Konstfack University College
of Arts, Crafts and Design
Milan Design Week
April 17–22, 2012
Spazio Rossana Orlandi,
Via Matteo Bandello 14, 20123 Milan
Open daily 9 am–8 pm
Curator: Ikko Yokoyama
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Or as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman put it—we now live in liquid modernity, which means that the individual is more and more involved in planning their lives and careers in short-term projects and episodes.
There are no solid forms or institutions that we can rely on; there is no time for it. Therefore, the individual must act, plan actions and calculate the likely gains and losses of acting under conditions of endemic uncertainty. In this context, design comes into a situation that is completely different than before. One major implication is that design has become more about exploring our dreams of a solid life, a life in which political means create a more equal society and improve life on a day-to-day basis.
This year's exhibition from Konstfack reveals student works that act both like navigators and commentators in a liquid society. Some of the works respond to the basic needs of this type of society, for example the need to have a quick conversation, or the need to have endless possibilities to adjust to the unknown circumstance of the next project. Other works are more about exploring the dreams that we have—which our global society has been giving us. Design for a liquid society is design for a global culture in which the objects become transformative vehicles for us to navigate in.
So please join us in liquid worlds of creativity!
President of Konstfack
— This project is an illustration of a world where there's no rich ass or poor ass. An ass is an ass.
Cheap Ass Elites is a critique on what is considered "high" and "low" in both sociological aspects and design. This project rotates around working class aesthetics between rich and classical elements such as the Louis armchair, the ottoman chair and the styles of William Morris's most commonly used theme set within a design context. The goal is to create subtle, yet ironic comments on this "normality". The chairs sarcastically illustrate and question what society's indoctrination is really built on. The chairs are comprised of "low" common household plastic objects; storage and laundry baskets for the seating (back, base and arms) and the lower part of the chair is a simplified version of stereotypical "upper" class chairs made out of wood.
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Ever since architects started taking down walls in interior spaces to create airy open spaces, a new set of problems have arisen. Even though these spaces are more communal, there is an issue with finding small intimate areas which take you away from the noise of open spaces. To resolve this new issue, designers have started creating furniture which creates micro environments. Instead of putting up walls at great expense, people can now choose to furnish these areas with these new furnishings at a fraction of the cost and hassle. Confession is a furniture archetype for a quick meeting, a space to hear a personal story, a quiet place to read the paper with a coffee or even somewhere to indulge in the office gossip. It also reminds us of what we lose in the era of shared and open communication.
This prototype of Confession is made by the Swedish company Blå Station.
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San Francisco is a set of stools inspired by the popular drink of the same name as well as the 1980s style of living. Agerstam remembers her childhood fascination with the magical blended colors of the cocktails her parents used to make for "special occasions" with family and friends. The stools are visually strong and playful, creating a great accent piece which suits both home and public spaces where a little punch of color is needed! Made out of solid foam, the stools can be vacuum-packed for easy transportation.
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The relationship between people and automobiles is defined by function, fascination and extreme contrast. Vehicles serve as an escape from daily life or confine one to everyday reality; their speed can be a killing force or save someone's life. They symbolize dreams and fortune as well as political, social and economical games of production and outsourcing which result in the loss of work locally and promote opportunity elsewhere. The work Tellus Vehiculum is a pile of miniature ceramic vehicles created by Tallén which questions the current socio-political situation of mass production. He uses colorful, yet traditional glazes giving a handmade quality to hundreds of non-functional ceramic vehicles and his use of decoration represents a nostalgic encounter with complex issues.
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Objects in Disguise are a series of objects inspired by camouflage. A set of dumbbells normally hidden in the closet or collecting dust under one's bed become candlesticks and stylishly blend into the home environment. What at first seems to be a pocket watch turns out to be a hand-held mirror for the modern gentleman. Similarly, a diamond and silver bracelet appears to be a wrist watch — until you lift up the sleeve. While elucidating questions about functionality and gender, these designs exemplify the perfect unison of both concept and high-quality craftsmanship; using them produces an unavoidable sense of pleasure.
The dumbbells Light & Heavy are available in three different weights and produced by Skeppshult, Scandinavia's last foundry located in Sweden.
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A nesting table becomes a set of five chairs as a result of Lisa Högberg's investigation of the human body and her quest to define one size fit for all. Instead of finding this particular never-land, she embraces all sizes. A humorous chair family emerges which depicts individual needs based on a variety of body sizes. The aesthetic, simple shape offers a multifunctional object which can be used as a side table or display surface.
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Dexter is a stylish and robust multifunctional stool. This string-like, metal furniture brings to mind both nostalgia and the standard quality design found in personal and public spaces of Sweden. As a new expression, Dexter challenges expectations, yet it has the generous ability to be used in different environments. Its strong geometric form of oval lines offers a graphic silhouette and optical effect whilst being able to connect or stack together to create a bench or a shelf.
Dexter is created in collaboration with and available from the Swedish company Lammhults.
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The word "play" is becoming synonymous for creativity and problem solving. Theerachai uses "play" as a methodology for her design process and argues that concept and personality have become more sellable commodities today. The main idea behind the desk lamp CONST are three basic components; base, body and shade. Keeping in mind these simple elements and their role, Theerachai playfully combines expression with function. The concrete and marble base keep the octagon-shaped wood body balanced and the same time one can adjust the angle of the shade by rotating it. Reminiscent of playing with Lego® blocks, CONST gives one the ability to have fun with functionality.
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The shelf and hanger system Warp respects the logic and patience associated with handcrafted processes. Through fascination with the beauty of weaving tools and warps, Sintring has created an endless construction system made with simple mechanisms of wood and yarn. It can be built and packed easily, but requires concentration to warp the yarn in order to create the supporting shelves, a process similar to weaving the surface of a chair. The Warp captures the elegance and joy of handcraft's monologue and through this discourse, a functional final product is created.
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During their studies at Konstfack, students have great possibilities to explore different materials and techniques thanks to highly equipped workshops. Sara Persson dived into an investigation of material tactility and expressive transformation. Starting with textile's ability to be sculpted through stitching and quilting, Persson then casted her form into Acrystal* to create a solid stool. The result borders on the fine line between design and art, yet this ambiguity interests Persson who pur-posefully shaped the stool as an "armadillo" — a metaphor of transformation and camouflage.
*Acrystal is a non-toxic, solvent-free composite with amazing strength suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
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There are numerous competitions advertised to create exciting and more aesthetically-pleasing acoustic panels for public spaces and no doubt, it is difficult to make something interesting out of such a dry, pragmatic product. Anita Johannessen's acoustic panel system Fold actually offers something new, elegant and fun to use. Origami-like, sound absolving materials accented with aluminium edges are able to flip around individually to create an endless pattern with concave and convex contrast. Fold is also double-sided which allows it to be adjusted and used as a room divider in addition to the sound functions it is designed to serve.
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"Swedish design is often associated with the modernistic idiom and Sweden is known for its simpleness, but I want to show that there is a different history behind it and also a different future ahead" states Fischer, who grew up with Scandinavian design and folklore, but also the era of Memphis and Ettore Sottsass. In her exclusive textile cushion collection, Eclecticism and Electricity, Fischer started with comprehensive research on her sources of inspiration and the cultural perspectives on pattern, tactility and expression. The patterns are recreated and reinterpreted from Konstfack's archive as well as her own materials. The result has become a new hybrid — a "post-modernistic inspired mess" according to Fischer — which asserts that style is no longer based on timeline-defined aesthetics.
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The lamp Allure is the result of a course which examined the heart of a company's philosophy and transformed it into a new product. The well known establishment Svenskt Tenn was Ackemar's assignment. "The purity of the room and the richness of detail" is a statement by the founder Estrid Ericson which inspired Ackemar to develop and use a glass sphere as a tool to look at the world — one is invited on a journey between reality and an upside-down, magical universe. Through the glass sphere, the room and the light from the surroundings are captured, producing a new light source and an endless image. A counterbalance that is like a little planet can be found inside, balancing the weight of the lamp and simultaneously creating a poetic view on functionality.
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