ÉCAL students blur the boundaries between art and design with Milan exhibition

ÉCAL's fine art and industrial design students have come together to put on an exhibition that explores the "grey zone" between the two practices.

The More Rules for Modern Life exhibition is one of six being presented by the Swiss school during this year's Milan design week and features the work of second-year art and product design students.

Located inside an old building off Via dell'Orso, the exhibition takes over four rooms – each of which have been curated by Swiss artist John Armleder.

While ÉCAL has become known for its playful and interactive exhibitions during Milan design week, for this year's event the school's tutors were keen to put on something different.

"We wanted to break out of this successful but repetitive mode that involved interaction and product design together, something that would always involve the visitors," director Alexis Georgacopoulos told Dezeen.

"This year we have a collaboration between the visual arts and product design students, and the idea was to create something that would make a grey zone between art and design."

"They worked together and individually, worked towards the same deadlines but could develop their projects alone. The idea was to create an exhibition that would put all these different approaches together."

The set-up of the exhibition is intended to play with ideas of scale, shapes, colours and materials in order to defy what Georgacopoulos describes as "pre-established categories".

In one room, a children's rocking zebra is presented alongside a monolith made from recycled plastic and a bedside lamp made from sheets of leather.

A small, immersive room is covered in shiny silver material and is illuminated by strips of modular lighting and moveable mirrors.

In the largest room, a handless ceramic clock tells the time through sound, while a minimal painting is presented against a bright pink backdrop.

Although this year was an experiment for the school, Georgacopoulos hopes it'll encourage more institutions to break their mould – even if it is successful.

"I think it's interesting to be in a design fair like Milan and to be able to put question marks around it," he said. "Schools should take more risks."

ECAL's More Rules for Modern Life is open until 9 April at the Spazio Orso 16 on Via dell'Orso 16.

During this year's Milan design week, the Swiss school – which ranked number five in our Dezeen Hot List schools category, is also presenting alternatives for meat consumption at an exhibition at the Salone Satellite fair.

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