British furniture brand Established & Sons presented an exhibition called Elevating Design in London last month, during the London Design Festival.
At the show, production pieces from the brand's range were remade as one-offs in solid Carrara marble and exhibited on top of 6m high plinths.
The exhibition was designed to stimulate debate about the emerging "design art" market, in which designers' work is increasingly being treated as art and sold via galleries for high prices.
Here is a statement from www.elevatingdesign.com, Established & Son's own blog about the show:
Established & Sons’ high-impact and intelligently considered exhibition ‘Established & Sons Elevating Design’ is borne out of an ambition to further debate on a topic currently gripping the design world.
A persisting thirst for the unfortunately termed ‘Design Art’ is dominating the design industry and design discourse. Unlike its previous exhibitions, here Established & Sons has ambitions beyond selling product. The company recognises its influential position at the heart of the international design community and the responsibility that includes.
This is a non-selling exhibition; the intention is to generate debate on this topic of design currently in the spotlight and to do so with full recognition that this area is one of those key to the Established & Sons’ business.
The desire for these objects is reaching fever pitch and so there is an inevitable deluge of questions and concerns regarding the integrity and position of contemporary design that come with the fervour. Should design be seen to be chasing the art world? Do the claims that this is a new movement really have any credibility? Does the design industry desire the endorsement of the art world at all? Why should price point determine categorisation?
In ‘Established & Sons Elevating Design’, the company holds a mirror up to the design industry of which they are a part and prompts much-needed discourse and debate. Established & Sons’ method of articulating a response will be monumental in both ambition and execution: ‘Established & Sons Elevating Design’ is a fittingly major installation housed in an equally impressive, hidden location deep within central London.
Sitting on top of soaring 6 metre-high plinths will be designs from the current Established & Sons ‘volume production’ collection remade as ‘one off’ pieces in luxurious carrara marble.The reappointing of functional designs, iconic in their utility, as opulent objects is the most extreme interpretation of this debated genre of design. It motivates a discussion as to the value and purpose of the original and the reworked designs.
The plinths act as a visual metaphor, elevating these stunning objects into space and beyond their recognised domain. In another physical interpretation of this keenly observed phenomena, two raised viewing platforms within the exhibition space means guests have the opportunity to view these iconic pieces at eye level whilst those on the ground are forced to navigate and interact with a forest of plinths.
Established & Sons has become renowned for its impactful, well-executed exhibitions and events, ‘Established & Sons Elevating Design’ will be no exception. Here, the company applies this dynamic method of communication to a theoretical debate. And as Established & Sons occupies the place of industry leader, commentator and innovator, the company is well positioned to present such an ambitious show and lead such a provocative debate.