl on his love for the kitschy horrors of the Chapman Brothers