The motto of this year’s DMY participants seems to be: Catch the eye, grab attention. In the huge hangar at Berlin’s former Tempelhof airport, some 500 companies, designers and colleges set out to curry the visitors’ favor. In the New Talents section it all proves worthwhile: Here, young designers present their experimental and future-oriented projects. Excitement, playfulness and fun seem to be the stance, with designs focused less on use than on surprising us.
For example, a yellow robot called “The Worker” happily bulldozes away in an outsized sandbox, while its head is brightly illuminated. Robot and luminaire are united here as a happening. In the colleges, new talent often dabbles in the experimental too, toying with unexpected oppositions and trompe l’oeil effects. On the wall, stealth in store, is what Laura Christopheri of Hochschule Burg Giebichenstein probably thought. What looks from afar like a solid brick wall turns out to be a soft foam structure that Christopheri has shaped such that you can sink into it – hard shell, soft interior, as it were. Encouraging us to rethink our often all too rigid notions of things.
Not just the wall, but other objects likewise invite you to try them, offering insights into the design process – such as a machine that decorates plates with drops, and bring a smile to the visitor’s face.
Poetic greets from Poland
After guest countries like the Netherlands and Finland, this year it’s Poland’s turn to take the DMY limelight. Which it definitely deserves. Not only Poland’s economy has managed to catch up with the best in the European union in recent years, as the Polish art and design scene has likewise made up much ground. As can be seen, for example, at the Lodz Design Festival, which is increasingly attracting international attention. In fact, 40 Polish designers, studios, colleges and institutions have traveled to Berlin to give DMY visitors an idea of current design trends in their country.
With his “Shadow maker” Jakub Szcesny catches the eye with a very poetic project: In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the fair he has placed a tree – with cards hanging from it like a mobile, intended not just as a way to recover from the ordeal of the fair but also to present Warsaw’s beauty – in 28 different shots.
Peruse, play, puzzle
While making yourself comfortable beneath Szcesny’s “tree” after a tough day at the DMY, the beautiful sights in Warsaw breeze around you, and this mobile for adults simply lets your mind wander. On the last day of the DMY parts of the installation were gifted to visitors’ children; so Poland made its mark, and not just symbolically in kids’ rooms, but also in the design scene. And at the end of the day, and the DMY, the feeling is that it was good fun with little place for boredom, but somehow the real innovations that would have been worth reporting on were simply nowhere to be seen. Meaning the fair, which started out life as Designmai, remains more a place to peruse, play and puzzle over design…