And again Berlin’s Tempelhof airport hosted a very cool exhibition. The DMY International Design Festival 2014 presented an fantastic range of inventions, creative ideas and product concepts. The old airport space is a very effective frame for this type of event – huge industrial halls and lots of soaring space. The opening night of the DMY Festival, Wednesday 28th May 2014, was packed: food and drinks stalls, DJs, crowds of people everywhere; a great party atmosphere. And amazing design wherever you looked.
Here is a list of some of my favourite exhibitors, in no particular order!
One of the first stands I noticed was the table of Taiwan Designers’ Week, a platform for young Taiwanese designers. Now, I’m a big fan of Asian design and love the ethos of making everyday objects look as attractive as possible. You can visit any supermarket in Japan or China and see even mundane products like flour or sugar packaged stylishly and/or attractively. Western product design has a lot to learn here, I think. Just because something is functional and used every day doesn’t mean that it can’t be aesthetically pleasing. Anyhow, the Taiwan Designers’ Week table presented the products of thirteen young Taiwanese labels, including objects like cups, dishes and vases.
Another exhibitor I liked was CABB Design from Italy. The company was established in January 2013 by five women (I love female enterprises!!). CABB exhibited at the Design Week in Milan last month and now they are at DMY Berlin. They have wonderful, hand-made interior design pieces – a set of bronze cutlery, for example, stylish modular furniture and opulently decorated vases.
Tutki is a social design enterprise from Poland. The project is about creative recycling: pages from TV, women’s and lifestyle magazines are collected and rolled into thin paper sticks which can then be weaved into different shapes, likes boxes, bracelets or vases. Tutki works with people who have disabilities; the paper sticks are sold in sets together with detailed weaving instructions. Sustainable production, a social ethos, with a very high creativity factor – I was bowled over by this concept. And bought two weaving sets right there and then!
And if you enjoy typography and words, the exhibition stall of No Gallery is a visual treat: No-Gallery creates and sells 3D wooden cut-outs of words and phrases. The company was founded by two Cologne-based designers , Elisabeth Rosenkranz und Andreas Burgmann. They have some 1000 3D typographic styles, designs and sketches; you can order your favourite word or short sentence online or come up with your own creation. Design and production takes place in Cologne and the ingredients are sourced from small regional manufacturers – check out their website!
Lund University School of Industrial Design (Sweden) was present with several projects, including Snego! Snego is the creation of Katarina Hornwall and Gabriella Rubin. I fell in love with the product immediately: Individually shaped pieces of wood (birch, cherry, oak, poplar, pine) are dyed in vegetable colours and then coated in beeswax and olive oil. At the show there was a whole table full of Snego pieces, you can stack them and play with them; they are gorgeous!
Blond & Bieber Algaemy: this is the very cool project of German product and textile designers Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber. They use microalgae to paint, or rather, print on fabrics. At the show the Algaemy stand featured an entire shelf full of different algae cultures – you get an amazing range of colours in blues, greens, oranges, reds and browns – the ultimate in sustainability. The finished printed fabric looks great and – what I liked in particular – the colours are quite dynamic: depending in sun or light exposure they can change to an entirely different hue. Natural design in motion. A fascinating concept and a Jury’s Selection for the German Design Award 2014 (Design-Preis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2014).
Another exhibitor from Italy was Odifactory, a platform for small designers. Odifactory creates modular containers for a nomadic lifestyle, they call their concept “Cases of Life” – utensils that are commonly used in kitchen, bathroom and the office are designed so that they take up little space and can be fitted into a large rectangular case. I loved the portability of the concept: it looks very stylish, too.
And TransFormate from Berlin is a very cool recycling design project. I first came across TransFormate in Vielfach store on Zimmerstrasse. Theatre designer Lucia Gossmann takes old newspaper pages and weaves these into bags, smartphone covers, paravents and wallets. The paper is especially treated so it is waterresistant and pretty much indestructible. Gossmann works with Spektrum Netzwerk, a workshop which employs disabled and disadvantaged people, so TransFormate products are not just beautiful and unique but you also support a very worthwhile project.