Forms with a smile brings together designs and objects by modern surrealists and shows that nothing is what it seems. Hairy carpets, lamps in the shape of a milk bottle, USB sticks cut from wooden branches or seats made from plush stuffed animals. Is it pure humour? Or is it a provocative statement wrapped in an infectious smile? Like surrealism, design sometimes tells us more than we think. Armed with subtle irony, these new surrealists go to war in a world where a certain seriousness reigns.
Forms with a Smile – Design Today
Surrealism may be best known as a movement within literature and the fine arts, but the influence of this 20th-century artistic movement in other fields should not be underestimated. Even the world of design and contemporary design does not escape a healthy dose of surreal humour.
Vision was designed in 1986 by Pierre Mazairac and Karel Boonzaaijer based on the philosophy that a cabinet, as a composition, should be part of the architecture. Partly due to its maximum flexibility of use and extremely modest design, this design was very successful from the outset with the Dutch manufacturer Pastoe. 25 years later, the compositional possibilities remain unlimited: from a three-dimensional relief to a graphic grid of lines and planes, from a series of sideboards to an architectural landscape of volumes. The book Vision – Room for imagination sketches the story of this young classic.
Dirk Wynants (°1964) is the founder and owner of the innovative Belgian furniture brand Extremis. He is also the main designer of the brand and the creator of the brilliant branding concept “Tools for Togetherness”.
Danny Venlet (°1958, Victoria, Australia) is one of the world’s best and most promising designers; yet his work is a well-kept secret in the design world. This is partly due to the fact that Venlet has worked and lived in two different worlds (Australia and Belgium), but is also explained by the essence of his personality and work – modest, prone to understatement, and relaxed.