Monday, March 19, 2012

Design For A Living World

 I was left wondering about inspiration in my last post. It's a good starting point for today. After wandering the garden for a couple of hours we ended with a quick visit to Dorrance Hall and the Ottosen Gallery.

Currently on display through April 1st is the exhibition "Design for a Living World." Ten well known designers were challenged to create sustainable design(s) utilizing raw materials from 10 locations found around the globe.
The description states, "See how raw materials from around the globe are harvested, shaped, molded and woven into beautiful designs from nature. This world-class exhibit featuring the works of leading designers, tells stories of the people, plants and animals, and the importance of considering conservation when designing new products."
Walking into the gallery we encountered big cases with a bold black and white map of the world. Materials in their raw state were placed on their geographical location. Seen here, bamboo from the Hunan Province in China.
Each display was surrounded by large, colorful photographs highlighting the people and the material in their natural environment. Designer Ezri Tarazi used bamboo to make an array of furniture pieces. 
Light fixture. 
CD storage.
Book storage. I'd have a forest of these with all my books.
Designer Hella Jongerius worked with chicla latex from the Maya forest of Mexico. I watched the video of her process a couple of times. She came to know the properties of the material well through lots of experimentation. The chicla was fickle and fragile on its own. She found she could wind it on spools to create these sculptural forms.
She combined the chicla with her ceramics. What resembles raffia binding is the chicla wound around the form.
Chicla pressed onto the ceramic pitcher. It had a beautiful texture to it.
Kate Spade New York sketch and bag. She created hand bags from woven jipijapa fiber and morado wood from Bolivia.
I saved my favorite for last. Salmon leather from the Alaskan coast. I was caught off guard by the beauty of the leather. In its white state it could have been treated reptile skin.
Fashion designer  Isaac Mizrahi had the leather sent to a Paris atelier where it was made into sequins. The sequins were sewn onto organza fabric which was cut and sewn into this dress and coat.
The shoes he created were pretty amazing too. That man makes me crazy with his genius. This was so beautiful in its simplicity. Watching him explain his process on his video gave me a different perspective of him as a designer. Week after week of seeing him judge on Project Runway All Star, he comes off quite diva-ish. This was another side to him that I really responded to.

I plan to go back and give this exhibit another visit when I'm fresh.
I passed over way too quickly other designers like the gentleman that used these nuts to create exquisite jewelery.

While the objects displayed are creative and beautiful the deeper message about looking at the environment around us is equally inspiring. TIME magazine's cover story for March 12th spotlighted the 10 ideas that are changing our lives. Number 9-Nature is Over led with the quote, "Humans have had a direct impact on more than 3 three quarters of the ice free land on earth. Almost 90% of plant activity takes place in ecosystems where people play a significant role." Frightening? Perhaps. A kick in the butt? Why not? 
What can you find in your natural environment to put to use in an environmentally responsible manner?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marissa,
    I received my beautiful postcard from you today. Thank you so much! I love all the textures!!! Is there a special name for the figure on the front? Thank you too for taking me with you to the different exhibits. I had the same Impression of designer Issac, from watching him on all stars. We practice all kinds of sustainability up here in Alaska. Everything on Amook Island is used for at least two tasks before being burned for fuel or returned to the ocean. That's one great thing about this swap!!! We get to talk with people from all over the world! Please tell me more about the desert. Everyone thinks that the Arctic is barren, but they haven't seen it in the spring when it is covered with birds, wild flowers and grasses and caribou. The trees may be only inches high, but they do an awful lot of production in the short time they have for spring and summer. Of course I live in the temperate part of Alaska. We have whales out in front of our house, sea lions, seals, sea birds, song birds, eagles, ravens, the wonderful animals in the tidals zones, etc. Hugs from Alaska.