More stories

  • in

    Għallis exhibition suggests alternative to Malta’s “unstoppable trajectory of hyper-development”

    Valentino Architects and curator Ann Dingli have presented a proposal to retrofit a historic fortification at the Venice Architecture Biennale to suggest alternative methods of conservation in the face of Malta’s rapid development.

    Curated by Dingli, the small-scale exhibition was part of the Time Space Existence showcase and featured an abstracted plan to retrofit the 17th-century watchtower on the north-eastern shore of Malta.
    The Għallis exhibition was presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo by Luca Zarb”The Għallis watchtower in isolation is not remarkably significant – it’s been vacant for years,” Dingli told Dezeen. “But it belongs to a network of micro-fortifications that were built along the edge of the islands in the 17th century and tell a part of the islands’ wider military story.”
    “Today the tower is a marker along the coast and not much more,” she continued. “The point of the exhibition is to re-charge its significance by introducing new usability and graduating it from just a visual landmark to a habitable space.”
    It focused on an abstracted plan to retrofit the 17th-century watchtowerWith its proposal, the team suggests changing the use of the building to create a multi-use structure that can be utilised in numerous ways.

    “The design reverses the exclusive nature of the tower – conceived as a fortress designed to keep people out – to an inclusive building that invites people in,” explained Valentino Architects.
    “Its programme is flexible, adapting to three permutations that allow for varying degrees of private use and public access.”
    The team proposed renovating the towerThe tower was showcased at the biennale to draw attention to a wider issue facing Malta – the commercialisation of its historic buildings.
    The team aimed to demonstrate that historic buildings could be converted into useable structures rather than being restored as empty monuments.
    The Għallis tower was the focus of the exhibition. Photo by Alex Attard”Heritage architecture in Malta has a strong focus on preservation of building fabric and less so on functional innovation,” said Dingli.
    “This means heritage buildings very often serve one programme – usually as museums of themselves or as institutional buildings – and as a result become inaccessible or redundant to everyday use,” she continued.
    “This design moves away from heritage as a product and towards heritage as useful space.”

    Álvaro Siza creates wooden figures for Holy See pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale

    The team hopes that the exhibition will draw attention to the rapid development of Malta, which it says is happening at the expense of the country’s existing buildings.
    “The islands are on a seemingly unstoppable trajectory of hyper-development,” explained Dingli. “Malta is the most densely populated country in the EU, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world.”
    “Its built environment hasn’t met this intensity with the right blend of retrofit and newbuild development – the former exists in extreme scarcity, despite a huge stock of existing building fabric crying out to be re-used in smarter ways,” she continued.
    The team proposed turning into a multi-use spaceAlthough the exhibition focuses on a historic fortification, the team believes that prioritising reuse over rebuilding should be implemented across the country.
    “The argument for conservation needs to be extended to any form of building stock, not just heritage buildings,” explained Valentino Architects.
    “Demolishing existing buildings to make way for new ones is almost never sustainable,” they continued. “When there is no alternative but to remove a building, we need to advocate for dismantling as opposed to demolishing.”
    “Materials such as Malta’s local yellow limestone – which has traditionally carved out the architectural identity of our island – is a finite resource that needs to be both protected and used,” they added.
    Alongside the Għallis exhibition, the Time Space Existence show presented work by architects, designers and artists from 52 different countries in venues across the city. These included a tea house made from food waste and a concrete emergency housing prototype developed by the Norman Foster Foundation and Holcim.
    The photography is by Federico Vespignani.
    Time Space Existence takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023 at various locations across Venice, Italy. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Chair of Virtue presents experimental seating at London Design Festival

    Digitally shrink-wrapped skin, armrests salvaged from parks and “frozen” resin featured in Prototype/In Process, an exhibition of seating presented by virtual magazine Chair of Virtue during London Design Festival.

    Displayed under a railway arch at Borough Yards, Prototype/In Process was made up of 1:1 scale prototypes of chairs, as well as chairs that are still works in progress, by 12 London-based designers who are either established or emerging in their field.
    Prototype/In Process features a chair by Sara Afonso SternbergSara Afonso Sternberg presented sculptural aluminium seating made of armrests salvaged from the middle of public benches in Camberwell. The armrests were originally created to make it difficult for homeless people to sleep or rest on the benches.
    “These objects are given a new form and use, inviting the public to critically engage with control mechanisms such as hostile architecture that permeate the urban landscape,” said Afonso Sternberg.
    Jesse Butterfield created a “frozen” resin pieceAnother piece on display was by Jesse Butterfield. The designer used vacuum infusion, draping and papier-mâché to create a chair covered in resin that was intended to appear “frozen”.

    Various methods of production were showcasedthroughout the show. Daniel Widrig used 3D printing to digitally shrink-wrap a rectangular chair with polylactic acid, a starch-based bioplastic.
    Daniel Widrig used 3D printing for his pieceThe result is a grey-hued chair with an undulating form, which mirrors the shared style of previous blobby stools created by the designer.
    “Its contours mimic the gentle curves and natural irregularities of body tissue, forming intricate folds and wrinkles,” explained Widrig.

    Daisuke Motogi reimagines Alvar Aalto’s iconic Stool 60 a hundred times over

    Thomas Wheller also used aluminium by folding a single piece of the material to create his chair, while Louis Gibson experimented with “regular” construction stock materials by creating casts from disused pipes.
    “I was interested in imagining how these parts could be used unconventionally,” said the designer.
    Thomas Wheller also worked with aluminium”With such large volumes, I was curious to create casts, and then evaluate the internal forms in a new light, and finally address the problem of reassembly,” added Gibson.
    “I chose plaster for the purpose of quick setting, I also felt it was in keeping with the world of builders’ merchants stock supplies.”
    Louis Gibson experimented with salvaged construction materialsWhile the exhibition concluded at the end of London Design Festival (LDF), Chair of Virtue is an ongoing project curated by Adam Maryniak.
    Prototype/In Process was on display on Dirty Lane as part of the annual festival’s Bankside Design District.
    Furniture created from the remains of a single car and a modular display system by Zaha Hadid Design were among the many other projects featured during LDF.
    The photography is courtesy of Chair of Virtue. 
    Prototype/In Process was on show as part of London Design Festival 2023 from 16 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks that took place throughout the week.

    Read more: More

  • in

    “Emerging talents require nurture” says Jan Hendzel

    More can be done to support emerging designers in London says Jan Hendzel, who curated an exhibition focused on emerging talent at this year’s London Design Festival.

    Jan Hendzel Studio curated the 11:11 exhibition, which paired 11 established designers with 11 emerging designers, to draw attention to interesting south London designers.
    The 11:11 exhibition (top) was curated by Jan Hendzel (above)”Our emphasis was on creating a platform to support the grassroots and emerging creators of south London,” Hendzel told Dezeen.
    “By forging new relationships and connecting the established design industry with up-and-coming makers, 11:11 aims to create a more inclusive and diverse future in design.”
    Bowater drawers by Jan Hendzel Studio with Column I by Alison Crowther and Argentus by Dominic McHenry and Untitled Ceramic tiles by Carl Koch on wallFor the exhibition, 11 established designers – A Rum Fellow, Alison Crowther, Charlotte Kingsnorth, Daniel Schofield, Grain & Knot, Jan Hendzel Studio, Martino Gamper, Novocastrian, Sedilia, Simone Brewster, Raw Edges – each displayed their work alongside an emerging designer selected from an open call.

    The emerging designers showcased were Alice Adler, Carl Koch, Dominic McHenry, Jacob Marks, Mariangel Talamas Leal, Moss, Silje Loa, Söder Studio, Unu Sohn, William Waterhouse and Woojin Joo.
    The Wrong Tree Picture Frame and Mirror by Charlotte Kingsnorth behind Thoroughly Odd by Woojin JooHendzel believes that events like LDF can create space for emerging talents to showcase their work, but often focuses on university-educated designers.
    “The importance of offering a platform to emerging talent, especially that of grassroots and local level creatives, is to offer empowerment and to demonstrate that design is a profession that can offer meaningful and exciting careers,” he said.
    Lupita Lounge Chair by Mariangel Talamas Leal alongside Periscope Rug by A Rum Fellow and BUTW Floor Lamp by Charlotte Kingsnorth”When the design festival rolls into town, yes, I believe we do have platforms for emerging creatives; however, one big issue is that design shows can be cost-prohibitive and often focus on university-educated people, which by default puts the profession at the more elitist end of things,” he continued.
    “If you don’t have cash or a degree then finding a platform to celebrate your ideas can be difficult.”
    A Martino Gamper chair alongside with F2 Dice and F2 Line by Moss on plinth by Jan Hendzel Studio.He believes that LDF and others can do more to support emerging talents, and suggests that providing free space for exhibitions and installations would be a way of doing this.
    “Emerging talents require nurture, they require safe places to practise their respective disciplines and they require opportunities for growth through connections and collaborations with established practitioners to elevate their craft,” he explained.
    “A great opportunity would be to find and offer more free spaces to emerging groups, alongside bursaries and support packages in how to promote your event and develop your respective craft within a design district.”
    Sculptural wall hangings by Grain & Knot with Pina Lamps by Jacob MarksThe exhibition, which is taking place at Staffordshire St gallery in Peckham, includes numerous pieces of furniture with chairs designed by Gamper and Leal, as well as drawers by Jan Hendzel Studio and Crowther.
    Sedilia’s contribution was a Roll Top Chair and Roll Top Ottoman.

    IKEA and H&M’s design incubator unveils products by 22 emerging London studios

    The exhibition also include mirrors designed by Jan Hendzel Studio, Novocastrian and Kingsnorth, and clothing by Soeder.
    Also on display were lights by Schofield and by Marks.
    The Port Free Mirror by Novocastrian alongside the Roll Top Chair and Roll Top Ottoman by Sedilia with Song 1 Awe-to Series by William Waterhouse hanging from ceiling and Draped in Wood by Silje Loa on a plinthAnother exhibition showcasing the work of emerging designers at LDF was Drop02, which contained work from IKEA and H&M’s Atelier100 design incubator.
    Other projects currently on display as part of the festival include a prototype modular furniture system by Zaha Hadid Design and furniture by Andu Masebo crafted from a scrapped car.
    Smock 01 by Addison Soeder behind Landmark Coffee Table and Side Table with Ray Lamp by Daniel SchofieldThe photography is by BJ Deakin Photography.
    The 11:11 exhibition takes place 16-24 September at the Staffordshire St gallery as part of London Design Festival 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Kustaa Saksi creates vivid oversized tapestries to explore “reality and illusion”

    Multidisciplinary designer Kustaa Saksi has unveiled In the Borderlands, an exhibition of jacquard textiles at the Helsinki Design Museum, which includes pieces featuring scenery generated by AI software.

    Conceived as objects that straddle both art and design, Saksi’s large-scale textiles were hung from the ceilings and arranged across various rooms within a gallery at Helsinki’s Design Museum.
    Ideal Fall is a duo of tapestries featuring AI-generated imageryTo create his pieces, the designer uses jacquard weaving – a technique invented in 1804 where patterns are woven with yarn using a loom to create a textile, rather than printed, embroidered or stamped onto fabric.
    Ideal Fall is a series of two oversized tapestries featuring bright and abstract forms depicting waterfall- and plant-style forms.
    Kustaa Saksi also created a series exploring migrainesSaksi created the colourful duo of textiles using AI software, which he instructed to generate images that would depict “ideal” scenes of nature. The designer then picked his favourite suggestions and used the imagery as a stimulus for the tapestries’ patterns.

    “The exhibition explores moments between reality and illusion, which are the starting point for many of Saksi’s works,” said the Design Museum.
    The tapestries were suspended from the ceiling at the Design MuseumMigraine Metamorphoses is another series of textiles featuring similarly bold designs, which Saksi created to refer to the various phases of migraines – intense headaches that the designer has suffered since the age of seven.
    According to the museum, the soft texture of the textiles intends to “mitigate the painful subject matter”.
    Monsters and Dreams is a series informed by stories about hallucinationsOften influenced by the boundaries between dreams and imagination, Saksi’s first-ever tapestry series was also on show at the Design Museum.
    Called Monsters and Dreams, it is characterised by striking patterns that take cues from hallucinations experienced by one of the designer’s family members. These textiles were draped across or hung from the ceiling of a single room with dark blue walls, which had been painted to enhance the pieces’ dramatic theme.

    Stockholm Furniture Fair installation by Gert Wingårdh and Kustaa Saksi

    Saksi has created his pieces in collaboration with Dutch studio TextileLab since 2013.
    “The jacquard technique can be referred to as one of the early precursors to the computer,” said the Design Museum.
    “It was the first mechanised technique which enabled the transfer of information about a particular pattern to a weaving machine with the help of a punched cylinder, to eventually become a piece of textile.”
    The exhibition is on display in Helsinki until mid-OctoberThroughout the gallery, the textiles were illuminated with controlled levels of lighting in order to preserve their appearance, according to the museum.
    In the Borderlands is on display until 15 October as part of the museum’s 150th-anniversary programme. Elsewhere at Helsinki Design Week, designer Didi NG Wing Yin presented a series of amorphous timber furniture while last year’s edition of the event featured projects including plant-based textiles.
    The photography is by Paavo Lehtonen.
    Helsinki Design Week takes place from 8 to 17 September 2023 in Helsinki, Finland. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Gallery Fumi marks 15th anniversary with design exhibition informed by biology

    To celebrate 15 years of Gallery Fumi, the London gallery is hosting the Growth + Form exhibition of “functional art”, featuring sculptural furniture and lighting with organic forms.

    The Growth + Form exhibition includes new works by 16 of the 28 past Gallery Fumi exhibitors, responding to themes of transformation, regeneration and biological growth patterns.
    The Growth + Form exhibition celebrates Gallery Fumi’s 15th anniversaryIt was designed by architectural designer Leendert De Vos and curated by design historian Libby Sellers, who invited former exhibitors back to showcase new pieces in a group display.
    The exhibition title and theme were informed by the On Form and Growth book by Scottish biologist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, which analyses the mathematical harmony of growing shapes in biology.
    Pieces in the exhibition were informed by biologyResponding to this biological starting point, furniture and lighting with organic shapes and natural materials can be seen throughout the exhibition.

    Danish artist Stine Bidstrup created a sculptural chandelier titled Light Entanglements, made up of twisting clusters of hand-blown glass.
    Light Entanglements is a chandelier made from hand-blown glassDifferent lengths of painted sticks were combined to create Marmaros Metamorphosis II, a circular decorative wall piece with a textured, tufted-like surface by sculptor Rowan Mersh.
    “Revisiting the very beginning of his career when Mersh used cheap materials to experiment with techniques, in this work using lacquered coloured sticks, he creates forms with the details and skill level he currently attains when using precious materials,” said Gallery Fumi.
    Seating crafted from a single yew log is featured in the exhibitionAs the gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary, Sellers likened its growth to the formation of crystals – the material traditionally associated with 15-year anniversaries.
    “Grown from small particles into a solid form of geometric beauty, crystal is both a poetic metaphor for Gallery Fumi’s own development over the last 15 years and an opportunity to explore the creative affinity between science, art, and the intricate nature of constructions,” said Sellers.

    Lara Bohinc designs Jesmonite lighting collection to look like unearthed relics

    “After all, is this not a definition of design? The meeting of knowledge, form-making, material exploration and beauty?” Sellers added.
    “The works are vibrant and active – sprouting, swirling, twisting, turning – transferring material and form into objects of beauty.”
    Wegworth created a crystal salt vase for the exhibitionAlso on show was a wooden cabinet covered in hand-painted shingles by Berlin-based designer Lukas Wegwerth, who also created a crystal salt vase titled Crystallization 183.
    “Crystallization 183 was identified by Sellers as most significant for the exhibition, as not only is the 15-year anniversary traditionally celebrated with crystal, but the process of growing the crystals is a poetic metaphor for Fumi’s growth as a gallery,” Gallery Fumi said.
    The wall sculpture Marmaros Metamorphosis II has a tufted textureOther pieces on display include a sculptural copper floor lamp with a stone base by London design studio JamesPlumb and a chair by British designer Max Lamb crafted from a single yew log.
    “Tapping into the creative affinity between science and art, the pieces created for the show will display fluid organic forms, natural materials and geometric structures,” said Gallery Fumi.
    The exhibition is on display from 7 to 30 SeptemberOther designers showing work include US sculptor Casey McCafferty, Italian designer Francesco Perini, design studio Glithero, Chinese material designer Jie Wu, German ceramic artist Johannes Nagel, Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi, British artist Leora Honeyman, Spanish artist Saelia Aparicio, British artist Sam Orlando Miller, design studio Study O Portable and furniture design studio Voukenas Petrides.
    Gallery Fumi was founded in 2008 by Valerio Capo and Sam Pratt. It has previously showcased work including a Jesmonite lighting collection by British designer Lara Bohinc and a limited-edition bench by JamesPlumb made using medieval dying techniques.
    The photography is courtesy of Gallery Fumi.
    The Growth + Form exhibition is on display at the Gallery Fumi in London, UK, from 7 to 30 September 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Frederik Molenschot presents debut solo sculpture show at Carpenters Workshop Gallery

    Sculptures crafted from recycled BMW airbags and oak railway sleepers feature in artist Frederik Molenschot’s Atlas 2000 exhibition, which is on display at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris.

    Marking the Dutch artist’s first solo exhibition, Atlas 2000 features hand-sculpted works that are directly influenced by natural landscapes, Molenschot said.
    The show’s title refers to the visual diary the artist has created since his studies at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2000.
    Buoy Airbag is a sculpture made from recycled BMW airbagsSpread across the minimalist ground floor at the Paris branch of Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the sculptures were crafted from various materials and range from functional to abstract.
    Buoy Airbag is an amorphous, pale blue-hued hanging sculpture created from recycled airbags sourced from BMW vehicles.

    Frederik Molenschot’s debut solo show is on display at Carpenters Workshop Gallery”The piece delves into the intricate connection between cargo transport and climate change, with recycled airbags symbolising a melting arctic ice rock floating in the sea,” the artist told Dezeen.
    “I want to explore how luxury materials are used and how they become what they are,” he added. “[So] I processed the used airbags in a ‘couture’ way, to get a very high-quality finish.”
    Gingerblimp is a bronze LED light sculptureMolenschot also designed Gingerblimp, a bulbous bronze LED light sculpture characterised by a silver patina and a gold-brushed interior.
    The artist explained that the sculpture is a playful take on ginger root from the natural world and also nods to the manmade blimps that form part of New York City’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.
    Recycled oak railway sleepers were salvaged to create furnitureRecycled oak railway sleepers were salvaged to create a chunky dining table and chair, which were named Bridge Beat to “pay homage to the captivating structure of bridges”.
    Also part of this series is a black bronze desk and chairs formed from gridded lines arranged in triangular formations.

    Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents design exhibition on heritage, place and identity

    “Each material was selected purposefully, offering unique properties and textures that complement the conceptual aspects of the artworks,” explained Molenschot.
    “Every piece is hand-sculpted in our studio.”
    Molenschot also created oversized clothingAccording to Molenschot, the pieces’ forms vary as much as their material palettes. In one corner of the gallery, a bobbly bronze glove was positioned underneath a branch-shaped textured lamp while oversized clothing also features in the exhibition.
    “This solo show holds a special place in my heart, as it represents my entire artistic journey since my time at the Academy,” reflected Molenschot.
    “It’s an invitation to explore my vision of our world. My ‘atlas’ is a compendium of research, pictures, designs, and sketches that have shaped me as an artist.”
    The exhibition runs until mid-SeptemberKnown for his large-scale bronze sculptures, Molenschot has been represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery since 2008. The galley, which also has locations in London and the US, previously exhibited an all-denim furniture show by designer Harry Nuriev.
    The late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld also debuted his first sculpture exhibition at the Paris branch.
    Atlas 2000 is on display at Carpenters Workshop Gallery from 1 June to 16 September 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Chicago exhibition by Norman Kelley includes Frank Lloyd Wright building fragments

    Fragments of buildings by American architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan have been displayed at a new exhibition in Chicago by US design studio Norman Kelley

    A variety of fragments from iconic buildings are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of a permanent exhibition called Architectural Fragments from Chicago.
    Norman Kelley has created an exhibit of architectural fragmentsNorman Kelley mounted multiple pieces of demolished or renovated Chicagoan buildings onto square grey panels measuring eight feet by eight feet (2.4 metres by 2.4 metres) with stainless steel, mirrored trim in the museum’s Henry Crown Gallery.
    The exhibition includes approximately 27 architectural fragments and three lightboxes.
    The exhibit features pieces of notable Chicago buildingsThe pieces displayed are sourced from local, architecturally significant buildings in order to illustrate and preserve Chicago’s built history.

    “Architectural fragments are part of a material history that speaks to past building practices, changing neighbourhoods, and evolving ways of life,” said the studio.
    “Recuperated from demolished or renovated buildings, these pieces of facades or interiors help preserve the memory of architecturally or culturally significant structures long after their physical presence has been erased.”
    Cornices, gates and other architectural stone and ironwork were mounted on grey panelsArchitectural elements such as sections of cornices, wall panels, an elevator grille and a column are displayed.
    The fragments were mounted across the space from a large stained glass window that is a part of the same exhibit.

    Norman Kelley remodels Chicago apartment to showcase chair collection

    Also among the pieces are an ornate circular ventilator grille and entrance door from Frank Lloyd Wright’s four-storey Francis Apartments, built in 1895 and demolished in 1971.
    Both fragments display Wright’s early use of organic forms, informed by his mentor Louis Sullivan.
    The displays include work by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. Top right: Facade Panel from the National Pythian Temple by Walter T. Bailey. Top left: Facade Panel from the Jordan Building by John N Coleman. Bottom right: Floor Tiles from the Mecca Apartment Building by Edbrooke and Burnham. Bottom left: Balcony Railing Section from the Mecca Apartment Building by Edbrooke and BurnhamA cast iron cornice section and spandrel panel from Sullivan’s Gage Building, one of his last to be commissioned in Chicago, are also included. Both feature plant shapes and organic, curving lines.
    Works from other architects include a facade panel from the National Pythian Temple by Walter T Bailey and a colourful section of floor tiles from the Mecca Apartments by Edbrooke and Burnham.
    The fragments were “recuperated” from historical buildings. Top left: Frieze Section from the Rothschild Store by Adler and Sullivan. Top Right: Newel Post from the Morris Selz House by Adler and Sullivan. Bottom left: Spandrel Panel from the Rosenfeld Building by Alder and Sullivan.Lightbox installations include a geometric stained glass window from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley Playhouse and the Tiffany Studios 1917 Hartwell Memorial Window that depicts a sprawling landscape of over 48 panels.
    “While this installation represents many works by Chicago’s celebrated modern architects, other fragments come from buildings by lesser-known designers who were equally important in shaping spaces of activism, community, creativity and labor in our dynamic metropolis,” said the studio.
    The fragments have been catalogued as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
    An iron gate and ventilator grille from Wright’s Francis Apartments were includedNorman Kelley is based in Chicago and New Orleans and was founded by Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman in 2012.
    Elsewhere in Chicago, the studio recently completed an apartment renovation for a diverse collection of chairs and refreshed the lobby of a postmodern skyscraper.
    The photography is by Nathan Keay.
    Architectural Fragments from Chicago is on show at the Art Institute of Chicago permanently. For more exhibitions, events and talks in architecture and design, visit Dezeen Events Guide.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Forma is a nomadic design gallery popping up around Berlin

    Contemporary German furniture designs are displayed alongside vintage pieces at this travelling gallery that multidisciplinary designer Vanessa Heepen has launched in Berlin.

    Rather than having a permanent home, Forma will take over different locations across the German capital.
    Forma’s first exhibition was held in a building next to the Spree riverThe gallery’s inaugural exhibition, titled The Room I Walk the Line, was recently on show on the ground floor of a mixed-use building in Friedrichshain, nestled in between fragments of the Berlin Wall on the banks of the river Spree.
    “To be honest, the area is not where I would typically choose to open a gallery,” Heepen told Dezeen. “But when I first saw a picture of it on a real estate website, I was deeply touched by its huge windows, red columns and by the water, of course.”
    It featured German designers including Nazara Lázaro (left) and Studio Kuhlmann (top right)A trained interior designer, Heepen largely left the space in its found state but worked with her team to create a simple mahogany bar counter and storage unit for the gallery.

    She also asked “soft architecture” studio Curetain to create a white latex screen for the corner of the gallery.
    As part of the exhibition, this served as the backdrop for a tall white spectator shelf by Stuttgart-based Freia Achenbach, along with a graphic white stool by local designer Nazara Lázaro.
    This wiggly coat stand was mong the vintage pieces featuredOther pieces in the exhibition included a pigmented concrete chair by Carsten in der Elst and hanging metallic stars by Studio Kuhlmann, both from Cologne, as well as a translucent shelf by Berlin’s Lotto Studio.
    Forma also sourced a number of vintage pieces from Moho – a 20th-century furniture showroom in Prenzlauer Berg – among them an embossed metal cabinet and a wriggly coat stand.

    Herzog & de Meuron’s Museum of the 20th Century an “environmental disgrace” say critics

    One of Heepen’s main motivations for founding the gallery was to carve out a space for showcasing design-led furnishings in Berlin, which she says is something of a rarity in the German capital.
    “It is a discursive topic, and people have always been unsure about the success of it,” she explained. “After Forma’s first edition, I am glad to say it was hugely successful”.
    Contemporary design pieces included a translucent shelf by Lotto StudioThe designer is currently on the hunt for Forma’s next location and will let the new setting inform her selection of furnishings.
    “I’m always open to something new that occurs within the process,” she said. “I hold on to my vision, but I am also open to taking a detour.”
    Also featured was a pigmented concrete chair by Carsten in der ElsElsewhere in Berlin, Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is currently constructing a major new museum for modern art.
    The building’s design came under fire at the end of last year, when it was discovered its complex air conditioning system would result in the venue using four times as much energy as a nearby museum from the 1800s.
    The photography is by Matthias Leidinger. 
    The Room I Walk the Line was on show at Mühlenstrasse 63 in Berlin from 15 June to 15 July 2023. For more exhibitions, events and talk in architecture and design, visit Dezeen Events Guide.

    Read more: More