21_21 Design Sight museum in Tokyo is currently showcasing Post Fossil: Excavating 21st Century Creation – a exploration of new trends in design through the vision of Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
With today’s global economic crisis leading to a questioning of the value systems constructed over the previous century, Li Edelkoort looks to the trends being set by a new generation of designers who are challenging the conventional notions of design.
This exhibition brings together the work of over 70 designers, showing over 130 pieces between them. They all have been chosen as a response to the question: ‘How will the designers of tomorrow look to past in order to invent the future?’ As it ‘excavates’ and analyzes new creative trends in and for 21st century, this exhibition search for the clues necessary for the human beings to live and define their future.
‘A period of glamorous and streamlined design for design’s sake comes to an end. A new generation of designers retrace their roots, refine their earth and research their history, sometimes going back to the beginning of time.’ notes Li Edelkoort.
Li continues, ‘Time has come for extreme change. Society is ready to break away from last century for good. To break from creative conventions, theoretic rules and stigmas that now are questioned, challenged and abandoned. To break with a materialistic mentality, replacing it with the modest materialization of earth-bound and recomposed matter.
LE: ‘In touch with a growing animistic movement, our relationship with nature will deepen and take on another dimension. Bringing the plant and animal worlds closer to man. A movement of intimate force that will keep invading and transforming the life of humans, as represented here in a more abstract and less narrative manner. As animated form. Our relationship with all living organisms is at stake. Therefore we will share with, and care for each other. Soon we will discover that we are all family.’
LE: ‘Nature is a dominant ingredient in this movement, although no longer used as a naïve and aspiring ecological language, but as a mature philosophy fit for a newer age. Raising the questions that need to be raised:
Can we do with less to become more?
Can design have a soul and therefore be animated?
Can man find a more meaningful way to consume?
Can we break with the past and reinvent the future?
LE: ‘Borders are shifting and attitudes will change, stimulating the fusion of disciplines and domains. Thus craft and design, sculpture and design, science and design and art and design, all merge to become one in a renaissance movement made of multiple creation. Material is dominant, art directing the designer with its own strong will and character; wood is listened to, glass is writing on the wall, while textile actively acquires a third dimension.
LE: ‘Bone structures will give quality to pre-historic interiors and millennial designs imitating and magnifying the organic process of growth. Earth, wind and fire are the elements of choice. Form wants to be irregular and volcanic, spreading like a virus through design culture or floating in air like a hesitant balloon.
LE: Rock, boulder and cocoon shapes dominate this school of design, reinventing primitive production methods. These sculptural pieces are forged in nature, striving for a more relaxed attitude, where man will landscape his interior. Research indicates that the next generation of designers will bring form to life, aspiring to create living objects.
LE: ‘One-of-a-kind organic hand-blown glass and hand-thrown pottery will dominate the table of the future, presenting slower food with forgotten vegetables, and local and seasonal produce. Form will be based upon age-old ideas, rediscovering primal functions. Our earth is excavated, categorized and rendered with a contemporary vision. Paper pulp and fibrous felt are forged into spheric everyday objects. Semi-serial unique chairs form a family of firmly-grounded individuals.
LE: ‘The earth and its hidden riches invites a new generation of designers to employ minerals, alloys and crystals; adding luster and sometimes even sheen to these fossil-like concepts and constructions. Stainless, bronze and gilded gold add a more mystical and ritualistic sense to elevate primitive form to universal dimensions. Like asteroids fallen from space to invade and illuminate the interiors of tomorrow.’
Post Fossil: Excavating 21st Century Creation’ continues at 21_21 Design Sight until June 27 2010.
Image credits: photography Masaya Yoshimura