Robert Stadler's recent "Wild at home" show at the Triple V gallery in Paris questioned the conventions of good design.
Anywhere lighting device
Stadler exhibited some unconventional works to support his thesis.
"The traditional floor plan of our interiors is often determined by the electric outlet on the ceiling. That is where the lamp hangs, and therefore the dining table is positioned underneath, and the chairs are placed around it. 'Anywhere's' long, carbon fiber tube serves to hang a ceiling light. Thanks to the rope, the lamp can easily be freed from its usually fixed position. In this way the lamp can reach more or less every corner of a standard size room. It is henceforth the lamp that follows our habits and not the other way around. In addition, some lamps that we might have owned for a long time, and that consequently have become invisible to our eyes, are here brought to a new life, thanks to being attached to the mobile slim black arm."
Porte-Manteau coat rack
"Porte-Manteau is a surreal object reacting on the idea of the open space / loft tendency. Here the walls have disappeared but the door is still there. One can freely move around in the apartment, except where the door stands. Thus, depending on its position, it suggests new paths of circulation. Its base reminds us of the movement that it was able to do in its previous life as a real door."
Troublanc (white hole) rug
"The shape of Troublanc reminds us of a freeze of a splash or a lightspot. It suggests the idea of movement within our mostly static interiors. A gradient along the circumference gives the impression of volume to the object, and having the same colour as the floor, the carpet's border seems blurred."
Wild at home
"Further on, the bouts de canapés (side tables placed at the end of a sofa) free themselves from the piece of furniture which defines them, and a rug seems to fix the moment of the disappearance of the sofa, as if it had melted into the ground or evaporated, and that the rug was the graphic expression of it, like the illustrations that are found in some comic strips."
More from Robert Stadler:
What is good design? What we refer to as good corresponds to a set of pre-existing criteria for good. Good Design abides by a certain number of rules: it should be functional (fulfil a designated function); beautiful, and fulfil the criteria for industrial efficiency (rationalization of production, best cost). It ticks a box that is not invented. The expected criteria are found in the characteristics of these objects, without yet knowing exactly what shape they would take.
With this conception, the unknown is only ever a not yet recognised known, and the meeting is a reunion. One thing takes the place of another, whilst waiting for the next new thing. Good design, like good works of art, does not escape the logic of planned obsolescence, seasonally replacing the good which preceded it.
With few exceptions, like for example the popularity of open-plan kitchens, the layout of our apartments rarely changes, objects are always found in the same place and individual experiments remain rare: the electric outlet in the ceiling determines the position of the lamp beneath which a table is placed, around which chairs are positioned, and further on a television opposite a sofa.
Important design or art do more than being good. The difference between good and important is the same as between recognize and find; it is the gap which separates an experience and its reiteration. It is not sufficient to put one thing in the place of another, it is still necessary to change the place itself. What is consequently at stake and the latter term is perfectly appropriate for the Wild at Home exhibition, is therefore not only the appearance of new objects, but again the redefinition of the place allocated to them. The ceiling light becomes mobile, an inner wall becomes a support or an inscription surface available for all sorts of intervention, just as a nearby door neglects to separate two areas.
Wild is the opposite of domestic. The exhibition title reminds us that prior to being domesticated, the interior was free. And the exhibition calls upon this freedom to be regained, which is up to us, to organise the space that we live in as we see fit, independently of the conventions in force.
Photos: Andre Morin.