Nora Schmidt

Author

Nora Schmidt
Berlin   Germany

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The first individual exhibition by the Swiss designer Alfredo Häberli at the Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich. From June 27 - September 21
 

During his speech at the opening of the exhibition at Zurich's Design Museum Alfredo Häberli, who normally makes such a confident impression, seemed to be nervous. After all, the location of his first solo exhibition is the place where he himself studied design.
Häberli completed his design studies here in 1991 before setting up his own business in Zurich as an industrial designer. Over the last 17 years Alfredo Häberli Design Development has become a prestigious international design studio. He attributes a great deal of his success to his wife, family and staff and even dedicated to them the award which was presented to him at the opening.
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The laboratory with a cemprehensive collection of prototypes and models

The major scope of this impressive exhibition, which Häberli conceived and created in close cooperation with his colleague Moritz Schmid, shows the full volume and range of the designer's output. Alfredo Häberli's work, creative processes and sources of inspiration are described in four sections, accompanied by the designer's own texts.
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The inner life of 'Take a line for a walk' for Moroso
to the Moroso collection to the Moroso collection

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Try and Error: 'Segesta' for Alias
to the Alias collection to the Alias collection

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The mold of a chair which was never produced serially

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paper models

When visitors enter the exhibition the first thing which confronts them is an extensive collection of models, moulds and prototypes which illustrate the various developmental stages of projects which have been completed, and also of some which never reached the production stage. Especially interesting here are the objects which sketch out the thought processes which accompany a design, for example the notes on the model of the Segesta chair which Häberli designed for the Italian manufacturer Alias – providing a memorable glance behind the scenes.
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Opened houses, in which Häberli stages his work

The houses which are opened up in a range of ways to reveal their interiors represent a further section of the exhibition, with domestic fittings and furnishings demonstrating the application of Häberli's products.
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The opened houses where produced in cooperation with Kvadrat

The 'concept kitchen' produced by the Italian manufacturer Schiffini takes up an especially large part of the exhibition. Häberli, who was born in Argentina, here analyses in an experimental way the changing significance of the kitchen over time, and the way we take the luxury of a modern kitchen for granted, leading to his proposition that the kitchen is the 'soul of the house.'
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The result is a large working surface (because Häberli raises the question of whether it wouldn't be more appropriate to regard the kitchen as a kind of workshop or studio, we could also describe it as a workbench) which integrates the sink in one of its long sides and the gas cooker and a wooden worktop in the other. With the extractor hood and light fittings which protrude over the various work surfaces like desk lamps instead of being discreetly concealed under the hood, Häberli suggests working environments such as the office or the studio, in this way giving the kitchen the significance he is looking for. A capacious boiler with a pipe leading demonstratively to the sink acts as a reminder to visitors of the need to use resources responsibly.
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Häberli's textile design for Kvadrat, insired by asian Tangram-puzzles
to the Kvadrat collection to the Kvadrat collection

The fourth section of the exhibition is made up of the two comic domes which contain the drawings and stylish illustrations which Häberli worked on in the course of his projects and which provide an insight into the complex thought processes of the designer.
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Häberlis Gedankenwelt in Form von kunstvollen Illustrationen

Three wooden chalets represent the last part of the exhibition. These have already been presented by Häberli as part of Interieur 06, the 2006 international biennial exhibition of creative interior design in Kortrijk, Belgium. On the one hand the 150 objects created by Swiss designers provide an overview of Swiss design during the last century and on the other they express Häberli's respect for these trailblazers of modern furniture design.

We have seldom seen an impressive and comprehensive retrospective which has succeeded with such creative meticulousness in illuminating the apparently unlimited range of an individual designer.


Program accompanying the exhibition

Podium discussion: Wednesday, 9 July 2008, 8 pm, Vortragssaal
The long path to the product
Konstantin Grcic, Designer, Munich
Alfredo Häberli, Designer, Zurich
Patrizia Moroso, Art Director Moroso, Udine
Patricia Urquiola, Designer, Milan
Chair: Karianne Fogelberg, Design Journalist, Frankfurt am Main
In German and English

Podium discussion: Wednesday, 10 September 2008, 8.30 pm, Vortragssaal
Design development: always one step further?
Alfredo Häberli, Designer, Zurich
Adrian van Hooydonk, Chief Designer BMW Automobile, Munich
Ross Lovegrove, Designer, London
Renate Menzi, Curator Design Collection, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ascan Mergenthaler, Partner Herzog & de Meuron, Basel
Chair: Jeroen van Rooijen, Style Director, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich
In German and English
to the Museum für Gestaltung website to the Museum für Gestaltung website