By David Thulstup, of Studio David Thulstrup
September looks set to be an interesting month of design events throughout Copenhagen and Denmark more widely. At Studio David Thulstrup, we are especially looking forward to one exhibition, thanks to its bold topic: time.
Design and art objects very often physically reflect the time of their creation. They manifest themselves as benchmarks of time – and help us see where one period starts and another ends. On top of that, time is an abstract and relative concept, which – for most of us – can be quite a disturbing and challenging idea, hard to grasp and even harder to portray materially. Herein lies the intrigue of the exhibition entitled ‘REAL TIME’.
The hosting gallery, Superobjekt, has challenged the established Danish design scene and asked seven experienced designers what time means to them, encouraging them to make these thoughts material through their design and working processes. In turn, they reveal inspiration, thoughts, doubts and references normally not in display in their final work.
Throughout their careers, the exhibited designers have all created objects that we know and appreciate in our daily life – for example, Ursula Munch Petersen’s beautiful dinnerware for Royal Copenhagen, Ole Søndergaard’s classical typeface Signa, Knud Holscher’s trendsetting D-line, and Peter Bysted’s design of the Danish national passport.
For the exhibition, the gallery has asked not for finished works, but rather for manifestations of conceptual ideas. This we find very refreshing, given that Danish design is not particularly known for being conceptual – instead, it tends to be thought of as rather minimalistic, functional and clean. REAL TIME offers us the rare opportunity to glimpse each designer’s thinking, methodology and design process – while the works will be embodied by their unique and often recognisable form.
Process-based design has long been a part of the Danish design tradition. Kaare Klint, widely known as the father of modern Danish furniture design, used extensive research and prototyping as part of his design process. His studied designs were based on functionality, craftsmanship and the use of high-quality materials. These design values have influenced generations of Danish designers ever since, and are fundamentally the foundation of Danish design.
In a contemporary context, we at the studio admire designers working with heavily process-based design methodology, such as Cecilie Manz. ‘Among contemporary Danish designers, Cecilie Manz is the finest representative of the Danish design tradition,’ said Rud Rasmussen, CEO at David Obel Rosenkvist. Rasmussen is the producer of Manz’s mini-bar design. ‘In fact, her approach to design – from feasibility study and analysis through solution – is straight out of the Klint school and is one of the most exciting, inspiring examples of the interpretation of modern Danish design today,’ he added.
In my own studio, we are proud of our on-site workshop and extensive library of materials. Having these on-hand enables us to push the boundaries of conventional use and application. This is an approach we share with our clients, with the intention of achieving transparency in the creative and collaborative process. To further challenge our perceptions and ideas about creative processes, we look forward to attending the exhibition REAL TIME. There, we will see how the designers have used materials to express the everlasting, abstract and challenging concept of time.
REAL TIME Exhibition at Superobjekt Gallery. Opening 11 September 2015, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Running until 26 September 2015. Borgergade 15E, 1300 Copenhagen.