“Design is not about products. Design is about relationships. Good design can draw, almost invisibly, on different levels of meaning to communicate with users. It suggests a lack of imagination when those opportunities are not exploited to the fullest.” (Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg, 2015) For the third year of an ongoing collaboration at Salone Del Mobile – Milan’s celebrated annual design festival – Serpentine Galleries and la Rinascente department store have commissioned celebrated designer Hella Jongerius and theorist Louise Schouwenberg to create a special installation for the store’s eight front windows.
A Search Behind Appearances reflects on the state of affairs in design and prompts a consideration of the meanings that hide behind appearances. It does so through a sophisticated shadow play. Ingeniously animated and automated small-scale machines assemble and dis-assemble iconic objects and words into their constituent parts. The ever shifting shadows of these intricately orchestrated movements are then projected onto specially woven fabrics, some of which are created in the designer’s Berlin studio, others through industrial production.
Presented at the Salone del Mobile, Jongerius and Schouwenberg’s 2015 manifesto Beyond the New addressed the deceptive world of empty spectacle and commercial verbiage in design, and made a plea for a renewed idealistic agenda. In 2016 Jongerius and Schouwenberg move beyond criticism and celebrate foremost the innate potential of design. The imaginative shadows, the intricate fabrics, and their interplay, evoke questions and offer means for ‘reading’ a design’s true value.
Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg said:
Any deserving design is a meaningful node in a branching web of relationships. What is the larger context and narrative in which a design gains validity? Which ideals and references can be detected behind appearances? The concept of cultural innovation requires new criteria.
A SEARCH BEHIND APPEARANCES
Unique collaboration between designer Hella Jongerius and theorist Louise Schouwenberg for la Rinascente department store in Milan. Commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries
When: April 12 – 17, 2016 – all day