Design Real at the Serpentine Gallery

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An exhibition of industrial design curated by Munich designer Konstantin Grcic opens at the Serpentine Gallery in London this week.

Called Design Real, the show will feature mass-produced items designed for everyday life, which have all been released in the last ten years.

It includes work by designers including Jasper Morrison, Ross Lovegrove and Zaha Hadid alongside anonymous designs, and encompasses furniutre, household objects, technical tools and industrial inventions.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 26 November and continues until 7 February.

Look out for our podcast with Grcic on Dezeen soon.

Here's some more information from the Serpentine Gallery:

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Design Real

Konstantin Grcic curates Serpentine’s first-ever contemporary design exhibition

26 November 2009 – 7 February 2010

Across the globe, there is a growing awareness of design and its impact on the world we inhabit. Like contemporary art, design both shapes and reflects our constantly changing society. Good design understands human behaviour, offers pragmatic solutions to problems and enhances our everyday experience.

Above: Heaven, Swedese Möbler designed by Thomas Bernstrand

Design Real, curated by the renowned industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, is the Serpentine Gallery’s first exhibition devoted to contemporary design. Grcic’s selection for the exhibition focuses on ‘real’ items: mass-produced items that have a practical function in everyday life.

Above: Hand Grip Megaphone ER-1206W, TOA designed by Shin Azumi

The exhibition presents a wide range of products with different styles and functions, from furniture and household products to technical and industrial innovations.

Above: Elements for Blind People designed by Pictoform

With objects from well-known designers, such as a chair by Jasper Morrison, luggage by Ross Lovegrove and waterproof shoes by Zaha Hadid, as well as products by anonymous designers, including a wheel-shaped water container, a municipal recycling bin and aVolvo tail light, the exhibition provides new perspectives from which to look at the material world around us, encouraging new insights into design.

Above: Melissa + Zaha Hadid, Melissa Plastic Dreams designed by Zaha Hadid

Grcic says of the exhibition: ‘What interests me about industrial design is how these things are made, in what material, and how this has affected their language and their quality.

Above: Speedglas 9100 Welding Shield designed by 3M

Some objects are very technically-driven; the function really determines the object. Other objects have much more of a signature or an authorship; you see the handwriting of the designer who made it and that’s what makes it so special. There is only one common denominator for the objects selected for Design Real: they came on to the market not more than ten years ago.’

Above: Bina, Santa & Cole designed by Gonzalo Milá and Martina Zink

The Serpentine’s central gallery features a research space expanding on themes developed in Design Real, designed by Grcic especially for the exhibition. A dedicated internet site, www.design-real.com, designed by Field Trip, is the exhibition’s central resource and an integral part of its concept.

Above: Gregory, Ligne Roset designed by Gregory Lacoua

The site investigates the objects in the exhibition in detail, exploring aspects of their development, production and use.Visitors to Design Real can access the site in the exhibition’s research space. The space is also the setting for a series of free public Saturday Seminars at 3pm.

Above: KR 5 arc designed by KUKA Automation + Robotics

Design Real is curated by Konstantin Grcic, in association with Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director, and Kathryn Rattee, Curator, Serpentine Gallery. Exhibition design in collaboration with Alex Rich and Jürg Lehni.

Above: Yang, Artemide designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua

Konstantin Grcic

One of the most influential figures in 21st-century design, Konstantin Grcic, born in Munich in 1965, founded Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID) in 1991. KGID specialises in various fields of design ranging from industrial products to exhibition design. Grcic’s products have received prestigious international design awards and form part of the permanent collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, NewYork, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Above: Babybjörn Baby Carrier Synergy, Babybjörn designed by Ergonomidesign

Serpentine Gallery

Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery has presented its annual Pavilion commission, the only architecture project of its ambition worldwide. Following the international success of the Pavilion programme, the Serpentine is developing its commitment to design by inviting German product designer Konstantin Grcic to curate Design Real, the Gallery’s first-ever exhibition of contemporary design.

Above: Volvo XC60 designed by Volvo Car Corporation

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

  • Jo

    Konstantin is a fantastic designer. But what’s ‘real’ about this — the fact that everything can be bought in a shop? That ‘real’ design can only exist in relation to the marketplace? Please. This seems pointless to me. Nice. But pointless. If it’s a celebration of the genuine, authentic and ‘real’, why show it in an art gallery, isn’t that a little disingenuous? Hi-design has always flirted with it’s less glamorous relatives in the hope that some ‘authenticity’ will rub off — just look at supernormal a couple of years ago — but really, do we need another example of it. It’s the 21c, we are faced with unbelievably complex challenges, isn’t this a rather limited and reactionary idea of what design is, or could be — something we know already, and have known since the 1950s? Shouldn’t design be facing the future and engaging with the scary unknown rather than retreating into a romantic and cosy embrace of all that is straightforward, solid, easy and neat. We have heard and seen this before and we get it, can we please move on now?

    The exhibition does look very nicely designed though ; )

  • http://ergonomidesign.com/Default.aspx?ID=54 Anna Romboli

    The Speedglas weldign shield is designed by Ergonomidesign on comission by 3M, read the facinating story on the web.

  • david h

    …oh no not another ‘here’s my collection of favourite things’ supernormal style. The objects on show appear to be, almost without exception, extremely unattractive and over-styled but then Grcic is a master style-munger himself. Let’s hope that this doesn’t dampen the Serpentine’s commendable and exciting ambition towards showing design.

  • http://designeast.eu Zampik

    WOW! I want to see this exhibition in person.

  • jan

    wouw,
    Lloveit

    thats’a beautifuly something new!
    It must look awesome inside the serpentine.

    I love that ’70th future being now.
    ..it makes the present a bit more funny ;)

  • Charles E. Flynn

    The story about the 3M Speedglas 9100 welding helmet is at:

    http://ergonomidesign.com/Default.aspx?ID=54

  • http://www.avocado.co.za Debbie

    Wow, wonderful design all around. I particularly like the welding helmet