Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains
Until 11 February 2018
For over fifteen years, Dylan van den Berg and Wieki Somers have worked together as Studio Wieki Somers on a body of work that combines innovation and tradition with wonder. The designers’ work and ethos are shared in a new exhibition, presented as part of the Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains (mudac) “Carte Blanche” series opened on 24 October 2017 and will run until 11 February 2018.
Astonished by a general lack of consideration for our environment, the design duo has continuously questioned why things are as they are, exploring the significance and deeper meanings that lie hidden in our rituals of daily use. Out of the Ordinary offers an intuitive and contemplative journey that explores the oeuvre of the Studio via fifteen different projects, delving into some of its research themes to reveal how the Studio’s work transforms the ordinary.
In an exhibition created specifically for the warm and intimate space of the museum, Studio Wieki Somers has constructed a series of areas where visitors are invited to enter its world and develop a connection with the works – and with the art of looking. To capture this secret feeling, the Studio has designed a special colour plan, where hues relate to the pieces and themes of each room, and every window is “opened” to let in natural light.
“Opening the windows also allows the pieces to connect to the outside world,” notes Wieki Somers. “For example, ‘Chimney Pots’ stand in line with the orange roof tiles of the buildings surrounding the museum and through the windows behind ‘Bathboat’, one can see Lake Geneva and imagine a bobbling fishing boat.”
Fascinated by the unexpected qualities of everyday objects, Van den Berg and Somers attempt to bring the soul of an object to life again in their practice, with a poetic association, a fleeting encounter or a subtle touch, all of which can all act as the basis of a new design.
Chantal Prod’Hom, director of mudac; “Studio Wieki Somers’ work has always impressed me by the apparent simplicity of the forms and shapes which opens a very deep and sophisticated dimension when you look at the pieces more precisely. I like this double shock effect which involves the perception of the viewer and then the practice of the user by opening an unpredictable world. Lines and circles, light material and heavy counter weights, Western and Eastern aesthetics, soft colours and dark structures are playing an amazing choreography where each object becomes an actor”
While Studio Wieki Somers is noted for its exceptional and distinctive visual language and the high quality of its craftsmanship is also considered out of the ordinary, the research that precedes the design is more important than strict design principles.
“Our work is connected by a free, open-minded, probing approach to research rather than immutable design principles,” says Dylan van den Berg. “The fascinations that lie at the base of our design research frequently recur, for example, magical reality, the protagonist, strange combinations, the past, and nature.”
Presented in terms of these research themes, rather than chronologically, Out of the Ordinary explores the art of looking via fifteen projects, where the attention to detail and technical ingenuity are combined with unusual storylines.
In the run-up to the show, Studio Wieki Somers commissioned photographer Elspeth Diederix to capture these fascinations and a presentation of her photographs complements the exhibition.
ABOUT STUDIO WIEKI SOMERS Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg studied at Design Academy Eindhoven in the late 90s. In 2003, they established Studio Wieki Somers, which is focused on providing an enlightened reading of the everyday environment. The Studio’s oeuvre distinguishes itself by a sensitivity for materials, technological ingenuity and fantasy. The designers work for a variety of international manufacturers, museums and galleries, and have established a strong relationship with Galerie Kreo in Paris. Studio Wieki Somers and the designers have received numbers awards and their work is part of major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. www.studiowiekisomers.com
ABOUT MUDAC Since opening in 2000, mudac (Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains) has built a reputation for having an inquisitive and incisive attitude towards the things that shape our way of life, and has always sought to ask pertinent – and sometimes impertinent – questions. Its ambitious programme of between five and eight exhibitions a year alternates thematic projects with “carte blanche” events for designers from Switzerland and further afield, with a focus on young creators. mudac prides itself on providing a forum for dialogue and exchange, bringing together design with the applied arts and contemporary art. This unique and bold approach is recognised throughout the world, with exhibitions staged from Paris to Seoul. mudac also offers frequent new exhibitions of its permanent collections, which have continued to grow from its beginnings as the Musée des arts décoratifs. The museum also opens its doors to the performing arts: dancers, film directors, performers and musicians, and has established itself as a platform for free dialogue between diverse art forms, within Switzerland and on an international level. www.mudac.ch
ABOUT OUT OF THE ORDINARY The exhibition Out of the Ordinary is not organised chronologically, rather it presents 15 projects intuitively in the mudac space, allowing visitors to explore the works via various themes and research interests.
Studio Wieki Somers. Bathboat, 2005 © Studio Wieki Somers
Photo: Elian Somers