Prédiction at the International Design Biennial in Saint Étienne

5vuesalle525_a79d43cb66.jpgPrédiction was the biggest exhibition of the International Design Biennial in Saint Étienne. Its ambition was to reposition the boundaries of contemporary design, exploring in over 150 artefacts and 2000 m2 the new types, methods, and practices of the discipline.

5palissad5_d18b1cfd89.jpg© Pierre Grasset

SMS Printer, brainwave sofa, amorph objects for lonely people or unpredicted needs. It was so fast, so bright, so ‘finger on the pulse’, i sometimes had the feeling of walking physically inside one of the design blogs dedicated to the chase of the ‘ultimate coolness.’ Not that it prevents the objects exhibited (or the design blogs just mentioned) to have depth and intelligence of course.

5visites7_f4636153eb.jpg© Pierre Grasset

The exhibition space was shaped at the image of a Gallic Village (i kid you not!) half guarded behind high fences.

5vollage2_ef9675b9c2.jpg5chaussor0_afa39b924b.jpg© Pierre Grasset

Curator Benjamin Loyauté had selected both established names and young, still unknown talents from the hundreds of submissions his call for design had gathered. Here is a walk through some of the discoveries i made at the show:

One of the most interesting design projects for me is The T-shirt Issue, by Linda Kostowski, Hande Akcayli and Murat Kocyigit from Marshallah Design. 3 people got their portrait in t-shirt -not ‘on’ a t-shirt. Their bodies were scanned, then turned into a 3D file. Linked with their biographical memories a digital twin of the body was thus created, which expanded and personified the garment. The 3D data then became sewing patterns by the use of the same unfolding function that is used in industrial design to make paper models. The single fabric pieces and the inner interface which defines the edges were cut out by the help of a lasercutter.

w1olflflf.jpgNo 419 – Markus

By hacking a very mundane SNILLE office chair, Sander van Bussel, converted a hyper-impersonal IKEA piece of furniture into the place where the most intimate and personal activities take place.

5gynea981_17a1aaa82b.jpgSander van Bussel, Gynea

I never thought that one of the most memorable designs of the exhibition for me would be a chair. So you get a second image of it.

5gynea69097_d236a74dd0.jpgSander van Bussel, GYNEA

Part of Richard Hutten‘s Playing with Tradition series of oriental rugs, this wool carpet design evokes the time of the good old dial-up modem when images failed to load properly.

richard_hutten_carpet.jpgRichard Hutten, from The Playing with Tradition series, 2008. Photo I+I Milan

China is both the country where many European companies have their products manufactured and one of the largest producers of copied and pirated goods.

7laura0348ed60a62e.jpgLaura Strasser, With Love from China, 2009

Designer Laura Strasser decided to take the copying of her work in her own hands. She found a “business to business platform” and emailed 40 Chinese manufacturers, asking them to copy her physionomy. 31 producers replied immediately. When I described my project in greater detail and gave the quantity and the time-frame, eleven turned down my request because the quantity was too small, four because they only produced tableware, but six agreed emphatically.
The title of my work, and thus of my copy, is taken from the last e-mail from my Chinese copier: “With love from China”, he added when sending me my copy, Made in China.

5withlove43_7c9dc110a0.jpgLaura Strasser, With Love from China, 2009

In the exhibition space, the little porcelain reproductions evoke the soldiers of the Terracotta Army.

5wazzze19379603a.jpg© Pierre Grasset

Union Political Table Radio by Nanar Kradjian symbolizes the political tensions in Lebanon. Up to six people can sit together at the same table, plug headphones in the cube and listen to the political message of their choice since Kradjian’s radio integrates 6 radios, one for each of the main political parties in the country.

5raio47_b49a2e97e7.jpgNanar Kradijian, Union Political Table Radio, 2010 (photo designboom)

Wieki Somers‘s Consume or Conserve? series uses human ashes to create sculptures as different as dung beetles and toasters.

consume1_groot.jpgWieki Somers, Consume or Conserve, 2010

Jo Meesters’ Ornamental Inheritance is a series of sand blasted used ceramics that combine the immediately recognizable delfware ornaments with contemporary symbols, such as airplanes, wind turbine and architecture.

0aasingposotritroi.jpgJo Meesters, Ornamental Inheritance, 2004. Photo: Lisa Klappe

predictioblessn3.jpgBless, Carcover, 2008. Photo: Grégoire Alexandre

I promised myself i would make a pass at the RCA people projects just once but sometimes temptation cannot be resisted:

predictionkoonz9.jpgNoam Toran and Onkar Kular, The MacGuffin Library – Koons Balloon Mold, 2008. © Noam Toran and Onkar Kular, Crédits Photo: Sylvain Deleu

Also Part of the Prédiction exhibition: The House That Herman Built.
Previously: The Fakir’s Rest and other tales of mobility.