Friday, July 31

A bigger better and stronger FIAC this year..........

The 36th edition of FIAC reasserts the strengths of the fair’s identity: its position in the heart of Paris, the close ties it maintains with the protagonists of the Parisian art scene; its generalist vocation manifested in the presentation of a balanced panorama of modern art, contemporary art and cutting edge creation; its focus on different facets of artistic activity, notably by means of the in-situ projects presented in the Tuileries Gardens and in the cycle of artists’ performances presented in collaboration with the Auditorium of the Louvre Museum ; and its constantly reiterated ambition to reinforce both the selection of the exhibiting galleries and the quality of the artworks on view. Situated at each extreme of the chronological spectrum covered by the fair, FIAC 2009 is distinguished by two important initiatives:

At the Grand Palais, a joint presentation of modern masterworks, presented by - and on the initiative of - a group of 10 of the leading international galleries in this field.

At the Cour Carrée of the Louvre, a new sector bringing together 14 international galleries, remarkable for the quality of their prospective programmes.

FIAC 2009 brings together 196 modern and contemporary art galleries, from 21 different countries. 75 galleries or 39 % are from France; next is Germany with 21 galleries, the United States with 18 galleries, Italy with 16 galleries, and Belgium with 14 galleries…. Newly represented countries include Finland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. 61 galleries are exhibiting at FIAC for the first time.

In the coming days, this list will be enriched by the names of the galleries chosen to exhibit in FIAC 2009’s design sector (my personal favourite). Introduced in 2004, FIAC was the first art fair in the world to integrate a design sector. Reposing on reinforced selection criteria, the 2009 FIAC design section will feature 6 galleries of modern and contemporary design exhibiting in the Grand Palais.

The Prix Lafayette and the Subsidized Section
FIAC and its official partner, the Groupe Galeries Lafayette, launch a programme of support for emerging galleries. This programme brings together 14 galleries at the Cour Carrée. The participating galleries were selected by a jury composed of Christine Macel (Centre Pompidou - Paris), Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery - London) and Marc-Olivier Wahler (Palais de Tokyo - Paris) for the quality of their prospective exhibitions programmes, and on the basis of a specific project for FIAC comprising between one and three artists.

This programme provides for significant financial support towards the participation of each of the selected galleries in FIAC 2009, and the creation of the Prix Lafayette, a new award developed by the Groupe Galeries Lafayette to recompense one of the artists presented by the galleries of the subsidized sector The announcement of the 2009 winner of the inaugural Prix Lafayette will take place on October 21st. The prize consists in the acquisition of a work by the Groupe Galeries Lafayette and an exhibition scheduled for 2010 in a major Parisian institution, doted with a budget for the production of new works.

This programme underlines the joint desire of FIAC and the Groupe Galeries Lafayette to stand beside the actors of the emerging art scene in its international dimension, and to propose tangible support. For FIAC, this initiative responds to a desire to reaffirm our implication with regard to the prospective dynamic of younger galleries, and to pursue this in a reinforced manner despite the difficulties of the economic context. For the Groupe Galeries Lafayette, this involvement is inscribed in the framework of a global context of support developed by the group, comprising decisive contributions in each of the successive phases of creation (production, exhibition and diffusion) for which these galleries are essential actors.

The 14 selected galleries are: Balice Hertling (Paris), Catherine Bastide (Brussels), Lucile Corty (Paris), Ellen de Bruijne (Amsterdam), Vilma Gold (London), Herald Street (London), Hotel (London), Iris Kadel (Karlsruhe), Karma International (Zürich), Monitor (Rome), Motive Gallery (Amsterdam), Nogueras-Blanchard (Barcelona), Schleicher&Lange (Paris).

The Modern Project
FIAC 2009 is honoured to present an unprecedented project resulting from the collaboration of 10 of the world’s most prestigious galleries specialising in modern art, most of which have never previously exhibited at FIAC. Presented in a space of approximately 300m2 designed by the architect Jean-François Bodin (reputed for his work at the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine) and situated in the heart of the Grand Palais, each gallery will exhibit two or three exceptional works from the modern period, composing an ensemble of approximately twenty works of undisputed museum quality and historic significance.

The participating galleries are: Acquavella Galleries (New York), Thomas Amman (Zürich), Galerie Beyeler (Basel), Galerie Louis Carré (Paris), Gagosian Gallery (New York – Los Angeles – London –Roma), Richard Gray (New York, Chicago), Galerie Krugier & Cie (Geneva – New York), L&M Arts (New York), Malingue (Paris), and PaceWildenstein (New York).

This initiative, which constitutes a world première, responds to the desire to reaffirm and highlight the essential role of leading dealers in the historiography, exhibition and negotiation of modern masterworks.

At The Grand Palais
115 galleries are presented at the Grand Palais, 30 of which are new exhibitors. In addition to the galleries participating in the Modern Project, listed previously, the new arrivals are: Anhava (Helsinki), Guido W. Baudach (Berlin), Daniel Buchholz (Berlin), Pilar Corrias (London), Gabinete de Arte Raquel Arnaud (Sao Paulo), Klosterfelde (Berlin), Magazzino d’Arte Moderna (Rome), Minotaure Galerie (Paris), Mitchell-Innes&Nash (New York), Jan Mot (Brussels), Skarsdtedt Gallery (New York), Sprüth Magers (Berlin, Cologne, London), The Approach (London), Thomas (Munich), Toninelli (Monaco), Thomas Zander (Cologne). Claude Bernard (Paris), Jean Brolly (Paris), Ditesheim (Neuchâtel), Martine and Thibault de La Châtre (Paris), Catherine Issert (St-Paul de Vence) are returning to FIAC.

Among the many exciting exhibition programmes announced by the galleries, of particular note are the numerous special projects, solo and thematic exhibitions which will be on view: Noteworthy solo presentations include Tony Cragg at Buchmann, George Condo at Simon Lee, Rachel Whiteread at Luhring Augustine, Balla at Toninelli, Peter Blake at Claude Bernard, Erwin Blumenfeld at Minotaure, Gérard Deschamps at Martine and Thibault de la Châtre, John Armleder at Catherine Issert…

Among the thematic presentations, Tournabuoni will present a panorama of 20th century Italian art spanning from the Futurist period to Boetti, including works by de Chirico, Fontana and Manzoni among others; Gabinete de Arte Raquel Arnaud (Brasil) and Oriol and Guillermo de Osma (Spain) will present likewise present specific points of view on the historic movements of the 20th century: Henze&Ketterer will present a focus on early twentieth century German expressionism and Nathalie Seroussi will present an exhibition of ‘moving machines’ including works by Picabia, Tinguely, Takis, Calder and Pol Bury....

Equally worthy of note is the presentation of exceptional works by Pierre Soulages at Applicat Prazan and Karsten Greve; Krisztov Wodiszko at Gabrielle Maubrie, Sarkis at Jean Brolly….

One of the characteristic traits of the 36th edition of FIAC is the choice that many galleries have made to co-curate shared booths featuring special projects: For example, at the Grand Palais, JocelynWolff & gb Agency; Kamel Mennour, Jan Mot & Johann Koenig; Isabella Bortolozzi & Daniel Buchholz; Bortolami & The Approach…

Thursday, July 30

Design High

In partnership with Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Louise Blouin Foundation in London presents a group exhibition of design art with works by Atelier van Lieshout, Drift, Ingrid Donat, Joris Laarman, Lionel Scoccimaro, Marc Quinn, Mathieu Lehanneur, Pablo Reinoso, Rainer Splitt, rAndom International, Robert Stadler, Sebastian Brajkovic, Thierry Dreyfus, Vincent Dubourg and Wendell Castle.

VernissageTV attended the opening reception and spoke with the curator of Design High, Natalie Kovacs. In this video, Natalie Kovacs talks about the title and the concept of the exhibition, the convergence of design, art and architecture, and specific works like Atelier van Lieshout’s Wombhouse and Mahieu Lehaneur’s Local River.

Design High / Louise Blouin Foundation, London. Interview with curator Natalie Kovacs and atmospheric shots from the opening reception. June 24, 2009. Design High runs until August 30, 2009.

it's a small world

it's a small world explores New Craftsmanship in Danish design, architecture and craft. With focus on future design practice, human scale and sustainability, the exhibition challenges the traditional role of the designer. Six interdisciplinary scenarios seek a new relevancy for design - in the world.
it’s a small world will be showing at Danish Design Center Aug. 27. 2009 – Jan. 31. 2010 and will subsequently visit museums in Europe and USA.

Wednesday, July 29

Yesterday barcode is today bokode

MIT researchers have developed a new standard, called Bokode, which would enable you to use your phone to access a slew of info about a product on the shelf. The system was invented by a team led by Ramesh Raskar of the MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture group, who'll be presenting next month in New Orleans at SIGGRAPH (the leading confab for display technology and interface design). Rather than being a simple flat image, like a barcode or a QR code, it uses a light beam, whose brightness and angle are encoded with information. The tag itself is tiny--about the size of the @ symbol in a keyboard. But it contains thousands of bits of data. Currently, the tags comprise a lens and an LED-light source, and each one costs $5. But the price should fall below a nickle a pop, by using holograms of the sort you see on credit cards. Rather than requiring a special laser for reading, the Bokode can be read by any digital camera, and from several feet away. Via MIT press release

Monday, July 27


MoMA’s site now creates a list of the most interesting upcoming exhibitions for you based on your Facebook profile (accessed by Connect). It’s an interesting concept, but I’m not entirely convinced that my Facebook contains data that is particularly conducive to art recommendations..?

Saturday, July 25

Telling Tales

The Fig Leaf wardrobe, 2008. Designed by Tord Boontje © Meta.

A new series of biennial design symposia at the V&A invites some of the most influential contemporary design practitioners and commentators to discuss current concerns in furniture design. Speakers at the first symposium, 'Furniture Futures', include Sebastien Bergne, John Cederquist, Thomas Heatherwick, Lois Le Gaillard, Chris Lefteri, Amanda Levete and Alexander Payne.

The symposia will provide a platform for established and emerging designers, makers, architects, interior designers, collectors and design commentators to discuss and debate contemporary themes and issues in furniture design. Speakers will explore furniture as an expression of contemporary culture and consider issues related to both the future of design and the practicalities of furniture making.

The first symposium will explore a growing interest in furniture that crosses the boundaries between art, craftsmanship and design. Topics raised will include furniture as art; the role new materials and sustainability in design; and the parts that individual creativity and collaboration play.

The programme will be structured around three main themes: Creative Directions; Changing Practice; and Promotion and Communication. Speakers will include designer Thomas Heatherwick; fine art furniture maker John Cederquist; furniture and industrial designer Sebastien Bergne; materials specialist Chris Lefteri; design writer and professor of design at the RCA Jeremy Myerson; dealer and gallerist Lois Le Gaillard; contemporary design collector and author Alexander Payne.

Delegates of the symposium will also be given a curator guided tour of Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design (13 July - 18 October 2009), the V&A's summer exhibition which explores the recent trend among European designers for limited edition pieces that push the boundaries between art and design. The symposium is also part of the 2009 London Design Festival, which will be held at the V&A for the first time this year.

John Makepeace
John Makepeace has been designing and making furniture professionally since 1959. His furniture is sought after for public and private collections in the UK, Europe and the United States. He founded and directed Parnham College from 1976-2001, when the new campus at Hooke Park was amalgamated with the Architectural Association.


Voici les premières images du Cool Cats Yellow Pop Up Shop.

Ouvert uniquement ce week end (samedi 25 au dimanche 26 juillet).

Il est situe au 100 rue Myrha, 75018 Paris (angle rue Poulet)
Métro Chateau Rouge
via la MJC

Friday, July 24

modus operandi from Daniel van Hauten on Vimeo.

Are You a Hybrid? Design as an Agent of Social Change

25th September ’09

IIDEX Conference Direct Energy Centre, Toronto

For this year’s IIDEX conference, NewYork based designer Stephen Burks will give the keynote address discussing the notion of design as an agent of social change.

As one of the most sought-after industrial designers of his generation, Burks continues to use every project opportunity to bridge the gap between luxury brands and his passionate commitment to design with a conscience. His cross-disciplinary approach and his collaborations with artisans in the developing world are the hallmarks of his hybrid practice.

As he puts it, "the excesses of the last two decades, resulting from the proliferation of goods, continue to have disastrous consequences for the planet." This global crisis offers an opportunity for design practitioners of every stripe to interact meaningfully with visionaries in business, science, the arts, social work and public policy, and to play a powerful new role in the transformation of our shared reality and emerging future. In his keynote, Burks will explore hybrid design as an agent of social change.

IIDEX CONFERENCE - 23rd - 26th September ’09 Registration is Free before 15th September.

Wednesday, July 22

Packaging and Culture

The major US and Japanese consumer goods brands shape the face of the globalized world. In every corner of the world you can now drink a coffee at Starbucks, eat something at McDonalds and buy Coca-Cola. Packaging is the most important medium for brand messages, as research shows that the lion's share of buying decisions are main direct in front of the supermarket shelves. Meaning a product's visual and tactile impression outweighs all other forms of advertising and is thus the brand's crucial manifestation.

So what happens if products are on offer worldwide? Does brand design become more uniform as a result of globalization? "No," says Thekla Heineke, creative director at Kakoii, an agency in Berlin and Tokyo that helps companies entering new markets. "International brand leaders also have to adjust their packaging to the specifics of local markets - that applies to premium products just as it does to the bargain segment."

Designing packaging for foreign markets is an open-ended learning curve for the designer and clients alike. Even prior strategic efforts by marketing departments, such as market research of analyses of target groups, does not suffice to completely communicate the specifics or idiosyncrasies of a local identity. Most corporations with multinational operations therefore include designers from the respective countries targeted in the process of developing a local visual idiom, or they send their own design team to do field research in the countries in question. In this way, they foster cultural education and intuition (i.e., crosscultural awareness). After all, one and the same visual code can be read differently from one culture to the next. If colors, shapes and names mean something different in a neighboring country, then a uniform design vocabulary will definitely not function in countries that lie further afield. Global players are especially well versed in the business of subtly adjusting things to the respective cultural background, combining the setting, packaging and other ad measures. But even they apparently have to be prepared to face the inevitable flops from the trial-and-error design process. As often designers first ascertain whether consumers ‘understand' their product following tests within small segments of the markets targeted. "Surprising misunderstanding often first emerge immediately prior to the market launch," reports Thekla Heineke.

Buyers' acceptance of packaging tends to be driven by emotions; as does the work of designers: "Quite a lot of decisions are made intuitively," Heineke explains. Starting with the best way to use foreign lettering: Not rarely these are deployed the way the designers think others would do it. Sometimes Europeans find something more "Japanese" if it looks "Chinese". Conversely, the Europeans are often astonished by how Japanese typographers use Latin letters.

The design psychologist also cites other reasons for designs failing - for example, while white is often associated with cleanliness in Central Europe, in some Asian countries it is considered the color of death. Likewise, certain volumes and packaging sizes are linked to numbers that are viewed as unlucky. In Japan, for example, you never get sets of four, as the number four is a harbinger of doom.

There are not only misunderstandings between continents that lie far apart, as there are country-specific design idioms even within Europe. In France, packaging design is definitely more playful, feminine and softer than in Germany, as the example of mineral water shows. In France, the preference is for images of ethereal models in rosé hues, while in Germany the ads hinge on a crescendo of waterfalls and the primordial nature of the forest. In East Europe, by contrast, there are new notions and standards for the choice of colors: "The ‘orange revolution' in the Ukraine in 2004 means that orange as a color has political implications, The same is true in the former Eastern bloc countries as regards red, which is connected to communism," Thekla Heineke continues. In general, in times of social upheaval and the repositioning of a national identity, there is a heightened sensitivity to colors, codes and symbols. For instance, the Russian market is defined by a growing upper class with greater financial resources who focus more on the expensive foreign brands. "That results in products for which there would be no market in Germany, e.g., a premium coffee for Russian men that is supposed to look Japanese."

In Germany, there are also clear ideas about what constitutes good packaging design and they are far more influenced by historical criteria than we might imagine. "The US post-War influence is currently ebbing," says Stefan Mannes, MD at Kakoii, "and we are even seeing a counter-trend." In Germany, the newly defined target group of high-income "eco-minded" consumers is at present one of the key reference points for packaging design, whereby the details are communicated in a way that differs from that in the United States: "The subject of healthy nutrition is pretty new here and also entails a strong rejection of fast food and brash and colorful US design concepts," Mannes explains. "Which is why you see reduced, elegant design for that market segment in Germany." Mannes believes the thirst for ‘seals of approval' and the emphasis on predicates such as ‘organic' is typically German. "In many other countries, it is much more usual for food to be ‘natural' and this tends not to be stressed in the packaging."

Globally speaking, new developments in packaging do not necessarily take the United States or Europe as the yardstick. Today, Asian influences are more important for the global stylistic mix. "Something really new is without doubt emerging at present from the design collaboration, from the reciprocal interpretation of different cultures," Thekla Heineke suggests. From the vantage point of design, she does not believe that our preferences and dislikes are becoming ever more similar: "Each political and social shift spawns new attitudes toward colors and shapes, and design thus remains exciting." Kakoii as a consequence usually advises clients to be more courageous in entering foreign markets: In Japan there are any number of products that could be easily sold in Germany without there being any need to adapt them," she concludes.
Birgit S. Bauer

Tuesday, July 21


Concept Design: Platoon Cultural Development
Location: 97-22, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu,Seoul, Korea
Architectural Consultancy: Graft Architects + Baik Jiwon
Executive Architect: U-il Architects & Engineers
Prefab Engineering: Ace Special Container, Korea
Structural Engineering: MIDAS IT, Korea
Interior Design: URBANTAINER, Korea
Main Contractor: Hyojung Construction & Development, Korea
Structure: M. Cabestany
Footprint Area: 415 square meters
Main hall Area: 272 square meters
Project year: 2008-2009

The Platoon Cultural Development building is an excellent execution of shipping container architecture by Graft Lab.

The representation of the 28 ISO cargo containers is one of flexible architecture in a globalized culture. The stacked ISO containers form a unique construction that can be rebuilt anywhere else at any time; giving off a sense of mobility. PLATOON KUNSTHALLE is located in Cheongdam an upscale district of Seoul, creating a tension and interaction between the design houses, the luxury brand shops, and the commercial galleries which are near by. PLATOON’s location creates a contradiction between the world of subculture and the world of “culture” and luxury. The interiors give a sense of a revolutionary, urban design with many industrial influences. Perhaps, that is what is intended of the interior and exterior design of the building.
PLATOON aspires at providing a communication platform for street artists, graphic designers, fashion designers, video artists, programmers, musicians, cultural clubbers, political activists and merely anyone who is interested in subculture creative fields. PLATOON KUNSTHALLE isn’t about entertainment; it’s about providing showcases of underground artists, studio residencies and a fine selection of cutting-edge stage performances aiming at introducing the vigorous possibilities of subculture in Korea and Asia.

Exhibitions, movie nights, concerts, multimedia performances, workshops and discussion panels are presented in various formats aiming to present subculture through these special events. While PLATOON KNUSTHALLE gives the young artists from Korea and abroad a unique opportunity of four scholarship programs if they develop creative projects (for more information log on to The four showcases are presented in a monthly basis where striking work from the subculture and street art including leading artists of the international urban art scene are viewed.

Friday, July 17

“Waste Not” by Song Dong (MOMA)

An installation currently on the 2nd floor of the MOMA, unveiling the life of a typical Chinese woman through the objects she collected in her lifetime. “It is at once a record of a life, a history of a half-century of Chinese vernacular culture and a symbolic archive of impermanence.” It is mind blowing to see how much one can accumulate throughout their life if they do not dispose of the unnecessary/impermanent objects – “a time capsule of a lost era of Chinese culture.” – via NY Times

The installation is the work of Chinese artist Song Dong, in which he exposes the contents of his mother’s home acquired over 50 years, “during which the Chinese concept of wu jin qi yong, or “waste not,” was a prerequisite for survival.” Waste Not” is Dong’s first solo museum show in the U.S.

See the stop motion video of the installation coming together HERE