16 February 2014

New Olds: Design Between Tradition and Innovation @ Galeri Petronas

Walking around to appreciate “exhibits that explore the relationship between tradition and innovation in contemporary design”, wooden moose heads recall the taxidermy trophies in hunting traditions, also the symbol of a commercially successful design. Pretentious art take the form of foam wardrobes and Bo Reudler Studio's "Slow White" furniture, while beautiful aesthetic that do not forsake function, are seen in chairs that update existing designs. Martino Gampar's and Marten Baas' contemporary interpretations of the Monobloc, attract a Malaysian audience accustomed to this polypropylene outdoor staple. Rattan proves to be an attractive substitute materials used in recreated chairs by Émilie Voirin and Jérôme Nelet, also utilised by Cordula Kehrer for her whimsical "Bow Bins".

Interpretations of the Monobloc at "New Olds"

Farah Azizan from Kedai Bikin seems to be the only local featured designer (or named, at least) in this 3-year old travelling show, dampening the exhibition objective "...to prove how much history -- and in many cases, personal or national history -- informs innovation." According to curator Volker Albus, "good design is all about the important balance between function, configuration, material, stability and the price at the end of the process." Outstanding innovations include Silvia Knüppel’s 'pl(a)ywood' and Richard Hutten's 'Playing with Tradition'. The former allows a multitude of functional configurations within the shape of a classical commode, while the latter employs a deconstructive approach towards oriental rugs, curiously recalling the patterns seen in Ismail Zain's straight-lined works. In the globalised world, what is new elsewhere might already be old news here. And vice versa.

Richard Hutten - Playing with Tradition series

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