Maribor, Slovenia, 27/09 – 09/10, 2012
For the European Capital of Culture 2012 in Maribor, Art&Idea’s director Robert Punkenhofer and Reanne Leuning curated Austrian Design – Surprisingly Ingenious, a comprehensive exhibition with the very latest in Austrian industrial, product, furniture, fashion and jewellery design. For this particular occasion, the show was focused on the important but less obvious uses of design, such as in transport and safety systems, industrial manufacturing processes and mobility.
Thirty prominent representatives from a very wide range of sectors exhibited many products and product lines. The common characteristics of all the works on display were the obsession with finding technical solutions to complex, mundane problems; a passion for exploring the limits to which unusual materials can be put, and a desire to couple rigorous aesthetic minimalism with tongue-in-cheek humour.
The exhibition was held in the unique ‘white noise’ mobile art and culture pavilion designed by Austrian architectural practice soma. Known as the “hedgehog” because of its unusual shape, it drew the attention at night when, with the help of Thomas Jelinek from NOMAD.Theatre, the architectural structure came to life in Trg Svobode Square. The pavilion seemed to breathe with the pulsating light, and the cityscape around the pavilion appeared different every night because of various subtle adjustments to the lighting. Inside the space, the film Österreichische Architektur im Sucher (Focus on Austrian Architecture)by Dieter Spath and Heidi Pretterhofer from Arquitectos ZT, featured 65 selected architectural projects in Austria and abroad by Austrian architects. The images were taken from the portfolios of six famous Austrian architectural photographers: Hertha Hurnaus, Bruno Klomfar, Paul Ott, Lisa Rastl, Wolfgang Thaler and Günter Richard Wett. Austrian home furnishing was well represented. Bene exhibited a space-saving set of furniture. Design duo Walking-Chair’s displayed their new outdoor furniture; YOU MAY B., exhibited for the very first time in Maribor.
Riedel Glas, which has a proud history of 250 years of success, exhibited three exceptional pieces from its range of impressive decanters. Regarding fashion and jewellery “made in Austria”, Wolford presented the Autumn/Winter 2012/2013 Collection, which manifested itself in a clash of opposites: Audrey Hepburn meets Heavy Metal. In addition to outfits, Northland exhibited outdoor equipment in the form of a tent and sleeping bag. In the ‘Spirit of Africa’ collection, FREYWILLE transported visitors to a continent of ancient cultures, unique natural scenery and untamed wildlife. AND_I’s new Spring/Summer Collection, Taboo, also combined nature and mystery. Silhouette International exhibited its Titan Minimal Art glasses. Opening party was held on the Red Bull “Brandwagen” with the famous Slovenian singer Elvis Jackson together with Austrian DJ Felix da Houserat.
EXHIBITORS: AND_I, BENE, Rene Chavanne, City Air Terminal BetriebsgmbH, FREYWILLE, formquadrat, FRONIUS International, GREENoneTEC Solarindustrie, KISKA, KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG, MAM Babyartikel, MED-EL Medical Electronics, Neue Wiener Werkstaette, NOMAD.Theatre, Northland, ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG, Red Bull, RHI AG, Riedel Glas, Rosenbauer International, Silhouette International, SKIDATA AG, soma, SPAN (Matias del Campo & Sandra Manninger), Spirit Design — Innovation and Brand GmbH, SWARCO FUTURIT Verkehrssignalsysteme, Walking-Chair Designstudio, White Elephant, Wolford, and Zumtobel Licht. The exhibition was organised by Advantage Austria – Creative Industries Office and supported by go international — an initiative by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the Austrian Economic Chamber — and by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, the Arts and Culture and the Austrian Trade Commission in Ljubljana.