DMY Berlin 2015: Exploring Next Generation Product And Furniture Design

Berlin’s 13th DMY international design festival reinvented itself this year with a new venue and dedicated professionals day. Homedit was excited to explore 8000 sqm of exhibition space with an eye on what future focused designers could offer the world of home interior design.

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Kraftwerk Berlin’s monstrous concrete powerstation walls contribute a dystopian backdrop to the forward looking event, transforming the glowing lights of exhibition stands into welcome refuges of human comfort. When something attracted our eye we had the luxury of being able to speak with the designers and find out more about our favourite picks of DMY 2015.

The Lab

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The emphasis on new talent drew us first to the LAB section to check out the 25 shortlisted designers chosen to be supported by DMY and the IKEA Foundation with a free exhibition space. Close to production prototypes on show range from high tech bio design in the form of food packaging made from cultivated human skin cells, to humble reinvention of traditional pottery methods.

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Age indicating packaging made from human cells by Valerian Blos shows signs of age when the milk inside it starts to decay, so a dying package warns of bad food in an intuitive way.

Black Pottery

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Sara de Campos utilises the Barro Negro ceramic process to produce these delightfully simple black bowls. The smooth deep tone arises thanks to being covered with burning firewood and then vegetation.

Cones.

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London based designer and performance artist Jule Waibel’s flexible folding seats really stand out with an organic form evocative of shells or sea urchins. Their geometry is achieved by heating woollen felt with steam.

Compressed leather.

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Compressed leather is formed into rigid components to create offbeat tables featuring colourful abstract patterns. Spanish designer Jorge Penades has created a new role for leather in the 3D design world.

Plywood lounger.

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Inspired by the Vitruvian man, this carefully crafted plywood lounger conforms to human geometry perfectly, encouraging a relaxed recline. 5 axis CNC milling allows the accurate and smooth joins in the wood cut by Brussels design team Studio Modan.

The Showroom

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Established designers and brands take centre stage in the middle of the second floor. We were drawn by the elegant lines of Polish studio Loft Szcezin‘s oak furniture characteristed by muted natural oiled wood, smooth detailing and slimline, pared back cushioning. A perfectly formed bathroom cupboard shows meticulous attention to detail.

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Designer Jacek Kolasinski creates ready made and bespoke interior design and furniture projects.

The legendary armchair 366

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Polish design story is an exhibition within the show by culture.pl promoting the lost history of mid century design. 366 Concept is a young brand reviving Polish design. Their module 366 easy chair was designed by J. Chierowski in 1962 and now 366 Concept are producing the seat once more using all EU manufacture.

Lukas and Robert Chair.

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Stories from pop culture meet furniture in Lukas and Robertson‘s Prague atelier. The pair are motivated by the need to return nobility to forlorn old furniture pieces, using traditional techniques and revolutionary ideas to make one of a kind objects.

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This punk inspired drinks cabinet, complete with the lyrics from the Dead Kennedys ‘Too drunk to fuck‘ inscribed on the back.

Lana Chair.

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A new interpretation of the Acapulco chair from Mexican Designer Milena Romero is ultimately comfortable and made to turn heads with it’s chunky crochet knotted cover. Designer Romero had travelled from her home in Stuttgart and was on hand to show us how she plaits the huge wool ropes together to make the Lana Chair. It’s available in a huge array of colours.

Paper Sculptures.

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We loved these fun Paper Sculptures, providing a modern update on the traditional taxidermy moose head and reminding us that decoration should have a sense of humour sometimes!

Adam Slowi.

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This light demands a second look, at first it looks like a simple experiment with flourescent tube, but on closer inspection, the basic shape of four angles allow all 26 letters of the alphabet to be depicted. Adam Slowik from Berlin has created a limited edition of 26 typographic lighting pieces.

Industrial.

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Industrial style lampshades are always popular and Firelamps take things a step further by repurposing fire fighting equipment and fittings. Aleksandra Jakuc told us how she used fire to create the unique finishes on each lamp.

Artichair.

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As you’d hope for in any future focused event, green design and sustainable products were high on the agenda. The winners of the 2015 Green product Awards include a number of sustainable gems suitable for future homes including living green sound insulation panels and chairs made from recycled and living substrates such as the Artichair, formed from Artichoke plants.

Education

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Downstairs, student presentations from organisations such as Lund University, Finland’s Institute of Design and Fine Arts, The Royal Academy of Art – The Hague and Nanyang Technological University Hong Kong were rich with innovative prototypes. Several examples will be presented in upcoming Homedit reports.

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Over the weekend various talks and workshops take place, we caught a conversation between Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni and host Andreas Toelke about design heritage versus global brand building. Lissoni offered advice to design graduates starting out in their careers but was curiously unemotional about globalisation and the loss of local handcrafts and manufacture. He called the change to using anonymous global supply lines a ‘natural evolution’ even though he himself is supported by a wealth of traditional craftspeople and rich local design culture in northern Italy. His easy acceptance of the removal of many modern products DNA and heritage seemed at odds with the message coming from the showroom, that manufacturing technique, the makers and craftspeople and provenance of materials, are an important part of a designer’s offering.

Berliner Zimmer

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Local design provides a setting for hellos and goodbyes, plus a designated ‘selfie point’ in the so called Berliner Zimmer. Award winning Marlon chairs from Axel Veit play with 50s modernist furniture icons to create strong new shapes. With wallpaper from Gosia Gallery setting a playful tone with a minimalist take on the Kamasutra, the Zimmer brings a bright welcoming atmosphere to the venue entrance. If possible it would have been great to see some more space around the objects, as the number of pieces shown made it hard to spend time considering any one design.

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The flavour of the Berliner Zimmer might whet ones appetite to visit many of the Creative Hubs taking part in the DMY event throughout the city, should you be lucky enough to be in Berlin this weekend, you will find an exciting array of satellite events at venues like the Museum der Dinge in Kreuzberg and Bauhaus Archiv.