In Conversation With Matylda Krzykowski: Musterzimmer at Depot Basel
by Harry / September 12, 2012

In our second conversation with design curator/ journalist/ blogger Matylda Krzykowski we talk about the current exhibition at design space Depot Basel...

Harry Wakefield: Where in the world is Matylda today?

Matylda Krzykowski: Matylda is in a bar in Barcelona, drinking Hendricks and Tonic. Maybe a bit too early for a 5 pm... but very well deserved.

No doubt!

I am not here for a pure holiday, I like being in different places - it gives me energy. I was working half the day anyway.

(Click the images below for full sized images)


Karin Hueber and David Schaeublin

Tell us what's happening at Depot Basel now?

Right now we are presenting two exhibitions. The main one is called Musterzimmer. It's about mock-up rooms. According to the integral principles of the Swiss Werkbund in the 1920's, ten Swiss designers we invited show their vision of the essential elements in respect to material, construction, form and function. The outcome is very personal and experimental and a pleasure to look at.

What led to this show? A personal insight?

This exhibiiton was initiated by Laura Pregger... working in a team means that one of the people inside this circle will come up with ideas and at the end you try to realise one of the good ones. Musterzimmer was a great idea from the beginning and I think she pretty much nailed it. But in that case we worked together with a Swiss blog called, Thomas Wrobel, Florian, Laura and Moritz were working together on it.


Meret Probst

In what way?

She uses the values of the Swiss Werkbund and applies them in a present context. It allowed designers to translate their idea of it in a current context.

What in Musterzimmer interests you?

First of all the opportunity we give designers to make work that will be presented to an audience that is different from what they usually present to. Werkbund was a state-sponsored effort to integrate traditional crafts and industrial mass-production techniques. Musterzimmer is a non-sponsored effort to intergrate national (Swiss) crafts and industrial and non-industrial designer techniques. That's what I find interesting. And what I, also together with Depot Basel wanted to do. What I mean here is that we gave the designers the opportunity to show their own work in form of a Musterzimmer.

Is that practical? Can craft truly be mass produced?

Personally I think a lot can be done, but not craft in mass production. (I think we misunderstand each other here :-) Above I wrote crafts and industrial mass-production techniques, not craft that can be mass produced.


The works are beautiful, simple, elegant. What I would generally expect from Swiss designers.

Personally I don't see such a strong Swiss pattern.


It is actually quite playful, but mostly based on the idea that you need something that serves as a table, a seat and a bed.


Laura wrote in the press release that it's "a vision of a future living space, including furnishing".

Besides showing what is possible, are there any expected outcomes?

As simple as that, and because what Depot Basel does is everyday we want people to come to our space - that are not involved with design - but can understand what we curate.


Stéphanie Baechler

Are there any works in the show that stand out for you?

I am a bit intrigued by Stéphanie Baechler's piece. It is a little tent covered with pieces of ceramic. It is very conceptual, but is shelter that reminds me of my nomadic life. It is very far away from the actual idea of the Werkbund. But if you think about that people move constantly and travel a lot... it stands for what this generation is. (mobile)

I'd like to see that on a smaller scale. For the mantel.

Smaller? it maybe fits one person

Much smaller, as a table top sculpture.

For the generation without children. A centre piece?

Or maybe for those who do have kids and travel less...

You talking about yourself?


Any other pieces? That stand out for you?

I would like to mention one from the second exhibition which is being presented in the small libary. It was meant to be a library but we decided a while a go that we would rather invite people to make smaller shows in there, because the 800 m2 can be very overwhelming.

The show is called 'No Function - No Sense'. Our new collaborator Rebekka Kiesewetter, a journalist from Zurich, was dealing with it mainly.


Mathias Renner

No Function... But the banana holder is functional...

That is actually my favouite one! I think a piece that holds at least two bananas is worth having in every household!

Agreed. Bananas need to be elevated.

Absolutely, I couldnt agree more. Basically the show is about the question 'if things without function even exist'? And if designers are able to design something without a function on purpose. Let's say it's a little experiment.

It's an interesting juxtaposition, Musterzimmer and No Function. It's like all-function vs null-function.

Nicely pointed out, Harry. It is maybe all-function vs. attempted null-function. (laughs)

"Attempted". I like that. People always find a way... It can always be a paperweight.

Exactly. Truth is that these designers, as much as we at Depot Basel, are attempting things. We make many mistakes but we learn. All with only the best intentions.


Julia Modolo und Jean Philippe Bonzon, Shanghai Picture

What is Shanghai Picture?

Julia Modolo und Jean-Philippe Bonzon show objects they bought on Shanghais streets.

Is it a picture of the objects or the actual objects?

These things seem to very useless for others, but for Chinese they stand for the dead,
consumer goods that can be sent to the deceased through a fire ritual to make their ‹life› more enjoyable.

Actual objects in paper. They both live in Shanghai

Wow. Consumerism in the afterlife. Love that.

We got many guests at the opening who desperately wanted to buy some of the pieces.

I can see why. The ceramic tent could work in either show, BTW.

Maybe, but I would not try to think about that. It is clearly something that was requested for something specific. It is easy to make something fit but it has to have a logical context.

These are the types of shows that require guides, passive as in texts, or human, to fully grasp what's going on. What you told me about Shanghai Picture totally changes the "picture".

Ideally we want people to come and spend enough time to understand each idea.

I'd read No Function, No Sense if it were a book.

I am rushed myself most of the time, but at the end, if I have a moment I enjoy looking at things a lot.

Musterzimmer too.

I guess that's a good thing, isn't it?

Yes. We have that in common I think, a fascination for objects.

I have a fascination for the creative mind, rather than the object itself.

For me the object is the manifestation of the creative mind.

The objects are not bad either.

Thanks for the time today.

Pleasure, and thank you Harry!

All photos: Flurin Bertschinger.

Read more about Musterzimmer at Depot Basel.

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