Form follows performance – The DMY Festival in Berlin
von Vera Siegmund | May 28, 2008

DMY – the initials of the design event in Berlin in May are still the same, but now they stand for Daily, Monthly, Yearly – and that means quite simply: Design forever! A passionate demonstration of love – of design as creative capital. For the refreshing thing about the DMY International Design Festival is the many young designers who are presenting their works for the first time and before they have become big business. What we see are ideas which have directly transformed into products, which makes many of the results visually very interesting.

One such highlight was the appealing wax luminaire “Ikarus” by Aylin Kayser and Christian Metzner, a pendant lamp with a light bulb inside its solid wax body which gradually melts it. Thus analogous to the energy consumption of the light bulb, the entire luminaire undergoes a transformation in form – drop by drop and in slow motion, so to speak.

In their designs, many of the DMY Youngsters, who continue to form the core of the design festival, explored changes in the environment and thus also the product world of the future. Why continually create new products when we can still make so much from the ones we already have? This question forms the starting point of several recycling and upcycling considerations. Upcycling? This involves the idea of transforming obsolete objects or product parts into something with a new, higher utilization value instead of feeding them to the shredder. This explanation originates from Jürgen Breiter, who sees himself as an “urban curator” and obtains his wealth of materials and inspiration from that which the urbane organism offers in terms of scrap objects.

In principle, the more mundane the object, the greater the ‘wow’ factor. The light blue “PET Light Show” by the Walking-Chair Design Studio in Vienna is an illuminated installation made of crumpled PET water bottles, which is nothing short of a sparkling crystal palace by Swarovski. Critical irony, like the bird box disguised as a surveillance camera by Chris & Ruby in Friesland, and cost-saving DIY appliances are very popular among the young designers. As Peter Schäfer showed with “Ad hoc”, a couple of handles are sufficient to derive completely new functions out of conventional furniture with the help of vises. The Polish designer duo Gogo directly involved the consumer in the product production process: Anyone who bought one of their wooden-cased radios had to first saw it off from a long beam. The performance of the Fachhochschule Potsdam (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam) would have wowed any circus audience. From the muscular smith via the sure brushstrokes of a porcelain painter and a ropemaker to research into loud bangs, they demonstrated live how design comes to be.

At the DMY Allstars too, the solo and group shows by national and international designers, design as experience was at the forefront. Open studios such as that belonging to Werner Aisslinger, lectures by producers including the Swiss cult bag manufacturer Markus Freitag and object premieres by prominent designers like Karim Rashid and the designer duo El Ultimo Grito at the Bombay Sapphire Gallery showed new trends. The tour continued on to the cheerful everyday commodities by Israeli designers, the tongue-in-cheek links between tradition and Modernity in the exhibits in the Turkish Delight exhibition at the Pergamonmuseum and the orchestration of works by Hungary’s most progressive designers, by way of an unconventional design feast. All this resulted in the creation of new contexts and design was made more tangible than at a trade fair.

As with the flowing “Red dress” by the Korean Aamu Song, which spreads out to fill the hall from where an artist is speaking in the middle and takes up the whole audience in its folds of fabric, every visitor was at the center of the current design scene.

Performance of the FH Potsdam
useful things by Gogo from Poland
Red Dress by Aamu Song
DMY Youngster 2008
useful things by Gogo from Poland
Red Dress by Aamu Song