Salone del Mobile: check in at Hotel RCA

Previously: Salone del Mobile: It’s lamp time, everybody!

The one exhibition not to miss at the Ventura Lambrate area is Hotel RCA. I wish i were not writing so often about RCA but why should i resist when they keep on churning out some of the best projects around.

4524718411_1a4c74e694_b.jpg4524775237_5749bc6e27_b.jpg4524828561_81582998c5_b.jpgValentin Vodev’s Biquattro and Kieren Jones’ Community Commerce

Their exhibition for the Salone del Mobile is called Hotel RCA because it fulfills the functions of a hotel as an organizational structure to exhibit a broad selection of new designs. There’s a reception, a bar, a breakfast room and all kinds of service areas. Hotel RCA was built inside a disused warehouse by the Design Products department, a two-year postgraduate masters course including diverse design approaches -called Platforms- that range from the quirky to the practical and innovative, from the speculative to experiments with materials and techniques. The new Head of the Department, Tord Boontje, has invited alumni to present either the projects they had exhibited at the Summer exhibition last year or the new projects they developed since they had left the College. Damn it was good!

P1070363_2.jpg4524827335_29336b660a_b.jpgMerel Karhof, Wind Knitting Factory, 2009

Merel Karhof‘s Wind Knitting Factory harnesses the power of the wind to activate a knitting machine, right from a free, natural element to a finished product. The machine visualizes directly what you can produce with the present amount of urban wind. Along the façade, the knitwear moves slowly through the window into the building as a long scarf, going faster at high wind speed. Every now and then, the wool is harvested and rounded off in individual labeled scarves. The time to knit one is related to its length, and people will protect their neck from the element that has actually conceived the scarf. Each scarf comes with a label that tells you in how much time it has been knitted and on which date.

aaaaabig (1).jpgShu-Chun Hsiao, Emf Chime, 2010

I probably walked by Shu-Chun Hsiao’s Emf Chime without paying much attention to it. It’s only now that i’m back home and clicking all over the Hotel RCA website that i’m discovering it. The suspended chimes play sound when sensing the electromagnetic field in the air. Movements are made by the invisible force and respond with a harmony sound. Any visitor making a call may trigger the chime, actually feeling the invisible existence of EM fields.

4524779245_c398533002_b.jpg4525406210_2a97b2907a_b.jpgBenjamin Newland, Wearable Sound Systems, 2010

Wearable Sound Systems are part of Benjamin Newland’s reseach on how mobile infrastructures of sound reproduction can open up new ways to perform, and engage with surroundings and the people within them.

0rrrrbig (1).jpgJen-Hui Liao, How to Train a Man to be a Father, 2010

Jen-Hui Liao is not only showing his blockbuster Self-Portrait Machine but also the tongue-in-cheek How to Train a Man to be a Father. During the mother’s pregnancy, a Pavlov’s Dog training principle is applied to help the male partner create an instant response to the baby’s crying in his mind. The machine is radio-linked with a baby doll and wired to a home entertainment system like a TV or PS3. When the doll simulates crying, the trainee must hold and cradle it correctly. Depending on the correctness and reaction time, he will receive levels of rewards as positive reinforcement (they range from one pound coin to a voucher of great sex.) If the trainee ignores the baby’s crying, the machine will shut off the power to the linked TV or PS3 as a negative reinforcement..

Once the baby has been born, the father will be able to react to it correctly.

4524819613_ba68c63ef5_b.jpgGeorgi Manassiev, Washing Machine, 2009

Georgi Manassiev’s washing machine doesn’t just wash clothes, it also aims to bring people together outdoors, by relocating the public laundry in the park. The concept is based on the classical playground seesaw where more than one person is required for it to work. The washing machine uses rainwater and no electricity at all.

4rrr4246_e5c5056aef_b.jpg4525422018_b6fd034034_b.jpgHwang Kim, CCTV Chandelier, 2008 – Ongoing

CCTV chandelier – Virtual Doppelganger Simulator, by Hwang Kim, has a dozen CCTV cameras distributed around the viewer’s face and engineering their experience to show their Virtual Doppelganger in the connected TVs. The system allows the participant to see his/her own body or the surrounding environment from a third person’s perspective. Therefore, the viewer and visitor is displayed as an object in the gallery.

4524814775_347701c2b0_b.jpg4525445874_2db62aabaa_b.jpgSarah Colson, Fungi Furnature / Distortion, 2009/2010

Sarah Colson, Fungi Furnature / Distortion was utterly repulsive to me. Yet, fascinating: Dowel soaked in a mushroom spawn solution, usually intended in domestic cultivation, has been a catalyst for inspirations within this project. The intention is for spawned dowels to be used in furniture construction lending themselves to domestic objects. Due to the nature of cultivating mushrooms the objects will be made from green timber in order for the fungi to have the optimum conditions to grow as it would naturally. Over a period of six months the mushrooms will flourish and the wood will distort, debilitating the object’s initial purpose, but regenerating a new function fit for human consumption. The final transformation will be when the nutrients that the fungi needs are absorbed and its life will cease to flourish. The object will then be given back to nature providing further nourishment for the continued life cycle of future objects.