With a design festival staged throughout the year in over 100 cities around the world, it’s hard to believe that the Spanish capital of Madrid is only just inaugurating its own.
Launching with the theme of “Redesigning the World,” such a lofty yet optimistic sentiment will hopefully transcend through the exhibitions, installations, events and talks happening across the city throughout February.
Max Fraser shares some of his must-sees from this newcomer on the design festival scene.
Jaime Hayon: From the imaginary to the real
The work of prolific Spanish designer Jaime Hayon has been celebrated across the world but this is the first time he is staging a retrospective on his home soil.
Curated by much-respected local Ana Domínguez-Siemens, this exhibition welcomes you into the optimistic world of Hayon, bringing together some of the works from his signature art installations to charismatic furniture and objects. The aim is to reveal the behind the scenes of Hayon’s practice and celebrate the thinking and processes that go into his playful and often whimsical creations, giving insight into the fantasy worlds that he strives to create.
The Alfaro Hofmann Collection: The household appliances of our life
Braun TP1, 1959, by Dieter Rams.
The design of household appliances has evolved significantly over the course of the 20th century, thanks mostly to technological advances. Of course, beyond functional efficiency, the look and tactility of everything from refrigerators, blenders, toasters and irons to telephones, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and televisions changes considerably in relatively short periods of time.
If you, like me, take offense at the design of kettles, toasters and washing machines today, be revived by this exhibition celebrating the most significant pieces from the collection of Alfaro Hofmann.
Jennifer Steinkamp: Digital nature
Jennifer Steinkamp’s Digital Nature.
Digital Nature is a showcase of five video installations by artist Jennifer Steinkamp, who has generated compositions of trees, stems and flowers that are projected over the room, blurring the architecture and animating the walls.
The works were inspired by Marie Curie, the famous scientist who received two Nobel Prizes for her pioneering research in the field of radioactivity. The artist pays tribute to the scientist’s great passion for plants by rendering over 40 botanical species in her large-scale synchronized projections. The result makes us reflect on the effects that explosions and atomic energy have on nature.
Viva la Diferencia
Fillioux & Fillioux
Another show curated by Ana Dominguez Siemens, Experience the Difference celebrates society’s increasing desire for imperfections and signs of the human touch in our objects.
The exhibition brings together some experimental works from contemporary designers who are interested in moving away from the uniformity of mass-production. Instead, these talents push processes and explore ideas from a conceptual viewpoint and raise questions for debate. The exhibition also shows how these same ideas are now commercialised by companies in response to the consumers’ yearning for an individual identity portrayed through their possessions.
Nacho Carbonell and Cervezas Alhambra: El Patio (The Courtyard)
Eindhoven-based Spanish designer Nacho Carbonell has created an installation designed to serve as a meeting point in the city in collaboration with beer brand Cervezas Alhambras. Due to the brand’s connection to the Alhambra, the designer has taken the Courtyard of the Lions within the Moorish citadel as his inspiration. Slender high-backed chairs support glazed coverings that are made from more than 10,000 melted beer bottles, creating colored light and shadows in an array of geometric decorations.
The installation invites visitors to rest and contemplate during the Festival, preferably with a beer in hand!
Here and out
No design week feels complete without the presence of work by students from the leading design school, Design Academy Eindhoven. Last October, 15 students from the Academy along with 12 students from different design schools in Madrid carried out a workshop searching for a more sustainable future in cities. They undertook their fieldwork within a 1 km radius of the Matadero Madrid and their results are exhibited at this collaborative exhibition.