Post Fossil at 21_21 Design Sight


Here are some photos from an exhibition of work by over 70 designers including Studio Job, Nacho Carbonell and BCXSY, on show at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo, directed by Li Edelkoort.

Called Post Fossil, the show examines how Edelkoort feels designers draw on the past to inform the future, returning to natural materials and basic rituals.

The exhibition opened on 24 April and continues until 27 June.

More about 21_21 Design Sight on Dezeen: Second Nature by Tokujin Yoshioka (November 2008)

Here's some more information from 21_21 Design Sight:

New trends in the design world from the eyes of world-renowned trend-forecaster Li Edelkoort: This exhibition brings together over 130 works by 71 creators. In the spirit of striving to be a “venue that will generate design that sees clearly what is ahead”, upon which 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT was founded, we will hold an exhibition titled “POST FOSSIL: excavating 21st century creation” on April 24, 2010, with trend-forecaster Li Edelkoort as exhibition director.

Li Edelkoort is a pioneer in the field of trend prediction, who scrutinizes social and economic realities in order to decipher social developments and indications of people!s changing values. Through her unique observations, she has built up an influential reputation through consulting to various brands worldwide, education, publications, and exhibitions. As one example, the educational curriculum at the Design Academy Eindhoven (the Netherlands), at which she served as chairwoman from 1999 to 2008, is highly acclaimed.

The value systems constructed over the previous century are being reviewed in the wake of the global economic crisis. Edelkoort's attention is now on the trends being set by a new generation of designers, those that create with unfettered freedom and whose works will challenge and overturn the conventional notions of design. These designers are retracing the steps of human history and going back to the primitive roots of the very act of making things. They are redesigning not only the shelter and tools but also lifestyle, incorporating elements of nature into materials and creation processes.

This exhibition brings together over 130 works of 71 participants that Li Edlkoort sees as “POST FOSSIL” creators. This collection poses the question, “How will the designers of tomorrow look to past in order to invent the future?” As it “excavates” and analyzes new creative trends in and for the 21st century, which are embodied in materials, colors, shapes, processes, themes, images, techniques, and other elements, this exhibition searches for clues necessary for the human beings to live and define their future.

Society is ready to break away from last century for good. To break from creative conventions, theoretic rules and stigmas that now are questioned, challenged and abandoned. To break with a materialistic mentality, replacing it with the modest materialization of earth-bound and recomposed matter.

In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in decades, a period of glamorous and streamlined design for design!s sake comes to an end. A new generation of designers and architects retrace their roots, refine their earth and research their history, sometimes going back to the beginning of time.

Above: Li Edelkoort

In this process, they formulate design around natural and sustainable materials, favoring timber, hide, pulp, fiber, earth and fire; like contemporary cavemen, they reinvent shelter, redesign tools and manmade machines, and conceptualize archaic rituals for a more modest, content and contained lifestyle.

Like a Fred and Wilma Flintstone of the future.

See also:


Second Nature at
21_21 Design Sight
More about
Li Edelkoort
More design

Posted on Tuesday May 11th 2010 at 12:52 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • bored…

    I would like it see this exhibition and I like the theme but considering that some of the pieces shown are 4/5 years old and have been very well exposed it seems slightly dated. Not ‘designers of tomorrow’ and ‘new creative trends’, more a collection of familiar pieces, from (some) familiar designers who are all part of a trend that has been happening in the last decade.

    Maybe one reason why many of these designers use such materials and processes is because it’s easy to self-produce without investment and industry support (simple timber, paper, pulp, earthenware, investment casting, etc.) The motivation could be more about the ‘make and sell’ nature of editions market rather than ‘retracting the steps of human history’. Just an idea.

    The selection of contributors is a bit obvious, no? Very London / Netherlands centric.

  • dj

    @bored…: My thoughts exactly!

  • I think this exhibition looks fantastic! in regards to the previous comment

    “Not ‘designers of tomorrow’ and ‘new creative trends’, more a collection of familiar pieces, from (some) familiar designers who are all part of a trend that has been happening in the last decade.”

    consider the content of this coherent collection of work as a whole and you’ll recognise that, whilst being maybe a little dated, this forms the base of something exciting and new. A beginning.

  • bullshit ( it’s the fist time in my life that I write this word ) so have no idea if properly. Fantastic, intelligent , full of humour exhibition. I am fan of Li and dreaming to have such professional exhibitions here in Poland – a lot of diferrent objecst joined together by an ivisible, magic thread.

  • capslock

    my personal vision of the future does not involve clay fans, rubber animals or cowhide chairs. that was the late nineties.

  • the sculptures made me remember some paintings from Salvador Dalí

  • Fantastic, intelligent, full of humour exhibition. I am a fan of Li and dreaming to have such professional exhibitions here in Poland.
    Lot of diferrent objecst joined together by an invisible, magic thread. I think there is a lot of things that can be sold and not enough these creating dreams…

  • tanya telford – T

    re: boreds comment:

    very London?, im not finding myself feeling naturally comfortable with what im seeing in the photos, looks a bit grim, this could be for all sorts of reasons though, including trying to judge an exhibition through photos or lighting etc,

  • bored…

    Hi Tanya,

    I don’t have a full list of exhibitors but from what I can see from the pictures there are at least 6 contributors who are based in London and several more who I think graduated from the RCA. The vast majority of the rest seem to be Dutch or graduates of Eindhoven during Edelkoort’s last few years at the Academy.

    I welcome any suggestions to the contrary.

    Of course the selection of works is very personal to Edelkoort as she has been championing this type of design/designers. Perhaps this show is more ‘end of and era’ than ‘future generation’.


  • tanya telford – T

    thanks B,

    from the photos i recognise a few of the pieces. Seems sad to think of this show as marking the end of an era when so many people will have worked so hard on various things. For me perhaps this show is an example of how important context is and what happens when many things are taken out of their context or indeed how they would been seen in a different environment or in a different “light” (english saying, i think).

    I have to say i am only guessing as i have not seen the show plus im reading the photos from a very visual perspective. I wonder what people who have seen the show think?

  • James Peters

    Oh christ, I am amazed that 21-21 has entertained this work and this woman, when will people wake up and see that it’s all vacuous, pretentious , anti- intelligent, pig swill..

    this work belongs at best in a landfill site – an embarrassment for Issey, the Miyake Foundation and Noriko.

    Please – STOP


  • tanya telford – T

    I didn’t know Issey Miyake Foundation is involved, his studio were kind enough to take a look at my graduation work when i was in Tokyo, I hold him & his studio, work etc in very high regard, yikes,

  • tanya telford – T

    forgot – see above, and in context – I met them 9, 10 yearsish ago,

  • @bored

    I’m curious do you walk around art galleries and question why are they exhibiting old artworks? Can’t slightly ‘dated’ thngs still be relevent? Or is it a clean slate every year for you?

    What’s your rush?

  • public image ltd.

    “To break with a materialistic mentality, replacing it with the modest materialization of earth-bound and recomposed matter.”

    ….and then to sell at ridiculously inflated over the top prices. how does this work? very very much at odds with itself.

    I’m really glad James Peters comment passed the moderator.

    and this being the future? how out of touch and misguided can one be!

  • Blixa

    This woman perpetuates waste