Newsletter 11.2010

Dear Readers,

An eventful autumn with lots of interesting fairs and exhibitions is drawing to a close. As ever, we covered a lot of ground in order to bring you the best products and manufacturers.

Here, in brief, is what you'll find in this newsletter:
- An interview with British designer Jasper Morrison
- Videos of selected new products from Orgatec 2010
- Textile designer Cristian Zuzunaga in interview
- The most exciting new products from Cersaie 2010, the fair for ceramics and bathroom furnishings
- Impressions from the 13th Designers' Saturday on Architonic@Facebook. Become a fan and we'll keep you up to date!

Let yourself be inspired!
Your Architonic Team

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A Life More Ordinary
Architonic meets Jasper Morrison
    A Life More Ordinary  
'I don't go out there wearing white suits and shooting my mouth off about things unnecessarily': Paris- and London-based British designer Jasper Morrison; photo 2007, Suki Dhanda

Respected British designer Jasper Morrison has learnt many things in the course of his career. For example, how to design products that create 'atmosphere', as he describes it, yet have longevity, and how to ignore the marketing machine that would turn design professionals into superstars. And how a violent pink can sometimes be, well, a bit too violent. Architonic spent some time at the recent Orgatec fair in Cologne with the thinking designer's designer.

Epistolary. What a nice word, I thought. Waiting for Jasper Morrison to arrive for an interview I'd arranged with him at this year's Orgatec fair in Cologne, I started to wonder whether talking to the respected British designer might not be such a good idea after all, and that perhaps I should have suggested a dialogue by exchange of email. Morrison is known, it's fair to say, as not being the most loquacious of people - something which sits in stark contrast to his trenchant and insightful writing on design, published over the last two decades in the form of numerous books and essays.

Jasper Morrison's new 'HAL' range for Vitra, 2010: 'We've spent three years working out what shape it should be. You'd be amazed how many one-piece shells aren't worked out at all, which are not comfortable'; photo Marc Eggimann ©Vitra

Morrison's often restrained approach to conversation dovetails, however, with his design approach, one which eschews spectacle, excess and uselessness for rationalism, longevity and usefulness. In a world increasingly 'polluted' by design, by products whose sole purpose appears to serve a marketing-driven consumer need for the new, 'the leaving out the design seemed more and more the way to go,' as the designer wrote in his 2007 book 'Super Normal', which he co-authored with Naoto Fukasawa. Obsolescence, for Morrison, is itself an outdated notion.

But when it came to our particular conversation, Morrison spoke fluently and at surprising length about just what is at stake for him in this activity called design, about what it should mean, as opposed to what it has, sadly, come to mean to a lot of us. Yet in spite of his work functioning in part as a corrective (and a welcome one at that) to the surfeit of ill-conceived, or, even worse, unconsidered, products that fill our lives, he maintains that being a designer is 'just a job. The best thing you can do is stay in your studio and do it as well as you can,' he says. Jasper Morrison is just normal. Or maybe that's super normal.
Orgatec 2010
A selection of new products on film
As ever, our video team was at this year's Orgatec, to capture for you in a more in-depth way some of the best new products. In talking to designers and important colleagues, we were able to get some exciting information on what was on show.

Man of the Cloth
Cristian Zuzunaga talks textile and more
    Man of the Cloth  
'A life without pattern would be like a life without identity': London-based Spanish designer Cristian Zuzunaga

In the (unfortunate) hierarchy of design disciplines - just ask any architect and they'll confirm this - textile design has traditionally occupied a less-than-superior position. Spanish-born Londoner Cristian Zuzunaga has been troubling the creative order of things recently, however, with his conceptually and technically innovative work for such leading textile manfuacturers as Kvadrat and Nanimarquina. The interesting thing, though, is that he's not a textile designer, at least in terms of training. Architonic met up with Zuzunaga at the Design Post in Cologne during this year's Orgatec fair to pick at some threads.

Cristian Zuzunaga's new urban-landscape-inspired collection for Danish design-textile brand Kvadrat, shown at their London showroom during the 2010 London Design Festival

Like the material construction of his concept-led designs for high-end Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat, the young Spanish-born creative's work weaves together a multiplicity of visual and theoretical references. It's fair to say that Zuzunaga, perhaps best-known to date for his digital-meets-analogue pixel design conceit, articulated in its bold application to upholstered furniture (such as Ligne Roset's somewhat iconic Michel Ducaroy-designed 'Togo' sofa) and in its use in fashion, makes his work work as hard as he does. Beyond its function as a strong aesthetic, somewhat ironic, statement, this type of work also sets out to examine the relation between the two- and three-dimensional, the micro- and the macroscopic, the static and kinetic. Not bad for a bit of fabric.
Fair Review
Best products of Cersaie 2010
    Fair Review  
'Mogul' by Inax resembles a knotted carpet

Cersaie - one of the world's largest trade fairs for ceramics and bathroom furnishings - takes place annually in Bologna in northern Italy. The location is no coincidence because whereas in Germany the trade of tiling was still not very widespread even up to the eighteenth century, by this time it already had a long tradition in Italy in that painted and glazed tiles were used in many churches in order to illustrate Bible scenes for example, as well as in the form of floor or wall decorations. To the present day Italy has a large number of producers of ceramics who can build on this tradition.
As we announced in advance of Cersaie 2010 Architonic now presents the best new products which we have researched for you at this impressive trade fair in Bologna.

'Folded' is the result of a collaboration of Mutina with the London based design studio Raw Edges
Impressions from Designers' Saturday 2010
Keep up-to-date with Architonic@Facebook
The 13th Designers' Saturday - the popular exhibition known for its striking installations, lovingly created by participating manufacturers - took place in Langenthal, Switzerland, at the start of November. For those of you who weren't there, we've documented the best mise-en-scènes on Architonic@Facebook, in five parts.

  Impressions from Designers' Saturday 2010
New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
ZGF Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP
  New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'  
John E. Jaqua Center for Student Athletes, University of Oregon, photo by Eckert & Eckert
Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture
Hariri Memorial Garden, photo by Matteo Piazza
JSWD Architekten
Q1, ThyssenKrupp Quartier Essen, photo by Christian Richters
Guilherme Machado Vaz
Stadium Matosinhos, photo by Leonardo Finotti
MP09 - Headquarters of the Uniopt Pachleitner Group, photo by Gerald Liebminger
za bor architects
Yandex internet company office in Ekaterinburg
More Articles from 'News &Trends'
Valencia Disseny Week
  More Articles from 'News &Trends'

The sun, the wine, a magical inner city - Valencia is a great place to participate in a trade fair. Thanks to an invitation to FEED, the first congress of international bloggers and digital media, received from Valencia Disseny Week and ADCV, the association of Valencia designers, Architonic had the opportunity not only to attend Habitat Valencia but to gain valuable insights into the production facilities of a number of Spanish manufacturers.

Concrete in Architecture (3): Furniture & Objects
In what for the moment will be the last part of our "Concrete in Architecture" series the focus will be on the use of concrete in interior architecture, in particular for creating objects and furniture.
'Life is important. Design is not important': Architonic goes for a walk with Alain Berteau at Interieur 2010

Alain Berteau is often told by journalists that he is representative of Belgian design. He's not so sure. Architonic caught up with architect-designer Berteau at the Interieur 2010 design biennale to discuss his latest work, the trouble with defining design in national terms, and why designers aren't as important as perhaps they (or, rather, we) think they are.
'There shouldn't be one rule about how to make furniture': in conversation with Interieur 2010 Designer of the Year Bram Boo

He's big in Belgium. And increasingly elsewhere, thanks to him being named Designer of the Year by prestigious design biennale Interieur 2010. Bram Boo's furniture designs delight and challenge in equal measure with their chaotic, often ironic, forms, which belie their resolutely practical functionality. Architonic made a date with the Belgian designer in Kortrijk to discuss his typology-troubling work.