Perfectly imperfect: two exhibitions at Design Museum Holon celebrate the collateral damage of design

A collection of lots of pieces of furniture pushed together photographed from above
Jerusalem-based deisgner Yaacov Kaufman headlines the exhibition 'Stools' at the Design Museum Holon
(Image credit: Yaacov Kaufman)

The vermilion steel ribbons that orbit the Design Museum Holon appear to defy construction, so at odds are they to the notion of a sturdy, timeless monument. And yet today the museum is five years into its tenure as Israel's premier design showcase.

It's with a dose of compassion, then, that the museum launches its spring programme, a tribute to trial and error in design - or, if not error exactly, then the metaphorical shoulders on which some design giants now stand. Like an evolutionary museum that lures in crowds with the remains of those unfit for survival, Holon offers a riveting show of what might have been but was, alas, not.

Jerusalem-based designer Yaacov Kaufman headlines the exhibition 'Stools', hauling in 300 experiments and also-rans created over eight years. Curator Galit Gaon likens the pieces to members of a tribe, though they illustrate not a triumph but a means to one, a creative process. Each stool is a slight mutation of the last - 'like the animation produced when flipping a flip book,' says Gaon. They demonstrate the laboriousness and multidimensionality of design - particularly of an object that's so hard to get right.

Even more extensive is 'IN-Possible', co-produced by the Alessi Museum, which highlights the flawed, untouchable, extinct proposals that never reached production - let alone the immortality achieved by so many Alessi designs. Curator Francesca Appiani presents 50 doomed proposals submitted over nine decades, by designers no less talented than Patricia Urquiola, Ettore Sottsass and Alessi luminary Philippe Starck. 'They were selected from a much bigger group of equally unborn designs,' says company president Alberto Alessi, with the purpose of emphasising the eclecticism and cultural liberality of our activity as manufacturers.'

The sketches, simulations and prototypes lay bare the dialogue between designer and manufacturer up until the inevitable veto. 'Oftentimes their execution presented insurmountable difficulties, less frequently their cost was too high, sometimes our company was too timid to introduce them on the market,' says Alessi. 'But almost no design was intrinsically too weak.' Perhaps they would have made disastrous products, but the remains make excellent viewing, like a particularly unsuccessful breed of beast. They're also an excellent reminder that nobody - not even Patricia Urquiola - is perfect.

stools in Exihibition.

The exhibition features 300 prototypes, experiments and also-rans created over eight years

(Image credit: Yaacov Kaufman)

Various types of stools in exihibition.

Each stool is a mutation of the last, demonstrating the laboriousness of design

(Image credit: Yaacov Kaufman)

Creative structure of a wooden stool.

The stools illustrate not a triumph, but a means to one, a creative process

(Image credit: Yaacov Kaufman)

'Spider' bowl by Scott Henderson, 2009.

Running simultanously at the museum is 'IN-Possible', co-produced by the Alessi Museum, highlighting flawed proposals that never reached production
Pictured: 'Spider' bowl by Scott Henderson, 2009

(Image credit: Scott Henderson)

Fruit bowl by Elena Manferdini, 2005

'IN-Possible' presents 50 doomed proposals spanning 90 years, including the 'Fiori Daranci' fruit bowl by Elena Manferdini, 2005

(Image credit: Elena Manferdini)

Coffee Maker.

Denis Santachiara's coffee maker of 1982

(Image credit: Denis Santachiara)

Metal decoration piece in Exihibition.

A number of Claudia Raimondo's pieces are feature in the exhibition, including metal decoration research from 2001

(Image credit: Claudia Raimondo)

Decorative piece for exihibition by Claudia Raimondo.

More metal decorations research by Claudia Raimondo

(Image credit: Claudia Raimondo)

Exhibitions at Design Museum

Tea and coffee 'Towers' by Acconci Studio

(Image credit: Acconci Studio)

Sketch And a Women in Frame.

The sketches and prototypes lay bare the dialogue between designer and manufacturer up until the inevitable veto
Pictured: the prototype and sketch for a 2004 jewellery piece by Future Systems

(Image credit: Future Systems)


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