For London Design Festival 2016 three popup salons were curated that were open for an audience. Each time Dutch and British speakers discussed different topics around furniture & the changing position of the designer: what has changed their daily practice and what are the future changes that might come?
The classic role designer-client has changed in the last 20 years.Furniture is close to us. Literally. We always needed it and will need it in the future. But furniture has to deal with a rapid changing reality with changing production, promotion and selling methods, a surplus of furniture in a society where people move to smaller houses and offices and a western society on the edge of consuming less. It has to get to terms with the digital, our current social context and new ways of living.Cooperating with London Design Festival two informal conversations took place at Global Design Forum at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Date & location: 23 September 2016 - London Design Festival: Victoria & Albert MuseumModerator: Grant Gibson (editor-in-chief of Crafts magazine for the Crafts Council)Speakers:Gitta Gschwendtner, Ineke HansPhotos: Thor ter Kulve
Unfortunately the recording of this Salon failed so there are a few images but no extended report.The conversation was about the past and future of furniture and furniture design. Paralels were drawn between new developments and previous thinking in design.
Gitta Gschwendtner designs furniture, products and exhibitions. In 2010 she went out 'bodging furniture' in the forests of Buckinghamshire and in 2012 she designed the eye-catching chair-bench commissioned for the Furniture Galleries of the V&A.
Gitta spoke about what she came across when working on a bodging project: making furniture from fresh wood in Clissett Wood and how the bodging project inspired her other furniture such as:- Bodge Chair, an oak chair for indoor or outdoor use- Long Bodge Bench, a 4.5 meter oak bench for indoor or outdoor use- Screen Sheets, a furniture commission within the Guy's Cancer Centreand- Chair Bench, a permanent seating commission for the V&A Furniture Gallery.
For LDF 2016 Ineke Hans behaved like a temporary curator at the V&A: with texts and drawn interventions placed in the Furniture Galleries as Cuckoo eggs. She rethought and updated the V&A's furniture collection for 2017 and beyond and tapped into the history and future of furniture design, new ways of producing and living see
As a kind of trail Ineke spread short texts in the Galleries:- that related to our mobility today- to how furniture and digital production get to terms with each other- that talk about hybrid furniture- that draw parallels between developments in the past and presentFor instance looking at flat pack of Thonet chairs in 1859 taking new steps in 1959 with IKEA and now getting a new dimension with online sales and sending furniture in the post directly to the consumer.
And...on the point of 'the changing position of the designer' and as thought to traditional bodging: a remark on the Windsor chair pointing out that the combination of making and designing furniture that used to be joined in one person has become two different specialties.
Grant Gibson moderated the conversations dynamically and together they touched on the importance and use of traditional making, new developments like open source production, how new and old methods can mingle and the changing position of the designer and maker in all of this.20170820