Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Zaha Hadid exhibition in the Design Museum London (until 25th. Nov)

The Design Museum is just east of Tower Bridge. I was surprised to read that the exterior design is not original, but constructed to look like vintage International Modern Style. There's a bookstore and cafe on the ground floor, then two floors of exhibits. It's not terribly large and there is an entrance fee. Currently there is an excellent exhibit showcasing the career of architect Zaha Hadid.

The first room was so theatrical at first I didn't know what I was looking at. The shot above is simply a table of architectural models in front an entire long wall of projected images. Hadid's work ranges from modern 21st century to certainly where no man has gone before. Her buildings are highly imaginative, many of them quite organic.

The children's book author and illustrator Scott Santoro writes in his blog about life in London.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Designweek here, Designweek there, Designweek everywhere

I'dont know which city was the first, but today we have I think a dozen design weeks in Europe. On the one side it is a chance for improving the public interest on design, on the other side we must ask which image of design is displayed.

The public interest should not only dissipated for displaying interior and lightning design, even f this is the most impressive for public installations. Most design is made in other subjects: Cars, machines, tools, software etc.

The question will be not which forms of design are the most spectacular, but what can design do to improve standard of living for as much people as possible on a economic way.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Visiting Hanover: The Kestner-Museum and the Sprengel-Museum

Yesterday I was in Hanover. The capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany is well known for the great Sprengel Art Museum and the EXPO world exhibition which take place in 2000. Until today publiv transportation is well designed: Trams and busses are custom designed from James Irvine for the city and every bus stop is designed by an other designer as a sculpture in public space. I visited two museums, the Kestner-Museum (of Decorative Arts and Design) and the Sprengel Museum (of Art).

The first is not very huge, it displays from ancient Egyptian to Modern items of public life (especially metal works and furniture). A quite new department is about industrial design.
I don't know much about antiquities, the two mumies impressed me (there is a stereolithograpy model of the head inside, and x-ray pictures), the rest was ok. The industrial design department has not many exhibits, but all are notable (e.g rare Bauhaus-furniture). In the basement there was a temporary exhibition about Art Deco also with some design objects: a object o Christopher Dresser and some Behrens water kettles.
It should be mentioned that there is a path for children with special exhibits.

The Sprengel Museum is well known in Germany and very big, an aditional wing was opened in 1992. You will find works of almost all important artists of the 20th century. The works of contemporary artists show no surprices (other similar are known from otherwhere), notable is the donation of the Frenc artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, who donated 300 of their works to this institution, many are very unconvetional and show an other facette of her. German art of the beginning cebtury is also well represented. The artist Kurt Schwitters came from Hanover, his atelier is reconstructed inside the museum.
See also our picture album from Hanover:
Sprengel Museum + Kestner Museum

Friday, October 12, 2007

National Palace Museum, Taipei

I’m glad that I could visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
How people use the things in their daily life is the important part for designer to observe. We can see the different shape from the past how they made, and their amazing thoughts from the Ancient in China. As a designer, it helps us to broaden the immeasurable horizons, and to reconsider the point of view of current design.

Shin-Chia Huang, (

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Visitors welcome

More people visted museums in UK than games in the Premier League, and with 42,ooo,ooo visitors the numbers are much more higher than the visitors of theatres and musicals.
Especially art [and design] museums benefit from this world wide boom. 120,000 visitors came to a single exhibition in Hamburg, 500,000 to the National Gallery in Berlin.

Source: an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine (only in German)

"Nature Design - From Inspiration to Innovation"

is an exhibition at the "Museum for Gestaltung in Zürich" until 2th December. It refers on the phenomenon nature as a source of inspiration for design and architecture. Here is a short film about it:

Seeing the film my question is, if every organic designed can be labelled as "nature design"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

300% Spanish Design

The travelling exhibition was first made as a Spanish contribution for the Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan and was shown at the Saitama Museum of Modern Art. Later it travelled around the world. I visited the exhibition in Athens.

It is nothing unusual that a county presents itself by it's design, but it was new to show a country's history by design. 100 chairs 100 posters and 100 lamps stand for the development of Spanish industrialisation and culture.

The tour through time begins with Gaudí’s modernisme in the Art Deco period, and moves forward to the rationalist Gatepac movement until functional and post-modernism industrial design.

See also our picture album from the exhibition:
300% Spanish Design

Museo Dell'Arredo Contemporaneo

Furniture and especially chairs are very popular items for design museums (see article about chairs). The Museo Dell'Arredo Contemporaneo in Ravenna collects only furniture and displays the change from art deco to modernism and pop-art. Unfortunatly it is closed, so we can show only this short film about the permanent exhibition.

Objects: 150 items in exhibition (1880-1980)
Link to the museum

Beijing Design Museum

He Yuehua runs a private museum of design that hosts also experimental art shows and rock concerts.

- Poster art from Japan after World War II
- Danish and Swedish Design: consumer products, furniture and environmental design.
- Design 2000 Project: works by artists from more than 50 countries to celebrate the end of the millennium.

Article about the museum in "Beijingscene"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Design in Prague's museums

Last weekend I was in Prague. Unfortunatly my favourite National Museum of Technology (Národní technické muzeum) is closed for one month, so I vistited the Museum of Decorative Arts (upm) and the National Museum. Both are located in closer down town in custom-made buildings designed by the architect Josef Schulz. The entrace was in both around 5€/6$.

The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Decorative Arts (Uměleckoprůmyslové museum) consists 4 halls on one floor. It shows a lot of handcrafts, especially baroque household goods, clothes and furniture, the 20th century seems to be under-represented.

I expected exhibits of cubism and functionalism, both very important for Czech and European design, but was disappointed: Cubism was represented by only one armoir in this building and nothing was displayed on functionalism (perhaps both are displayed in the dependances)
The important comtemporary Czech typography was represented by 6 posters with font samples from Marek Pistora and the corporate design manual of the museum (it could be more). Interesting was the exhibition Models&Prototypes showing sketches with design of
baroque items. You can see how that the division of labour was high developed even this time.

I suspect that the rich collection is not displayed in an exhibition, some topics have own external buildings in Prague:

Cubistic exhibits are shown in the Museum of Cubism (Celetná Street)
19th, 20th and 21st century art at the Trade Fair Palace (Dukelských hrdinů Street)
Prague Jewellery Collection (Cihelná Street)

The National Museum is very big, several departments show the history of geology and flora & fauna (worldwide) and the history of civilisation (Czech and Slovak Republik). The exhibition concept seems old fashioned but is in very good condition, so it is an exhibit itself. I hope it will be preserved and not be changed.

See the picture album of the visit:
Prague, Sept. 2007

FACTS Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM)
Founded: 1818 (building from 1885-1891 Arch: Josef Schulz)
Permanent exhibition renovated in 2000

FACTS National Museum
Founded: 1885 (building from 1897-1899 Arch: Josef Schulz)
Objects: 14,000,000 items