Featuring the work of 150 designers from around the world, this sixteenth edition of International Design Yearbook once again offers a diverse and artistic approach to domestic design. The selection made by renowned Italian designer Michele De Lucchi presents new categories such as home-office furniture; innovative projects by eminent architects; fascinating new treatments of traditional forms like wickerwork as well as extensions of modern living spaces such as vehicles and concept cars. The book provides a cross-section of design from the past eighteen months, showcasing the work of well-known designers such as Ron Arad, Emmanuel Babled, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ives, and Etore Sottsass, as well as the latest in technology from leading companies including Apple, Phillips, Sharp, and Siemens.
Focusing, as in past editions, on textiles, furniture, lighting, tableware, and products, the book is lavishly illustrated and offers complete technical descriptions of all objects displayed. A comprehensive reference section includes designers' biographies, a list of suppliers and their addresses, and an update of design acquisitions at major international museums.
Introductions by De Lucchi and Jeremy Myerson provide insight into this year's selections and the technological advances currently affecting the design world. Celebrating its sixteenth year, Interntational Design Yearbook remains the most authoritative and up-to-date guide to contemporary design
Table Of Contents:Introductions6Furniture14Lighting86Tableware126Textiles158Products178Biographies226Acquisitions234Suppliers238Photographic credits240
The exercise of choice for the International Design Yearbook 16 has been varied to say the least; I was expecting it, and wasn't disappointed. Quite the contrary. I therefore have grounds for thinking that presenting so much variety, energy and genuine enthusiasm will really be justified and useful. I viewed the 2,000-odd items sent in, which apart from a distinction by type of commodity, are impossible to catalog in terms of style, character, figurative origin or iconographic reference. Linguistic limits and formal reference codes are increasingly hard to distinguish. I believe that, as I remember Herbert Schultes saying when he was in his last months as the director of design at Siemens, we have definitely entered into the era of "fluid thinking," where everything must flow unimpeded, from culture to culture, discipline to discipline, role to role, skill to skill. We are in the first information and telecommunications technology era and are the first to enjoy this long-awaited worldwide party of connectivity, easy knowledge, abundance (already excessive) of information and images and richness of choice. We at the International Design Yearbook 16 team have learned something about richness of choice, having coped with the arrival of CD-ROMs so crammed full of images that just looking at and analyzing all of them seemed at times humanly too much to bear. And who knows what will happen in the years to come?!
Experts say that one of the abilities most in demand now and in the future is tolerance, and not just political and racial. I think that is true and that it is a trait required in our field as well, not so much in the sense of being able to accept things that are not pleasing and with which we do not agree but, above all, being able to put things together, combining and blending styles, visions and different technologies of opposite origins. Fluid, tolerant and creative: these are the premises for design, updated to the year 2001. The concept of creativity certainly could not be absent. How do you manage to hold together such disparate aspects and concepts unless you have a powerful stimulus towards research, innovation, new products, fantasy and dreams?!
At this point, this is my interpretation of the designer's role: to promote freedom of expression for everyone, using designs, creations, stories and metaphors. The designer and the architect are storytellers, as Ettore Sottsass used to say in the 1970s during the time of Radical Design in Italy, and as Jean Nouvel has said in recent times at his wonderful conferences. A design is a story and the object -- the product -- visualizes the arguments of the narrative, be it in direct or symbolic form. Design is communication; it transmits an impetus of contemporaneity involvement, of stimulus for freedom of expression. It is not that different from what we were saying, together with Ettore Sottsass, over 30 years ago when we claimed that the architect designs metaphors to stimulate the creative talents which are inherent and often hidden in the deepest recesses of everyone's personality. The difference is that this theory was at the time a provocative rejection of design of the traditional type; today it is a concept which helps us understand and accept what is happening in the world.
In my selection I have kept categories of similar products separate, as it has always been done in the International Design Yearbook. In "fluid thinking," as well, the evolution of specific individual productive spheres remains independent. Furniture, lamps, accessories, fabrics, electronic products, vehicles, etc., logically go through different evolutionary phases, which can hardly be compared. The productive technologies, the characteristics of distribution systems and market demand, all still form a solid and concrete barrier to the homogenization of innovative movements. However, I have indicated similar linguistic categories to show emerging figurative trends wherever possible. It is still certainly interesting to compare chair with chair, table with table, and lamp with lamp: it undoubtedly remains one of the major contributions which the International Design Yearbook offers with each annual edition.
I would, however, also like to stress a few points. The first concerns business initiatives: indeed, many events are linked directly to operations which are hard to define, initiated and promoted by individual, public or private investors who, apparently acting purely out of cultural interest, see in design a rich and fertile field. This applies to Hidden -- Leon van Gerwen bought the SDB aluminium display company and called in a dozen designers with the proposal that they design products for the home uninfluenced by commercial pressures. The designers were able to propose furniture and objects for the home freely, without any brief, whether functional or market-driven. What emerged were products with a strong expressive charge, certainly new and in some cases provocative, just like the philosophy of this newborn company.
The "provocative" approach also applies to the far more well-known case of Droog: also Dutch, it is a free, nonconformist group, united in the idea of renewing the meaning of design. Droog was founded in 1993 in Amsterdam and basically presents, not a catalog of products, but a mindset to which to relate. Over the years, it has promoted and developed experimental projects to which young designers have contributed in particular Droog's products have been marketed internationally up to now by the DMD company of Vaarburg. Droog is no longer concerned solely with products, but also with their presentation, display and the events which accompany them. In confirming that the interpretation of the disciplinary limits are changing rapidly, Droog is announcing that architects, interior designers and advertising and graphic agencies are now also collaborating in disseminating the success of Droog Design -- that means dry design.
Symptomatic, entertaining, authentic, original and disruptive are words that certainly describe the catalog do, in which no fewer than 10 designers or studios, including Marti Guixe of Spain, Thomas Bernstrand of Sweden, Radi of France and Dawn Finley of the United States have designed products for an experimental brand created by the Amsterdam advertising agency KesselsKramer.The title of the project, "do create," alludes to both the designers and the consumers: the designer creates the products with which the consumer has to interact. The designer creates an unsigned product which is completed by the consumer, who adds his personal touch.The user is invited to intervene and play; he can influence the design and the product can identify the personality of its consumer. One no longer buys a form, a style or a function; now one buys an experience. Personally, I am a great admirer of Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers for the work they have achieved and the communicative force oftheir publications. I believe they represent the most innovative and enthusiastic design formula of these last few years, and I also admire them for having been able to sidestep traditional obstacles and difficulties in spreading an independent and original design culture.
Cappellini, albeit in certain more controlled and experimental movements, also every year surprises us by gathering around him excellent designers from all over the world and presenting projects and products that are always original, always fascinating, and never banal; this year's selection is no exception.
And the public initiative of Kunstinclustrimuseet and the exhibition for 1999 promoted by Louise Campbell, Cecilia Enevoldsen and Sebastian Holmbaeck called "Walk the Plank" is notable. It is a friendly and unceremonious challenge, a search for ideas, imagination and skill, at a crossing-point between designers and cabinetmakers, between design talent and production talent. Some 20 furniture designers were invited to be paired together with as many cabinetmakers, and each pair was given a plank out of which it had to make an item of furniture.The resulting pieces were exhibited at the Museum of Decorative Art in Gronnengarden and then sold at auction. The profit was then donated to a fund enabling furniture designers to experiment with new prototypes.
There are also many private initiatives by individual designers who, not having found sufficiently ample scope for research themselves in the industrial sector, create small but significant business initiatives which have had noteworthy success, often going well beyond the original aims. Ingo Maurer, Ron Arad and Philippe Starck have all experimented with the thrill of a business initiative based more on poetic logic than on a business model. It has often gone well, even very well as in the case of Ingo who succeeded in turning a business into a wonderful poetical attitude. I myself can be cataloged in this sector with my Produzione Privata, whereby I try to simulate on a small scale what I would like to be able to do with the major industries, but which industrial logic finds impossible to accomplish. And it is precisely the experience with Produzione Privata which has helped me to understand this phenomenon and which leads me to talk about it now. It also drives me to underline the importance of crafts and the value of something still made "by oneself," made by hand, in just a few editions, if not only one. Industry and crafts are not different when compared in terms of their contribution to the culture of design.
I have always upheld the role of crafts as a research forum for industry -- an ideal forum, free from the constraints imposed by the size of the investment, the risk of research, the possible consequences of success or the lack of it. Working with crafts creates an ideal laboratory, the significance of which is not always understood in terms of its potential, and not always grasped in its current experimental role. I say "ideal" because crafts combine technology and human talent, knowledge and sensitivity, know-how and skill. Crafts free the prototyping from any restraints and allow vast liberties of expression.
It is one of the prerogatives of the happy success of Italian design that despite the lack of new names it maintains its reputation as an international center of design. In Italy, to the discredit of the industrial and political structure and to the credit of a limited number of businessmen, some extraordinary craft traditions have been kept intact which each year enable Italian and foreign companies to present at the Salone del Mobile [Furniture Fair] in Milan an infinity of new ideas, new models and new visions.
These craft traditions also encourage the phenomenon that tends to bring the world of design ever closer to the world of fashion; and this is to the absolute benefit of design because it can absorb from fashion its extraordinary inventiveness and productivity, the continuous capacity to generate innovation and interest, and to direct the world towards new and ever more appealing visions. Furthermore, it enables it, step by step, to witness the ongoing interesting alternation of choices, forms, ambitions and hopes. I would like this to be the most far-reaching role to be attributed to design.
I would also like to stress a point concerning design projects made by architects: I mean those who, in creating architecture, are obliged also to define the internal spaces and consequently often design the fittings for them. It involves a special way of seeing and understanding the design of objects for the home; I know this as a fact because here, too, I have direct experience since I am myself an architect. This selection has in fact been an opportunity for me to examine just how much architectural culture influences the industrial culture and how much, in my own work as a designer, derives from my original grounding. Clearly, architecture and design meet chiefly where one finds internal space and furniture, functional and aesthetic places and tools, environments which people inhabit and objects and utensils, whether fixed or mobile.
It is very difficult to describe concepts which depart from the meaning of words! It is equally difficult to understand why the worlds of spaces and things move, in terms of discipline, on two such diverse platforms. Only in rare cases do the distances fill up and the two worlds unite, amalgamate and combine, thereby enhancing one another. The architect designs the furniture and fittings according to his instinct of spatial definition, "constructing" element upon element, like stone on stone, form on form, adding and subtracting, but nonetheless working in a frenzy of composition guided by his trade, a trade that has existed since the beginning of mankind. Fittings, furniture, objects, and things are today subjected to the industrial culture, which abides by completely different values linked to productive logic, technological convenience, market research and more generalized tastes. It is difficult to put together parameters so diverse and remote: only in a few cases has this been possible, precisely thanks to a third protagonist -- unexpected and I really wonder whether always desired -- namely, art. In certain cases, something greater than expected may happen -- a wider concept which can govern one and the other and bring everything together in a single idiom. This is probably what we call art, but what I prefer to call the spirit of time, the spirit of all shapes, ideas, moods, the specific images of a precise historic moment. It is in this ideal place that architects and designers, with the ability to construct and produce, should meet. Furthermore, another challenging ideal of "fluid thinking" is to combine architectonic culture and industrial culture, allowing the experience of a millenary culture to permeate the little more than centenary culture of an industry still struggling to show its best side, to display in the midst of the worst, whatever it is best at.
For this edition of the International Design Yearbook I have had the good fortune to put together the work of great architects like Foster, Sejima, Moneo and Chipperfield who with greater or lesser indulgence for industrial logic have produced significant furnishing projects. They certainly concede nothing to the enticements of mass produced products; they certainly do not make use of the new possibilities of expression favored by parametric programs, and by modelers of forms. The current vogue for rounded corners, curved surfaces, handles and protuberances of a quasibiological origin, seems for the time being not to affect figurative research of architectonic origin. However, there are trends which cannot be concealed, and the tendency to soften shapes, cushion surfaces and break up geometric rhythms which are too rigidly defined is increasingly evident and surely appears as the major trend of our time, the master movement which drives the figurative experimentation of these years.
Meanwhile, minimalism also appears to be taking on a new lease of life -- now ever more curtailed and abstract, it has opened the way to a new expressiveness where formal research is combined with a refined selection of materials, textures and flavors. This new direction derives from the desire to make contemporary things stand out from the ordinary, to decontextualize them where possible, with a healthy and authentic touch of irony and disenchantment; it may, however, at times appear to be a banal and empty desire to poke fun and it can also be difficult to distinguish between what has a meaning and what is a hackneyed joke.
There is no lack of big names on the list of this year's chosen designers: Sottsass, Starck, Citterio, Cibic and many others who also remain meaningful references both in experimental projects and Commercial products. Equally significant is the presence of Philips, Siemens and Sharp, whose design centers have developed a vast volume of work over the past few years, offering products on the market of extraordinary figurative quality and opening up to consumers products and environments updated in terms of both image and style.
In conclusion, I would like to address myself to those whose work has not been included: limited space has prevented it. I would, however, like to tell them not to worry and not to be offended -- firstly because I am often wrong and secondly because what is culturally diffused is not always genuinely deserving of discriminating commercial success. I only hope that this selection adds to the quality on the list of all the International Design Yearbooks published up to now; I hope above all that this edition will also prove, as the others have for me, a favorite source of inspiration. Everything that can stimulate creativity deserves to be propagated.
The Barnes & Noble Review
Get a taste of the newest design concepts by checking out the 16th edition of International Design Yearbook. From lighting to textiles, the most innovative works are reproduced in this excellent volume, which is edited by respected Italian designer Michele de Lucchi. Emergent trends in chairs, cameras, computers, and fabrics are easy to spot due to the book's practical layout which groups selections thematically: furniture, lighting, tableware, textiles, and products. Several pages at the end of the book are devoted to biographical information on the featured designers, as well as a useful index of suppliers and a catalog of recent design acquisitions at major museums around the world.(Julie Carr)
|Book:||International Design Yearbook, Vol. 16|
|Author:||Jennifer Hudson(Editor) Jeremy Myerson(Introduction) Michele De Lucchi(Editor)|
|Publisher:||Abbeville Press, Incorporated|
|Number of Pages:||240|
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