Unmissable design exhibitions in September from around the globe
We’ve scoured the globe to find the most captivating, uncanny and memorable design exhibitions to see in 2018; from retrospectives and major blockbusters to thematic exhibitions and solo shows. So here’s our list of must-see design events this month...
‘After-sensation’ at Sophis Gallery, Seoul
Weight Collection, 2018, by Kin Jinsik
Seoul’s Sophis Gallery explores the juxtaposition between first-hand experience and memory in multidisciplinary show ‘After-sensation’. Through design, photography and installations, a quintet of artists look ahead to a time where originality in design is redundant, as the majority and universality is put first. Resultantly, the featured designers Sung Junggi, Bahc Shinyoung, Lee Sangpil, Kim Jinsik and Kim Kyoungtae reimagine memories of everyday moments, playing with the visual and auditory senses. Kim Jisink suspends a natural stone above a high sculpture; meanwhile Kim Kyoungtae enlarges cross-sectional images of stone, embodying them on a stainless steel plate. Writer: Luke Halls
Until 27 September. Sophis Gallery, B1, Yeoksam-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
‘Cuba working title’ at Over the Influence, Los Angeles
Courtesy the artist and Over The Influence
Ron Arad is reviving his interest in compressing cars at Los Angeles’ Over the Influence this September. Famed for contorting objects and materials, the Israeli designer first transformed six Fiat 500s into art objects in 2013, flattening the vehicles whilst maintaining the veracity of their original design. Arad took an interest in the history behind American cars in Cuba initially, yet due to the difficulties of trying to obtain the national treasures, he began to source these cars found in Europe. Placed sideways in a 500-ton shipyard press in the Netherlands, the 12cm-thick sculptures are pressed like flowers, eternally immortalised. Writer: Luke Halls
Until 21 October 2018. Over the Influence, 833 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
‘SST® typeface by Monotype and Sony Design’ at G. F Smith Show Space, London
In 2013, Monotype and Sony made typographical history with their release of the SST® typeface that became available in 93 languages. 22,000 characters strong, the typeface was timeless and universal, bridging geometric type design with calligraphy-based scripts like Asian and Arabic. A modern classic, it is seamlessly employed across Sony’s array of physical and digital manifestations. This summer, the type’s design history is brought to life for the first time at paper specialist G. F Smith’s Soho show space. A set of 12 posters printed on G. F Smith paper illustrate the timeline of the type’s design, exploring its conceptualisation, design processes and final real-world utilisation. Writer: Luke Halls
Until 11 September, G. F Smith Show Space, Eastcastle House, London W1.
Design Parade Hyères and Toulon
With a rich programme of exhibitions and events, Design Parade returns to the French Riviera for its 13th edition, taking over the Villa Noailles in Hyères for contemporary French design displays, as well as Toulon’s Ancien Eveche with a show dedicated to interior architecture. Creative collaborations are at the heart of show director Jean-Pierre Blanc’s initiative, and this edition strengthens his commitment with a plethora of young and established talents taking over historic spaces for a summer-long design celebration. See the highlights here
Until 30th September. Villa Noailles, Montée de Noailles, 83 400 Hyères, France and Ancien Eveche de Toulon, Cours Lafayette, 83200 Toulon, France
The maverick designer’s energy fills the Vitra Schaudepot’s spaces in Switzerland this summer. This retrospective includes early works from the 1980s and more recent experimentations, exploring in particular the areas of Arad’s career that cross the boundaries between art, sculpture and design. From his expressive ‘Big Easy’ chair from 1988 (pictured) to the playful 1993 ‘Bookworm’ shelf, it’s clear that Arad’s experimental approach and preference for raw materials like steel and concrete have conspired to create unexpected forms that bridge both art and design, forging a path that treads on some uncommon ground. Courtesy Ron Arad Associates
Until 14 October; Vitra Design Museum, Charles-Eames-Str. 2 D-79576 Weil am Rhein, Basel
Hide & Seek by Maarten Baas at Design Museum Ghent
The Belgian design museum presents the first major solo exhibition celebrating influential Dutch designer Maarten Baas. With pieces from the last 15 years of the designer’s life, the exhibition depicts the versatile and rebellious nature of Baas’ work. The show dates back to his 2002 graduation project ‘Smoke’, his 2006 ‘Clay’ series, and his 2009 clock series, ‘Real Time’, which combines theatre, film, art and design.
More recent efforts feature too, like the Salone del Mobile come-back series of moving objects, ‘Baas is in Town’ from 2014, and installation piece ‘May I have your attention please?’ from Close Parity from 2017. The exhibition explores Baas’ interdisciplinary and artistic approach to design, understanding that as he is ‘impossible to pin down, one must seek to find meaning hiding somewhere between reason and emotion, nature and culture, freedom and limitations.’ The travelling showcase has previously appeared at the Groninger Museum and will grace Design Museum Holon later this year. Writer: Nurit Chinn
Until 30 September; Design Museum Gent, Jan Breydelstraat 5, 9000 Ghent
The Strong Collection at Vitsœ, Leamington Spa
Vitsoe opened its elegant new HQ last year in Leamington Spa, a utopian work space that celebrates the brand’s progressive design past, merging it with its exciting future. The space nods to the brand’s history with an archive gallery area which is currently home to a new exhibition of Tom Strong’s Braun collection. Last year saw Vitsœ obtain the Connecticut-born graphic designer’s 250-piece collection, and showcase these in its New York and London stores. ‘It was almost by chance, talking to the Vitsœ team about my Braun collection that they mentioned how it could help with their mission to educate the next generation of design students if it was included in their archive at their new Leamington Spa HQ,’ Strong muses. The vast collection includes the 1976 ‘KF21’ coffee maker and rarer pieces like 1962 ‘T1000’ radio.
By appointment only; Old Warwick Road, Royal Leamington Spa, CV31 3NT, United Kingdom
‘Martin Szekely: Construction’ at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design, Bordeaux
Exhibited inside a newly converted former jail at the museum, ‘Construction’ presents 40 important pieces created between 1981 and 2018 by French designer Martin Szekely. A seminal figure of his generation, Szekely was born in 1956 and studied at the École Boulle and École Estienne. Over the years, Szekely has become known for his pure and minimal furniture, and a refined sensibility for materials and their construction. His most recent gallery collaborations include Pierre Marie Giraud in Brussels and Salon 94 in New York. Curated by Constance Rubini, this recent show presents a diverse selection of objects together with the music of American composer Morton Feldman, allowing visitors to create connection between visual, sound and tactile elements of the showcase. Writer: Adam Štěch
Until 16 September; Madd Bourdeaux, 39 Rue Bouffard, 33000 Bordeaux, France
‘Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960-today’ at Vitra Design Museum, Basel
The Swiss museum has opened its doors to an exploration of disco design. From Gruppo 9999’s Space Electric (1969) (where the Italian Radical Design crew hung out), all the way through to OMA’s recent graphic proposals for the Ministry of Sound in London, the show looks upon the last 40 years of iconic nightclub design. The exhibition will take a chronological voyage through the glamour of these spaces and subcultures, via mediums including vintage photography, film, poster and even fashion. Read more here.
Until 9 September; Vitra Design Museum, Charles-Eames-Str. 2 D-79576 Weil am Rhein, Basel
‘Akari: Sculpture by Other Means’ at Noguchi Museum, New York
The Noguchi Museum is showing an exhibition dedicated to Isamu Noguchi’s modular, collapsible ‘Akari’ lanterns. Starting in 1951, Noguchi designed over 200 Akari models in his lifetime, as a way of marrying an ancient paper craft with electricity. The exhibition includes the largest Akari ever created, the two-metre-wide Akari 200D, made for the 1986 Venice Biennale, in addition to various archival materials. A second, concurrent exhibition, ‘Akari Unfolded: A Collection’, features 26 Akari-inspired lamps created by French studio Ymer & Malta in partnership with Nendo, Sebastian Bergne, Stephen Burks, Océane Delain, Benjamin Graindorge, and Sylvain Rieu-Piquet. Pictured: Nendo’s modern interpretation of the light. Courtesy: Ymer & Malta
Until 27 January 2019; Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106