round corners


Ausstellungskurator/Exhibition curator:
Atilano González
Kuratorischer Beirat/Curatorial advisory board: archplus Redaktionsgruppe Berlin, Nicole Birlenbach, Susanne Jaschko, Oliver Vogt, Hermann Weizenegger

Opening: 11th May 07, 20h
Contact: Transform-Berlin e.V.
+49 (0)30 28 09 86 87
Location: DESIGNMAI Forum, Spandauer Str. 2
12. – 20. Mai, 10 – 20h

Text: Atilano González-Pérez
Transform-Berlin e.V. is again organising the central DESIGNMAI Forum comprising an auditorium and an exhibition focused on the festival’s main theme: “Digitalability”. A new addition this year is the lounge, inviting exchange and discussion in a relaxed atmosphere beyond exhibition opening hours. Fittingly, the 1.800 sq m space hosting the Forum, in close proximity to Hackescher Markt, was once home to a furniture shop. It is not the first time that the digital theme has been examined within the parameters of the DESIGNMAI festival. One of the most well-known examples is Vogt+Weizenegger’s “Sinterchair”, first introduced at DESIGNMAI in 2003. What was then described as an experiment, however, has now become common practice for a number of designers, as the requisite technologies have become more affordable. The “democratisation” of digital instruments for design and production, as well as new modes of digital communication have impacted on numerous design disciplines in a variety of ways. This year, DESIGNMAI has resolved to examine these changes in detail.
Whilst we will examine specific issues such as mass customisation, Creative Commons, RFID technologies or Second Life in the auditorium programme, the exhibition itself is divided into three broad themes: creation, production and communication, in which particularly interesting examples of the use of digital technology will be presented.
Computers are taken for granted as a tool for design. The use of computers becomes all the more interesting, however, when employed beyond their simple function as a tool. Designers are beginning to modify and script existing programmes, thus enabling an entirely new aesthetic. Another interesting development is demonstrated in the work of designers who are working on new, generative and individually tailored programmes, such as Michael Schmitz. Schmitz’ “GenoTyp” programme regards typeface under genetic aspects and thus creates a generation of new fonts. Digital technology has also given designers the opportunity to record previously intangible perceptions of their environment. This has enabled Geoffrey Mann in “Attracted to Light” to create a lampshade tracing the erratic behaviour of a moth drawn to a light source. Similarly, Marcel Wanders’ “Airborne Snotty Vases’” are based on a 3D scan of microscopic sneezing excretions from the nose. This design strategy allows an ephemeral form to be captured and placed in an entirely new context. The scan data is sent to a 3D printer, where the vase is “printed out” thanks to rapid prototyping technology.

These digital production methods, previously only accessible to large enterprises, are now part and parcel of some designer’s studios. The technology frees the designer of constraints in terms of construction, as objects can now be printed out in one piece. Further, it allows the designer to influence every stage of the process, from the inception of the idea to the end product, and to produce and distribute in small series. This is an increasing trend, and a significant number of designers, such as Assa Ashuach from London have experimented with the rapid prototyping method. Ashuach’s “AI Stool” can be admired in the exhibition. This type of “on demand” production has also been adopted by larger companies, such as Materialise, one of the largest rapid prototyping service providers. The company uses its resources for their own productline, MGX. The exhibition will include several examples of MGX’s latest designs. The products are characterised by their fine and detailed structure, although material and colour range is still restricted. The more digital manufacturing techniques are employed, the more the renaissance of the ornament can be observed, it seems. Time consuming craftsmanship can nowadays be replaced by fast and cost-effective production methods. Tord Boontje, for example, uses digital laser cutting technique and innovative materials in order to express his typical mimicry of nature. His modular „Ivy Panels“are an impressive example.

Digital technologies are increasingly becoming an integral part of products themselves. A product that integrates a chip may not be a novelty, but an increasing interconnectedness is adding new qualities to these products. It has almost become a matter of course that our running shoes communicate with our MP3 player, exemplified in Nike and Apple’s joint venture, “Nike+”. This type of development finds interesting applications in products such as Sebastian Ritzler’s digital white cane, “MYGO”, a dynamic and interactive guidance system for the blind in urban environments, replacing expensive guide dogs. Visitors can look forward to an eclectic composition of innovative interactions between digital technologies and design.

We would like to extend a special thanks to our curatorial advisory team consisting of Susanne Jaschko, Nicole Birlenbach and the Berlin-based editorial staff of archplus magazine.
Digitalability is an exhibition by Transform-Berlin e.V.

Digitalability with exhibits by: Assa Ashuach (IL/GB), Auger-Loizeau Projects (GB), Tomoko Azumi (JP/GB), Büro Destruct (CH), Tord Boontje (NL), Louise Campbell (SE), Robin Carpenter (DE), Designerdeutsch (DE), Elegant Embellishments (GB/DE), Front (SE), FutureFactories (GB), Graft Architects (DE), Greenworks (DE), Bathsheba Grossmann (USA), Martin Güntert (DE), Interaction Design Lab (IT), Theo Jansen (NL), Patrick Jouin (FR), Janne Kyttänen (FI), Alessio Leonardi (IT), Eric Londaits (AR), LTH Lund (SE), Greg Lynn (USA), Geoffrey Mann (GB), Materialise (BE), Luc Merx (NL), NL Architects (NL), NOX (NL), Gabrielle Pezzini (IT), pReview Berlin (DE), Sebastian Ritzler (DE), Markus Schein (DE), Michael Schmitz (DE), Timothy Schreiber (GB), Martin Sobota (NL), Leonardo Solaas (AR), Spielbüro (DE), Vogt + Weizenegger (DE), Carsten Waldeck (DE), Marcel Wanders (NL), Marius Watz (NO)

Ausstellungsdesign/Exhibition design:
Vogt + Weizenegger, Antonia Pehrson
Ausstellungsmanagement/Exhibition management: Sarah Turner