This Weekend: 11.19-11.22

This Weekend: 11.19-11.22

By Miyoko Ohtake
This week we're highlighting a slew of show openings around the world and in the United States focusing on big-name designers and big-name ideas.

In London, the Design Museum unveils two new exhibits this week, one focusing on the works of industrial designer Dieter Rams and the other exploring the ergonomics of everyday items. In Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams, the exhibition focuses on Rams's creations for Braun, such as his SK4 record player and portable radio-phone combination (below), and furniture manufacturer Vitsoe, including his 606 Universal Shelving System (above) and 620 Chair Programme. Though the ethos of the German designer are transparent in his work, he's broken them down into ten principles of good design that are reflected in the exhibit. To Rams, good design (1) is innovative, (2) aesthetic, (3) unobtrusive, (4) honest, (5) long-lasting, (6) thorough down to the last detail, and (7) environmentally friendly; (8) makes a product useful and (9) a product understandable; and (10) is as little design as possible. Less and More is on view until March 7, 2010.

TP1 portable radio-phono combination by Dieter Rams, 1959. Photograph by Koichi Okuwaki.

Rams's design rules can also be seen as the same principles behind ergonomic design. In Ergonomics: Real Design, everyday objects--from a tape measurer to a television remote control--are examined in terms of how their designs improve their functions and the ease of their use. The exhibit also includes prototype designs of everyday objects that highlight the ways in which design can improve individual objects as well as an individual's life. If you liked Gary Hustwit's documentary film Objectified, you'll like this show. Ergonomics: Real Design closes at the Design Museum on March 7, 2010.

The Monza Chair, designed by Konstantin Grcic for Plank.

In the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago is debuting a new exhibition focused on the work of German designer Konstantin Grcic. Titled Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design, the show opens November 20. Grcic is one of the most prolific designers ofour day, creating products and furniture of all sorts and sizes--always harnessing new materials and technologies--for manufacturers around the world, from Moroso to Plank to Vitra to Muji. The exploration of his work will be on display until January 24, 2010.

The 606 Universal Shelving System, designed in 1960 for Vitsœ by Dieter Rams.

Also now on view are Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future at the Museum of the City of New York and Green Furniture Design at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

TWA Terminal, New York International (now John F. Kennedy International) Airport, New York, circa 1962. Photograph by Balthazar Korab. Image courtesy Balthazar Korab, Ltd.

The Saarinen exhibit opened November 10 and features a retrospective of the iconic mid-century Finnish-American architect whose works include the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport (above) and the St. Louis Gateway Arch as well as furniture designs for Knoll, including his Tulip chairs and tables and Womb chair and ottoman. The show runs through January 31, 2010.

Green Furniture Design opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum November 12 and runs through March 14, 2010. The show examines the recent proliferation of sustainable design--works that incorporate recyclable or reclaimed materials, are designed for multiple uses, etc--as well as early products and furnishings that helped pushed green design into the spotlight it occupies today. Examples from contemporary designers include chairs made from wood scraps as well as seating made from recycled clothing, cardboard, and other used materials.

If you know about a great modern art, architecture, or design exhibition or event happening this weekend that should be added to our online Events calendar, submit your suggestion here or add it to the comments section below.


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