Auger-Loizeau, Lamp Shape Robot, 2009

Freak Show: Strategies for (Dis)engagement in Design is a new show curated by Sophie Lovell at HELMRINDERKNECHT contemporary design in Berlin. The show’s designers include a selection of international designers whose work challenges the system, such as Auger-Loizeau, Pieke Bergmans, Dunne & Raby, El Ultimo Grito, Martí Guixé, Stuart Haygarth, Kueng Caputo, Mathieu Lehanneur, and many more. These designers present works that not only rage against the norm but confront preconceptions about design, forcing us to realize the differences between us all.

Freak Show: Strategies for (Dis)engagement in Design in main home furnishings art  Category
Kueng Caputo, Dolce Vita, 2010

From the press release:

Jerszy Seymour (UK), for example, is taking us back to the “primeval soup” of design, reconsidering materials and shapes with a new “alphabet and language” to examine how industry affects values and social structures. Pieke Bergmans (NL) virally subverts mass-production processes, creating a new product world where mutations and irregularities are the norm, not the exception. The British designer Stuart Haygarth (UK) works with found objects and the translation of meaning to create poignant and poetic new, one-off pieces. French designer Mathieu Lehanneur (F) explores the interfaces between the techno- and biospheres to discover new functional potentials. The renowned conceptual designers and theorists Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby (UK) use design to stimulate discussion about the “social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies”. By removing the commercial aspect from the requirements of an object, James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau (UK) use design to comment on: “consumer culture, the role of products and the ubiquity of technology”. Jurgen Bey and Rianne Makkink (NL) are involved in analyzing the real qualities and hidden phenomena as well as cultural and emotional meanings of the things around us to provoke discussion about the value of the contemporary production process. And as the design studio El Ultimo Grito, Roberto Feo and Rosario Hurtado (E) reflect upon “how contemporary culture incorporates, re-uses and re-interprets the systems and structures that it has inherited” in order to create new objects and offer alternative ways of living, working and communicating. Martí Guixé (E), on the other hand, calls himself an “ex-designer” and works with the “contemporary parameters of consumerism”. By prioritizing function over shape and material he challenges aesthetic preconceptions in our visually orientated culture. And finally, the young newcomers in the show, Sarah Kueng and Lovis Caputo (CH) are interested in exploring the nature of originality and create situation-specific interventions to engage with and raise questions about conventional constructs.

The work of all these designers is about rising to the responsibility of engagement through disengagement and as a result they are giving us an insight into what the world could be like if we can find the courage to accept change.

Freak Show: Strategies for (Dis)engagement in Design in main home furnishings art  Category
Mathieu Lehanneur, Age du Japon, 2009

Freak Show: Strategies for (Dis)engagement in Design in main home furnishings art  Category
Stuart Haygarth, Urchin (Slender), 2009 (left) and El Ultimo Grito, Peckham Shield, 2010 (right)

What: Freak Show: Strategies for (Dis)engagement in Design
When: November 13, 2010 – January 15, 2011
Where: HELMRINDERKNECHT contemporary design, Helm/Rinderknecht GbR, Linienstrasse 87 D-10119 Berlin, Germany