Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Art + Design

Gรถdel’s Paradox: All systems are either complete but inconsistent, or consistent but incomplete.
This is an apt metaphor for the field of industrial design in all of its sprawling interdisciplinarity.  Any attempt to write one history of ID, as they do for the history of Art, will leave out too much. Industrial Design forces us to confront a complete field made up of a motley collection of sometime conflicting pieces. How will you organize these contradictions and complexities in your own mind? 

Industrial Design is a big tent with many strands of history anchoring it down. In the last weeks we have focused on how innovations in design can alleviate human suffering and participate in solutions for a sustainable world/economy. Our research is documented in your individual blog essays, which collectively offer an amazing compendium of thoughtful commentary and links to share and inspire others. Many of you will find yourself working for a lifetime with these problems and design opportunities.

And, as we have discussed, this problem/innovation aspect of ID represents a continuous concern across time and place, and is a strand that I have often referred to as the “Better Mousetrap” branch of ID history.

Now we turn back to a different approach, with a different history.

What is possible for a designer working at the boundary between Art and Design? What does that boundary look like today? Where is exploration being done? What is possible in this cultural space? Who are the young designers to watch in 2008?

I decided to organize this material around the “where”. Where do designers approaching industrial design this way circulate their ideas today? And so, listed below is a series of links to the design fairs, gallery/shops, museums, and specific ID schools that you should be familiar with. Within each I hope you will explore the many designers showcased in each venue, and watch the videos of these designers at work and explaining their approach to design. At the end, I include a few other things that I wanted to get out on the table now, as well.

How do you feel about limited production, experimental design? What about a design process derived from personal exploration of the sensual possibilities of materials and aesthetics, with no user group analysis involved? Is there a designer here who you could point to as an inspiration or mentor? Or not?

As usual, please explore this topic more thoroughly through the lens of your own directed research interests as a young designer. And then, write a 500-word essay on some aspect of this topic that interests you. Who interests you? Can you say why? How does this approach to design relate to your own interests in ID? Does this connect back to your essay on Functionalism in any way, or not? How does your response to this material connect to the point of view you developed in the last three essays?

Please post this essay by Sunday November 23rd at 9pm. Please continue to revise and perfect as necessary the impressive portfolio of essays you have written on your websites. Please be sure you have made an appointment to discuss your work with me in a one-on-one meeting before the end of the semester.

Design Miami/Basel - Next up December 3-6, 2008 in Miami.

Follow the link: Enter/Miami/Designer of the Year
Design winners for 2008 are the Brazilians: Fernando and Humberto Campana
See: Anemone, Boa velvet sofa, vermella doll crowd chair

Campana Brothers Interview on Poetry & Functionalism; being inspired by the local environment; the need to be recognized internationally before local opportunity returns.

Other young designers featured at the 2007-8 Design Miami/Basel Fairs:
Max Lamb, Tokujin Yoshioka, and Tobias Wong

Max Lamb: pewter chair cast in sand
2008 Designers of the Future winner
40 min Poly Chair:

Note also all the 2007 Miami Design Talks. See also, for example:
Studio Libertiny Paper Vases:

2007 Miami Design Winner Tokujin Yoshioka
Designboom interview:
Honey-Pop chair; Panna chair at Moss for Moroso; ToFU
Main website:

“One of the most recent and experimental works is 'PANE chair' (bread in Italian) that was presented at the Milano Salone del Mobile in 2006. It was selected to be a part of the Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and it is one of the most recent and very experimental art pieces Tokujin has created. While it goes through almost the same steps as baking bread, the fibers memorize the shape of the chair caused by heat. The chair was shown at the exhibition 'Tokujin Yoshioka x Lexus L-finesse – Evolving Fiber Technology' at the Museo Permanente. Tokujin also created a large-scale fiber installation, using more than 700km of fibers that shaped the whole space into a gigantic lens. 

In Autumn 2006, Tokujin presented his one-man show 'Tokujin Yoshioka – Super Fiber Revolution' at AXIS Gallery as a compilation of his research and study in fibers. Simultaneously his new book 'Tokujin Yoshioka Design' was published worldwide from the British art publisher PHAIDON. He always undertakes experimental designs in pursuit of new possibility for the future.”

Note that Tokujin Yoshioka has been very influenced by the important designer: Shiro Kuramata (1934 -1991)

Tobias Wong & Citizen Citizen

Ballistic Rose on Citizen site:
P2. ccPhone, etc
What’s the Fuss…
Virtually Mine:
Early Work: Perfect Lovers:
Book 1 on Rashid; Tattoo; Silver pill, smoking mitten, on/off, box cutter; shelving unit; rubber-coated pearls; dream.
Mirror Clock: “The mirror/clock derived from my desire to create a painting. I've tried before, in the traditional sense, but failed. So I reexamined what a painting consists of-background, middle ground, and foreground. I used design elements instead of paint, and voile, the mirror/clock. It's also the only object that I've titled, "untitled" to give it a traditional reference.”

Suck:UK site:

“…mass production has created its own antithesis. Consider the work of young, conceptual designers like Tobias Wong, whose solid gold McDonald’s drink stirrers and diamond-embedded rubber bouncing balls have made a satire of our decadence. There is nothing innately precious about an object, Wong seems to say, until value is arbitrarily applied to often ridiculous extremes. But while Wong illustrates the point using gold and diamonds—commodities coveted, in part, for their inherent scarcity—the scarcity of limited editions is artificially imposed. It’s a strategy most often associated with art, which begs the interminable question of where design ends and art begins. …For sure, it is a curious moment when design is increasingly rarefied (think Hella Jongerius vases) and art is going mass market (Takashi Murakami). Whether the two are merging is almost irrelevant. In the meantime, designers, galleries and manufacturers continue their cavalcade of new limited-edition products, and consumers can’t seem to get enough. The limited edition, in fact, is fast becoming mass-produced.”

See also the young designers Designboom Mart each May in NYC as part of the annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair

ICFF Designboom Mart, May 2009 NYC

Moss, NYC/LA

Murray Moss, Note that RISD-ID grad Jacob Dixon has worked at the Soho store for some time. Say hi if you visit.
Links: The Daily New; Gallery. Familiarize yourself with the designers he represents here. For example: Baas and the husband/wife team of the Boyms

Maarteen Baas

Works: Treasure Furniture, Smoke, Sculpt, Clay Furniture,
Projects: workshops

Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym
Disaster Bldngs:

Babel Blocks:

8th c. Mass Production:

elevator portfolio:

As a sidepiece of free information: Laurene Leon Boym has been very active with the group “American Association of Women in ID”

Current: Jean Prouve. Next: Ron Arad opens Aug 2nd
Curator, Paola Antonelli, Design & the Elastic Mind

Schools with a strong Art/Design approach component:

RCA – Royal College of Art, London
Design Interactions
Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby, Noam Toran
Hertzian Dreams, Projects 02, Tuneable Cities

Design Academy, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Philips collaboration. “Dreams precede Invention”
Goods Design:

See school offshoot blog approach to redesign:

ECAL – University of Art and Design, Lausanne Note: Kevin Quale has been accepted here; please talk to him for more information on this school, and Eindhoven. %3a pictures %3a industrial design

RISD today?
Consider: Alissia Melka-Techroew
(See more at Goods Design, Eindhoven link above)

[Please provide your suggestions and links for inclusion here, under RISD.]


The artist: Andrea Zittel
PBS Artists of the 21st c.
Living Unit, Pocket Property, Seasonal Uniform
Critical Space, 2006 New Museum:
Writing by Zittel in Alex Cole, Art + Design, 117-119. Posted on 5th floor near the elevator.

Please also consider the crossover ID/installation art piece/war memorial “Touched Echo” posted by Amy Su and linked at

Consider the Art/ID crossovers with textile and apparel:

See the recent Chanel/Lagerfeld/Zaha Hadid installation boutique in Central Park:
See Youtube video posted by class member Michelle Lee on her blog on November 2, 2008. ( and link to Lee, Michelle)

Not all Art/Design crossovers emphasize the same sensual aesthetic.
Eyebeam has a more techie, bohemian/nerd sensibility:


Kelly Dobson: Blendie

Finally, read Design Observer:

ID is a big tent. Where will you roam?

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