Newsletter 04.2010

Dear Readers

So, the dust is slowly starting to settle after the past few design-fair-filled months.

As ever, we've left no stone unturned in our search for new products and trends. In the first part of our 'Milan Conversations' series, we talk to renowned designers Konstantin Grcic, based in Munich, and Londoner Sebastian Wrong.

And in the first few installments of 'Architonic Reportage: Milan 2010', our video series, you'll find our selection of novelties from the Milan Salone, as well as short interviews with designers and manufacturers from this year's light+building.

The ICFF takes place in New York 15 to 18 May. As media partner of ddc (Domus Design Collection), we would like to draw your attention to two particular events in the heart of Manhattan.

The festival season is upon us: Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day design festival in the heart of London's creative scene. Germany's biggest design festival, DMY Berlin, opens its doors shortly afterwards in June. We're delighted to be media partners of both.

Let yourself be inspired!

Your Architonic Team
Zurich | Milan | Berlin | Barcelona | Copenhagen | London | Miami
The Milan Conversations: Part I - Konstantin Grcic and Sebastian Wrong
As the metaphoric dust settles following another Milan Salone del Mobile (not to be confused with the ash from that pesky Icelandic volcano, which did its best to keep the great and the good of the international design press stranded in Italy), Architonic brings you a series of engaging interviews with some of the most influential designers working internationally. We're calling them the Milan Conversations.
  The Milan Conversations: Part I - Konstantin Grcic and Sebastian Wrong  
Konstantin Grcic

The plethora of design blogs and design journals available to us these days means that you can get a pretty good idea of what's been launched at any particular design fair without packing that suitcase with comfortable shoes and business cards. The real value of going to somewhere like Milan are the encounters that you have, not with new products but with other people. It's probably the design industry's most productive and rewarding way of exchanging information, ideas and enthusiasm. It's about inspiration.

In this first installment of the Milan Conversations, Architonic talks to Compasso d'Oro-winning, Munich-based Konstantin Grcic about his new collaboration with leading British design brand Established & Sons (whose show, in an indoor pelota court, was monumental in scale) and how he had to learn to let go. We also talk to Sebastian Wrong, founding member and design development director of said brand, about irony, sustainability and the thinking behind the company's new own-label collection.
'Crash' armchair by Konstatin Grcic for Established & Sons

Konstantin Grcic: 'I surrender'
Architonic: It seems quite fitting that we're standing in a pelota court, as the Established & Sons brand seems to express the idea of play. Humour and irony appear to run through it.
Konstantin Grcic: And the idea of competitiveness. That's what I like about them. They are really showing muscles. They are only six years old and they're renting a space that's larger than any of the traditional companies that have been around for decades. There's something like a sporty ambition that they have, which fits the space as well.

Your work has in the past often shown a strong sense of analysis and rigour, and form is well considered. What was it like working for the first time with a manufacturer whose products are sometimes more playful, more relaxed? Was the process different?

Yes. The only reason for starting a collaboration with a new company is to do something new. The decision to work with Established & Sons was the joy of new territory. Something completely outside my other experiences. Who the company are and what they've done over the years forms one pool of information for me. The other one is purely my own: what have I done and where do I see a niche of new territory for myself. Working with textiles, working with soft materials. Exploring a more organic language of things. Comfort in a totally different way than I normally treat comfort. Or discomfort. All of this was important for me as a consideration. I like that. A designer should be considerate in many different ways. Work is not something you just pour out. There's always context to it. The company you work with is a context. You have your own context. Even the year 2010 is different from what I would have done last year.
  Konstantin Grcic: 'I surrender'  
'B Chair' by Konstantin Grcic for Bd Barcelona

And all of this informs the process and the final product. And in terms of the process, what did you learn from working on this product that was new to you?

Well, I learnt that I was completely wrong about using fabric in the first place. Underneath here is a beautifully moulded foam body. The fabric for me was the paint that goes on top of the foam body. The reality, of course, is that fabric has its own structure and behaviour and you can't just mould it seamlessly over it. Especially with this inner part which it goes over. Trying to create a seamless, creaseless fabric cover was impossible. And I was fighting for that, but then realised that this was a lost fight.

The fabric got the better of you.

Indeed. But it was for the better. There came a point where I thought 'I surrender. I accept that fabric is something completely different.' Then you notice that how we are used to fabric is all about that. Something uncontrollable and free. And this is really an experience I went through and I think the result is so much nicer than I anticipated.

Which would have been a perfectly defined and fixed silhouette.

light+building 2010
Milan 2010: Video Summary Part I, II & III
New York in codes: ICFF & ddc
From 15 to 18 May, the ICFF invites you to the imposing glass structure that is the Javits Convention Center. The fair, which as New York's single biggest design event still has lots of potential yet to be harnessed, just gets better and better over the years - more and more exciting material manufacturers have been carefully selected to take part in the exclusive fair.

As in other cities, New York's galleries and showrooms use the occasion of the ICFF to invite trade visitors to their shows. As media partner of ddc, we would like to draw your attention to two particular events: the opening of a second, completely new dcc flagship premises, designed by Studio Gaia with a Minotti showroom by Rodolfo Dordoni. Located at 136 Madison Avenue, the opening party is on Friday 14 May, from 18.00 to 21.00. The new 30,000-square-metre showroom, featuring an installation by Jens Ahlemeyer, serves as an exhibition space for ddc's own, self-curated furniture collection.

The existing premises at 181 Madison Avenue/34th Street - the ddc Studio - has been refitted as a 'shop within a shop' showroom. During the ICFF, a number of presentations by different international designers from Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada will take place here, in addition to an installation by the Velencia Group. ddc invites you to a cocktail party on Monday 17 May from 18.00 to 21.00 to mark the occasion.
Clerkenwell Design Week 2010
The festival in London from 25 - 27 May
London's Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day annual festival celebrating design's creative richness, its social impact and its power for change.

Clerkenwell, the undisputed heart of design in London - itself acknowledged as design's global metropolis - is perfect for a design festival, where more than 60 design showrooms and a horde of design and architectural practices can be found amongst elegant greens and squares, historic architecture, cool pop-up clubs and shops, famous restaurants and funky bars.
  Clerkenwell Design Week 2010
The festival programme of seminars, workshops and debates tackles key issues from a design standpoint. Big design names and inspirational thought leaders will spearhead an event crammed with left-field thinking, off-the-wall performances and presentations to challenge all your preconceptions.

As well as exclusive product launches from leading design brands, there'll be art installations, music, food, exhibitions and parties... It's the ideal chance for creatives to see the latest design trends in relaxed yet intensely stimulating atmosphere.

It will excite, inspire, educate, inform and entertain.

Architonic, the international online design community, is delighted to be a media partner of Clerkenwell Design Week.
DMY International Design Festival 2010
Berlin, June 9-13
The DMY International Design Festival 2010 - Germany's largest festival for product design - showcases inspirational new products and experimental prototypes by over 400 international designers. With over 10.000 square meters filled with new products by professional designers and brands as well as experimental works by upcoming talents, the festival invites trade visitors, international designers and the public to take part in five inspirational festival days at the rough factory building of tresor.m.
As media partner Architonic supports DMY for the second time. We look forward to seeing you in Berlin!
  DMY International Design Festival 2010

Highlighting the most outstanding design pieces, the festival-jury - consisting of Jerszy Seymour (Jerszy Seymour Design Workshop), Werner Aisslinger (Studio Aisslinger), Jurgen Bey (Studio Makkink& Bey), Hella Jongerius (Jongeriuslab) and Patrick Reymond (AtelierOI) - help to select the participants of the festival and designates the winners of the DMY Awards during the festival.

Next to this year's Technology and Swiss Design Focus, the festival comes with a varied program of workshops, lectures, designer talks, film screenings, visual performances and satellite events. For the first time, the festival will offer an Open Design / Maker Lab with numerous workshop stations inviting visitors and designers to explore new technologies and DIY-concepts (incl. Arduino, Rapid Prototyping, Eco-friendly production, Wearable Gaming etc.). Over 40 thematic exhibitions and open studios will further give you insights into the design scene of the city. 
New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
studio mk27
  New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'  
Photo by Nelson Kon
Keiji Ashizawa Design
Photo by Daici Ano
Architect Gon Zifroni
Photo by Filip Dujardin
Realgrün Landschaftsarchitekten
More Articles from 'News &Trends'
"Passion is the most important thing"
  More Articles from 'News &Trends'

Jörg Boner gibt viel Preis über seine Produkte - er haucht ihnen Leben ein. So beleuchtet er im Gespräch gerne den Werdegang eines Produktes, seine Hochs und Tiefs sowie seinen Neuanfang...(only in German)
Getting high in London: the 2012 Olympic city's controversial new tower

When Mayor of London Boris Johnson unveiled the design of a 115-metre-high steel tower by renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor, which is to be built next to the city's new 2012 Olympic Stadium, the reaction from press and public was one of emphatic disapproval...
'Harmonious Anarchy': revisiting Hak Nam, Hong Kong's slum city

When photographer Greg Girard decided to visit the notorious, citadel-like 'Walled City' slum in Hong Kong's Kowloon, where the daily lives of 35,000 people played out, he was told he may not come back alive...