My list of Top 5 Wish-I’d-been-there-design-moments

My list of Top 5 Wish-I’d-been-there-design-moments

Some moments you just had to be there. If you could go back in time to see some of the great moments in history of design, when and where would you go? These are my 5 choices.

1. The furniture fair Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan 1981.

On the first day of the fair, the Memphis group came in and blew everybody away with colors and shapes that were meant to shake things up. And the critics either loved it or hated it – and still do so to this day. But it must have been quite a show and the design field was not really the same after it. Imagine walking around all those chairs, lamps and bookshelves that well, just didn’t look like anything ever seen before. It truly was the start of a new era. The founder of Memphis, Ettore Sottsass said this about the movement: “Memphis exists in a gelatinous, rarefied area whose very nature precludes set models and definitions.” As all great revolutionary groups, the band(formed in late 1980) split up in 1988 and they have never reunited.

2. The Milan Triennale 1954

Finland, this small country ravaged by two wars and a staggering national debt had slowly been cultivating a refined movement of handcrafted and industrialized goods. It was beauty in small packages made with finesse and meager means. And they swept the Triannale prize table clean. Sarpaneva, Wirkkala, Franck and Muona to name a few hade selected their most equisite creations and the jury was unanimous. It gave small Finland selfesteem and it was the start of Finnish modernity as we know it.

3. The auction for the interior of Alvar Aalto’s Paimio sanatorium

In the late 40’s they sold a large section of the interior of the sanatorium, which Aalto designed and built 1929-1933. As Aalto’s design was not yet valued as it is today, much of the chairs, stools, beds, lamps, tables and cupboards were sold to the highest unknowing bidders (or in this case low low bidders). The things was also that the people attending the auction were mostly farmers looking for cheap stools and chairs to have in the farming facilities for milking and such. I problaby don’t have to mention that the same pieces of furniture are today sold at Sotheby’s for five figure sums.

4. The first major Bauhaus exhibition in July 1923

Bauhaus
, the higly influental German art school, was founded in 1919 and was finally closed by the nazis in 1933. During the school’s brief existence it shaped virtually all art forms from architecture to industrial design and painting. There were many exhibitions during that time but this one was the first larger showcase of what had been created the first years. Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer were amongs those who later fled Germany. How exiting it would have been to see all the innovative designs and feel functionalism gaining momentum.

5. The Case Study House #8 aka The Eames House December 1949

The design of the house was proposed by Charles and Ray as part of the famous Case Study House program for John Entenza’s Arts & Architecture magazine. The pair were avid travellers and picked up art from all over the world. They filled the house with books, art, exotic furniture and projects in development – just the way I would want my home to be. I believe they moved in to the finished house on christmas eve 1949. It must have been a joyous season.

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