Blurring the boundaries between art and design

The NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf questions the differences or similarities of contemporary design-art by presenting works by designers/artists like Ron Arad, Hussein Chalayan, Liam Gillick, Marc Newson, Franz West, to name a few, from 23 May until 5 July. On the occasion of the exhibition the NRW-Forum has opened a blog for the public discussion of the theme: Where does design end and art begin?

Chair by Richard Artschwager, 1965 - 2000

U.F.O |

Chair by Richard Artschwager, 1965 - 2000

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U.F.O. – mapping

U.F.O |

U.F.O. – mapping

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Charles Eames, the most influential designer of the mid-twentieth century, said that ‘design is an expression of purpose. It may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art.’ Contemporary young designers see the matter more pragmatically. According to the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon, 'there is no longer a clear border between product design and art.'

A 100 Chairs in 100 Days by Martino Gamper, 2006/2007

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A 100 Chairs in 100 Days by Martino Gamper, 2006/2007

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Bodyguards by Ron Arad

U.F.O |

Bodyguards by Ron Arad

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The most recent answer to this question is inherent in the new phrase 'design-art'. Artists like Franz West and others investigate the changing functions of sculpture and in so doing dissolve the borders between art and design, between 'free' and 'applied' creation, by allowing hybrids from other areas to develop. In the field of design, on the other hand, designers like Ron Arad or Marc Newson are increasingly discovering the sculptural qualities of design. They are distancing themselves from a conditionality of design - namely its function and the inherent possibility of reproducing something any number of times - and are creating unique items or small editions. The borders between 'fine' and 'decorative' art is becoming more blurred.

Dressing Furniture by Hussein Chalayan

U.F.O |

Dressing Furniture by Hussein Chalayan

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Johanna Grawunder

U.F.O |

Johanna Grawunder

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Iceberg by Zaha Hadid, 2003

U.F.O |

Iceberg by Zaha Hadid, 2003

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Kram/Weisshaar

U.F.O |

Kram/Weisshaar

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Megaform Table by Ross Lovegrove

U.F.O |

Megaform Table by Ross Lovegrove

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Tejo Remy

U.F.O |

Tejo Remy

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one on top of another by Rolf Sachs, 2008

U.F.O |

one on top of another by Rolf Sachs, 2008

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Franz West

U.F.O |

Franz West

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Ettore Sottsass

U.F.O |

Ettore Sottsass

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Sushi IV by Fernando und Humberto Campana, 2003

U.F.O |

Sushi IV by Fernando und Humberto Campana, 2003

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