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An Extensive Dieter Rams Exhibit and Highlights from the Kravis Collection. Plus: Can New Yorkers Reclaim their City as an Incubator of Artistic Creativity?

Jumpstart your week with our insider's guide to events in the design world. From must-see exhibitions to insightful lectures and the competitions you need to know about—here's the best of what's going on, right now.


Beazley Designs of the Year

Now in its ninth year, Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff. 

London, UK. On view through February 19, 2017.


Francçoise Grossen Selects

In the 1960s, a time when fiber was still associated with utility rather than fine art, Françoise Grossen rejected the rectilinear loom that constrained contemporary weaving for an intuitive approach to fiber that resulted in the creation of large-scale, suspended rope forms. For this exhibit, Grossen has mined MAD's permanent collection and brought her own rope sculptures together with a selection of work from the museum's unusual collection of baskets, as well as other work in fiber, wood, and metal. 

New York, NY. On view through March 15, 2017.


I Love New York?

Is it possible for New Yorkers to reclaim their city as an incubator of both artistic creativity and social activism in an era of hyper-gentrification, "Brooklyn" as a brand, and over 60 million tourists a year? Listen to former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Lower East Side outlaw artist and activist Clayton Patterson duke it out.

New York, New York. January 11, 2017 at 6:30PM.


Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection

This exhibition features highlights of the Kravis collection dating from the early 20th century to the present. From industrial design and furniture to tableware and textiles, the exhibition makes visual and material connections across time and geography to relate the far-reaching impact of design on the enhancement of daily life.

New York, NY. On view through March 31, 2017.


Dieter Rams. Modular World

Dieter Rams's designs for Braun are legendary, while his ideas about design are more topical than ever today. This exhibition shows Rams's furniture and electrical appliances, supplemented by various documents from the archive and an interview in which Rams explains his designs and his design philosophy. 

Germany. On view through December 3, 2017.


Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy


CELEBRATE is A+D Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles' annual gala that brings together design leaders and creative thinkers from around the world. This year's theme celebrates the museum's recent return to their DTLA roots and will highlight each of the distinct neighborhoods that make up the cultural mecca of Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA. January 14, 2017 at 7PM.

Check out the Core77 Calendar for more design world events, competitions and exhibitions, or submit your own to be considered for our next Week in Design.

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Harvard Publishes Massive, Free Bauhaus Archive Online!

When the Nazis took power in the 1930s, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius wisely, and daringly, escaped to America. Gropius, along with protégé Marcel Breuer, then landed teaching gigs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Harvard subsequently amassed, with Gropius' help, a massive collection of "more than 30,000 [Bauhaus-related] objects, from paintings, textiles, and photographs to periodicals and class notes." And now, thrillingly, they have placed the entire collection online for free public viewing.

Marcel Breuer, Chaise Longue [Isokon Long Chair], 1936
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Coffee and Tea Service: 5-Piece Set, Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Hanna Lindemann, 1924-1925
Peter Weller, Study in Malthess Apartment, Berlin [designer: Gustav Hassenpflug], 1937
László Moholy-Nagy, Light Prop for an Electric Stage (Light-Space Modulator), 1930

Some of the images are of the iconic pieces you've come to expect when "Bauhaus" is uttered, like Breuer's B3, and come with accompanying educational text:

Marcel Breuer, Club Chair (B3), c. 1931
Supposedly inspired by the lightweight and strong bent steel tubing of the bicycle he pedaled around the city of Dessau, Bauhaus student-turned-master Marcel Breuer decided to experiment with the material for furniture. Working with a plumber to bend the tubing into shape for prototypes, Breuer's efforts would result in the iconic 1925 Club Chair (B3), manufactured by Thonet, and still in production today. In the 1920s, the name "club chair" might have connoted a heavy, overstuffed chair in a smoke-filled room, set upon heavy rugs and against thick curtains. Yet Breuer's club chair is physically and visually light, radically reduced to the line of chromed steel tubing and the planes of the textile webbing, clearly separating the hard and soft materials' respective functions as structure and support.

Other images are more surprising. Who knew, for example, that Breuer was also contracted to design dorm furniture for Bryn Mawr?

Marcel Breuer, Dormitory Furniture for Rhoads Hall, Bryn Mawr College: Desk, 1938
Marcel Breuer, Dormitory Furniture for Rhoads Hall, Bryn Mawr College: Chair, 1938

It goes without saying that 30,000+ images is going to take a long time to get through, but we think it's well worth your time to start browsing. If you find any other surprises in the stack, please be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Finally, the Dieter Rams Documentary We've Been Waiting For

Motivated to pass down what he's learned to the future generation of designers, Dieter Rams granted filmmaker Gary Hustwit unprecedented access to him and his archives for two weeks. Hustwit's research will culminate with Rams—the first documentary about the designer who, over the course of his influential career, has designed over 500 products, many of which you've probably owned.

Having already released a much-loved documentary design trilogy with Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized, Hustwit is experienced in creating engrossing narratives that uncover design culture. This time around, Hustwit says: "I'm also interested in exploring the role that manufactured objects play in our lives, and by extension the relationship we have with the people who design them."

A select few of Dieter Rams's designs featured in the Kickstarter campaign

"We hope to dig deeper into Rams's untold story—to try and understand a man of contradictions by design," Hustwit says. Through candid conversations between Hustwit and Rams, the documentary will shed light on his philosophy, process, inspirations, and even his regrets.

"If I had something to do in this world again, I would not want to be a designer. Because I believe, in the future, it will be less important to have many things and more important to exercise care about where and how we live."
Photograph by Abisag Tüllmann

The documentary could not be more timely. In many ways, the ideas that form Rams's design philosophy—developed fifty years ago—resonate now more than ever before, especially when you factor in our current tensions over climate change. "His design philosophy is actually about more than just design—it's about how you live. It's about getting rid of excess and visual clutter and just living with what you need," says Hustwit. It's no surprise then, that Rams's Ten Principles of Good Design remain at the center of today's industrial design education and are frequently cited by some of our most admired designers. In an interview with Hustwit for his 2009 documentary Objectified, Rams revealed:

"I didn't intend these 10 points to be set in stone forever. They were actually meant to mutate with time and to change. But apparently things have not changed greatly in the past 50 years."
Dieter Rams at work at Braun, circa 1970s. Photo by Abisag Tu¨llmann.

When asked how design has changed, if at all, in the past half century, Rams noted that design today has become an inhumane industry marketed as a "lifestyle asset."

"I'm bothered by the arbitrariness and the thoughtlessness with which many things are produced and brought to the market. There are so many unnecessary things we produce, not only in the sector of consumer goods, but also in architecture, in advertising. We have too many unnecessary things everywhere. And I would even go as far as to describe this as inhumane. That is the situation today. But actually, it has always been a problem."
Dieter at Vitsoe London working on a re-design of his 601 chair
Dieter Rams and Mark Adams of Vitsœ , London 2015. Photograph by Gary Hustwit.

It's not just the ideas that continue to strike a chord. The physical products Rams has developed are finding new audiences as he refines his work to be reissued by Vitsœ. Rams's work is also reported to be the inspiration for current Apple products. Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, for Apple has said that "Rams's ability to bring form to a product so that it clearly, concisely and immediately communicates its meaning is remarkable… He remains utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right and so accessible."

Last week, Hustwit launched a Kickstarter campaign which he hopes will "dig deeper into Dieter's untold story—to try and understand a man of contradictions by design." The money raised will go towards finishing the shooting and producing the film, as well as covering archival costs. At press time, the campaign has already exceeded half of its goal: $200,000. The film is expected to debut sometime in 2017.

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The Small NYCxDesign Shows Worth Seeing This Weekend

So it begins... the height of NYCxDesign, and perhaps at its highest ever? 2017's New York May design calendar has turned out to be its most packed yet, and this weekend is the start of the real madness. Beginning this weekend, larger fairs such as ICFF, Sight Unseen OFFSITE and WantedDesign Manhattan will open their doors to the public along with a number of smaller exhibits around the city that are not to be missed. Here's a list of some alternatives to the "big kahuna" shows that you should definitely check out this weekend:

Stephen Burks Debuts Works from his A/D/O Design Residency

A/D/O's first designer in residence, New York based furniture designer Stephen Burks, will debut new pieces in his 'Man Made' collection made during his time in the residency. He will also lead a talk at the Brooklyn Space, speaking to how he's explored the fusion of craft and technology within his recent collection (the exhibition will also include a piece made in collaboration with our Core77 x A/D/O residents byjimmi! Stay tuned).

"Stephen Burks Man Made at A/D/O" takes place Saturday, May 20th 2pm-4pm at 27 Norman Avenue in Brooklyn—RSVP for the event here.

The Strong collection

Tom Strong isn't just any collector. His love for Dieter Rams' electrical products lead him to collect over 250 items within 50 years, including hair dryers, sound systems and a table cigarette lighter. For NYCxDesign, Vitsoe organized around 75 of Strong's objects into a lovely and very personal exhibition showcasing Rams' work over the years through the eyes of a dedicated fan. The exhibition is littered with fun quotes from the collector himself who believes, "the desire to collect is as insidious as marijuana." 

The Strong collection is on view at Vitsoe at 33 Bond Street, runs May3-24 10am-6pm

Open Monday-Saturday (select Sundays only) 10am-6pm

Salvage Lab

An exhibition of works from designers like Fort Makers, Wintercheck Factory and Brendan Timmins—designers who tend to toe the line between art and design—Salvage Lab is an exhibition in Soho worth noting. The motive of Salvage Lab is to breathe new life into reclaimed materials like isolation foam, porcelain and plastic, and the results of this sustainable experiment are just as unexpected as they are beautiful.

"Salvage Lab" at Castle Fitz Johns Gallery, 98 Orchard Street New York, runs May 19-22 10-7 pm.

Sight Unseen Presents

Sight Unseen has helped curate a special event series held at retail spaces and restaurants around Soho. See "millennial pink" in a new light at Drunk Tank Pink, eat pink ceviche inspired by the late architect Luis Barragan at Lalito, check out a new series of ceramic-topped tables on turned-wood legs by Brooklyn ceramicist Natalie Weinberger and more.

Various Soho locations


Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and new Australian design brand SP01 have joined forces to create a concept shop showcasing work from both design teams, along with rugs from CC-Tapis. The space is filled with pink, aqua and tan hued furniture, objects, lighting and rugs that come together to create one harmonious setting. It's tempting to plop down here for the rest of design week.

OVER / UNDER is on display at XOCO 325 at 325 West Broadway, runs April 28-May 31 11am-6pm

Furnishing Utopia

Photo by Charlie Schuck

Furnishing Utopia, an exhibition of objects by contemporary designers honoring the diligent design work of the Shakers, makes it back to NYCxDesign for the 2nd time in a row. This time, they've teamed up with Design Within Reach to display the work in the company's Soho retail space. Along with all the works from their debut 2016 collection, the exhibition includes new works coming from Furnishing Utopia's founders, Oregon-based Studio Gorm, as well as Studio Tolvanen, Tom Bonamici, Anderssen & Voll, Vera & Kyte, Urbancase and more.

"Furnishing Utopia" at Design Within Reach Soho Studio 110 Greene St New York, runs May 20-24.

Culturing Yogurt

MOLD Magazine is celebrating their launch and NYCxDesign with an exhibition featuring five objects found in their first issue, and they're all about yogurt! The magazine on the future of food commissioned designers to reimagine tools for yogurt eating and making within a contemporary context. The five objects will be on display at Canal Street Market during Design Week.

Culturing Yogurt on view at Canal Street Market at 265 Canal Street, runs May 19-22, 11am-7pm 

Lightness: The Full Spectrum 

Colony's current exhibition Lightness: The Full Spectrum explores what "light" is in all its forms and meanings. The delicate show is comprised of work of various mediums and from various designers, all experimenting with light in different and unexpected ways.

Lightness: the Full Spectrum is on display at Colony at 324 Canal Street 2nd Floor, runs through May 24 12pm-6pm

A Design Block Party in Soho

Kicking off this sudden summer weather surprise in New York is the perfect warm weather occasion: the city block party. On Friday, May 19th, Tom Dixon along with Dezeen will be taking over Howard Street in Soho to host a block party featuring drinks, tunes, and an "eye-catching" lighting installation by Dixon. Drinks, sun and design: what more do you need?

Howard Street Block Party takes place Friday, May 19th on Howard St 6pm-late.

Design for Artists, by Artists: MIDTOWN at Lever House

A show bringing together works by famous artists, fashion designers and storytellers, this exhibition of design objects curated by Maccarone Gallery and Salon 94 explores the sometimes blurry boundaries between "art and industry, high and low, fine art, craft, and design." Including works by artists Andrea Zittel, Urs Fischer, Nick Cave and Jessi Reaves, it also features work by unexpected players such as Laurie Simmons (artist and mother of Lena Dunham), fashion designer Rick Owens, and painter Marilyn Minter. "Together, the works on view provoke further questions about value," the press release reads. "If an object does not look slick, fabricated, and over-produced, does it have more integrity? If a work is handmade, is it more or less valuable? The fine lines between art and craft, artist and artisan, fade."

"MIDTOWN" is on display at Lever House 390 Park Avenue, 2nd Floor, May 3-June 9.

Find more NYCxDesign on our handy Design Week Map!

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