All posts filed under: Commonplaces

Out of the Lab, In Conversation with Nicolas Henchoz, EPFL+ECAL Lab Lausanne

 Design is an agent of change, which can help us make sense of what is happening and turn it into our advantage. Alice Rawsthorn   Kinga Kowalczyk: Nicolas Henchoz, you’ve had an interesting career path. By training you’re an engineer; you studied material engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and also journalism. You’ve worked as a reporter, art director, writer and curator. In 2007 you founded the EPFL+ECAL Lab, which is “a design lab that explores opportunities and issues related to emerging technologies”. Your mission is to create meaningful design that translates disruptive technologies into a user experience that strives for more than just aesthetics. It’s important to say that the EPFL+ECAL Lab is not an academic laboratory in the traditional sense, and it doesn’t form part of any particular faculty either. It is fostering a relationship between the academic and industrial worlds, partnering technology received from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne with commercial manufacturers. Let’s talk a little about disruptive technologies first. How do you define them? Nicolas Henchoz: I wouldn’t …

REVELATIONS

Do not go outside, return into yourself; it is in the interiority of the person where the truth dwells. –Saint Augustine Human beings are destined for contemplation. –Éric Chenal Revelations is the title of a humble and beautifully executed project and exhibition at the National Museum of History and Art (NMHA) in Luxembourg. In 2013 the museum commissioned Éric Chenal to take pictures during the renovation of the museum’s new wing. Chenal’s photographs depict entrances, windows, walls half covered with paint and markings, and other ordinary objects and parts of the buildings. The colors are muted with occasional bursts of light blue and green, vivid red and orange. Chenal describes his first encounter with the site as challenging. It didn’t have a lot of appeal and he admitted in a conversation we had that he was unable to stay long. He didn’t feel welcome. He would only photograph the buildings when nobody was around and it was quiet, because this was the only way he could enter into dialog with the empty space. But as …

DESIGN CHANGES: POSTSCRIPT

A few days ago I had the chance to talk to Nadine Clemens, the president of Design Friends Luxembourg. We spoke about Resolute–Design Changes, Postscript: Luxembourg and the local design scene. With Resolute exhibition Design Friends celebrates its 5th anniversary. It has always been its mission to invite internationally renowned designers from many fields of design and present their work to the local community. But for some time now the association’s leaders have felt there was something missing in the rich programme they offered every season. In October of last year, during the Night of the Museums, Design Friends presented a portfolio show featuring 100 Luxembourg-based design studios, so now Resolute–Design Changes is accompanied by Postscript: Luxembourg. This addition presents socially involved projects that come from designers who are either based in Luxembourg or have some link to it. Postscript perfectly complemets  the themes chosen for the main show. Two projects that caught my eye were  “A Do Something But Not Anything Manifesto” by Isabelle Mattern and “Jailbird Manual” by Socialmatter. The first is a compilation of questions, keywords and instructions that relate to, among …

DESIGN CHANGES

Existing political, economical, ecological and even social structures are widely questioned. … As a consequence design can no longer only be defined by just technical performance, aesthetics, or creativity. … Dennis Elbers, London Calling, Dee, Issue 3, 2014 It is still quite rare to see a design exhibition in a museum. But thanks to Dennis Elbers and Sven Ehmann’s initiative, and the sensitive approach to design of Nadine Clemens, the president of Design Friends Luxembourg, it is now possible to see Resolute–Design Changes exhibition at the Casino Luxembourg–Forum d’art contemporain. The projects presented in Resolute and Postscript Luxembourg give us insight into how socially responsible designers approach social problems and how they try to solve them on a bigger scale. What’s interesting is that these designers always work in, with and for a community. Their work is no longer just about staging provocations; it is about involvement and finding solution. Design for Social Innovation applies the abilities of talented individuals to collective creativity and to the transformation of complex systems at great scale. In this new role, the designer’s practice takes place not in private studio but …

The Maker Movement

Everything made now is either a replica or a variant of something made a little time ago and so back without break on to the first morning of human time. Georg Kubler, The Shape of Time I have recently seen, long expected, documentary from Mu-Ming Tsai MAKER and it inspired me to have a closer look at the maker movement. I was wondering how and why they became so popular in the US and what are the opinions about the movement outside the makers circle. In this post I gathered quotes from the Form Design Magazine based in Frankfurt, The New Yorker Magazine and MAKER documentary. I also felt Esther Pasztory’s Thinking with Things: Toward a New Vision of Art would give a dipper understanding of the phenomenon. I see the maker movement as a gathering of creative and independent people in action. The makers connect to the physical world around them. They look for self-respect and the possibility to decide for themselves. The makers are not consumers. They are ordinary people who, with some powerful tools at hand, …

Weingart

Typography is not only for reading and must not be a pain. Typography can be a game and a lot of fun. At the beginning of September I went to see Weingart Typografie at the Museum of Design in Zurich. I spent a couple of hours there looking at his work and the work made by his students. And, while I was sketching and taking notes, all of a sudden, Weingart entered the exhibition room and I said hello and he looked at me and asked me if he had taught me… On my way out I bought a copy of 30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discourse  in the Typogrfische Monatsblätter: TM RSI SGM 1960-90 published by Lars Müller Publishers. Typogrfische Monatsblätter was a typographic journal that became a discussion platform for professionals in the field of typesetting and printing. In “Typografie ist eine Kunst für sich” from 1973, Tschichold called typographical game playing a hybrid decadence, stressing that a good typographer, unlike the self-aggrandising graphic designer, never actually feels free, he does not play, but rather follows the considerations of his reason. 30 …

[hlysnan], it is all about listening

[hlysnan] in old English means to listen with intention and attention. The exhibition and the publication titled [hlysnan] The Notion and Politics of Listening prepared by the curators Berit Fischer and Kevin Muhlen for the Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain presents sounds that inspire to reflect on spatial and sociopolitical relations. The selection of recordings presented in the Casino carries meaningful messages that examine usually unexplored territories, like the impact of drone surveillance on civil communities in FATA, the voice as a tool to gain position in society, historical speeches as a source of recreation of history, the concept of mimesis as resistance, etc. As for the publication that accompanies the exhibition, it is a conceptual piece that records some aspects of work made by sound artists who take part in the [hlysnan] project. The book contains, among others, a very interesting essay by Peter Cusack who is a ‘sonic journalist’ and records sounds in dangerous places like Chernobyl. Anther essay worth mentioning is a piece about the linguistic diversity under threat of disappearing by John Wynne. …