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.
Unconstrained, poetic and timeless. That is how we can characterise the designs of Jean-François D’Or. The Belgian Designer of the Year 2013 does not put himself in the spotlight with large showpieces, but with his special talent he leaves his own mark on the field of smaller home and interior accessories such as bowls, lamps, vases, coat racks, door handles, mirrors,… Small touches that in all subtlety colour an interior and at the same time very ‘democratic’ design that can seduce a large public.
The work of self-proclaimed ex-designer Martí Guixé (°1964) can aptly be described as ‘beyond design’. Creating new objects he finds rather ‘superfluous’ and ‘boring’; he prefers to concentrate on ideas, systems and living matter such as food and human behaviour. As a ‘global designer’, Guixé constantly travels back and forth between Berlin and his native Barcelona, analyses situations, rituals and movements and proposes radical solutions with a minimum of ergonomics – simple, immaterial, humorous and often iconoclastic.
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.