Unusual design concepts

Lut Pil, Design Flanders

At the furniture fair in Cologne in 2004 a dual was held between two duos, the Campanas and the Bouroullecs. Brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana from São Paolo and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec from Paris presented their visions of living and life in the future in two major projects. ‘Unusual design concepts’ – that much was clear from their proposals. Their visions – including space for the Campanas for a spontaneous craft-based production using poor materials and, for the Bouroullecs, an unexpected interpretation of functionality (to name but one element each of their much richer design concepts) – are representative of a number of current trends.

This concentration on the handmade and on the reinterpretation of functional implements also indicates, in a non-coercive way, the contours within which the 4th Triennial for design takes place. From the ceramic lights by Jos Devriendt made of porcelain that allows the light to shine through dimly, evoking an atmosphere of candlelight in its small table version, to the playful garden furniture by Dirk Wynants, floating on the water like a huge doughnut. An exhibition that treats you to doughnuts by candlelight.

What do the DoNuts and the series of lamps have in common? Although they have clearly emerged from different design concepts, both are still fairly strange entities in the world of industrial design. The ceramic lights combine traditional associations with industrial production and DoNuts is definitely a very attractive and unusual garden chair (and is rather ‘not done’, which is almost literally indicated in the product’s name: Do Nut – Do Not; the attendant company name ‘Sexy Outstanding Stuff’ plays with all kinds of meanings and abbreviates to SOS). The industrial logic here seems to mesh in a fascinating way with ideas which do not immediately belong – and this is precisely what the 4th Triennial wants to examine: how can non-industrial processes or concepts have a meaningful effect on industrial design in Belgium? Today, as previously, industrial design is not always thought of in purely industrial terms. Designers and companies are open to influences from non-industrial contexts. This non-industrial can be broadly interpreted but is confined here to the crafsmanlike or artistic, where artistic is interpreted both in terms of shape and concept. More on this later.

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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