“Home of the Future” is closely related to earlier exhibitions at the same location that likewise had a focus on architecture and design: 2007’s “Full House” on occasion of the Design Mai festival and 2010’s “Graft Architects – Distinct Ambiguity”. The space in which Aisslinger presents his visions of the future was once a private mansion. Built at the beginning of the 1920s in a rather old-fashioned style quite uncharacteristic for the time, it has since 1946 provided a due setting for the presentation of international contemporary art. This is now Aisslinger’s location of choice when it comes to cameoing his down-to-earth yet utopian living forms. Although the visions that Aisslinger formulates aren’t new artistic positions but rather three-dimensional spatial sketches that can be read as an appeal to manufacturers and designers to depart from the beaten track and at least occasionally re-embark on the search for something new.

Aisslinger has created a series of installations designed specifically for display on the villa’s ground floor. The point of departure for this work is a space with walls displaying selected utopian designs from the 1960s and 1970s and which has a model of the “Loft Cube” hanging from the ceiling at its center. Designed by Werner Aisslinger together with his brother Achim, the compact living cube in the original dimensions has been floating there in the gardens of the mansion that overlooks the Waldsee for years now. For the duration of the exhibition the building’s façade will be superimposed with a checkered collage of colorful Kvadrat upholstery fabrics. A Porsche 928 has also been shrouded in fabric. This is comment on the extension of lifetime and the advancement of design in times of sustainability propaganda and an obsession with insulation that seems to be spreading like wildfire.

Aisslinger evidences a keen curiosity as to design’s potential for interventions in favor of new social spheres of activity. But until now, design – a prime example being „urban gardening” – has little more to offer than an industrial legacy that one could also refer to as planters. Aisslinger’s „production kitchen” even incorporates fish farming and vegetable cultivation in its cooking processes. But, of course using the new ADD shelving system for Flötotto, this goes no further than a series of insinuations. This is also the case with the „textile bathroom biotope” which reinterprets the ordinarily harsh and delineated bathroom space as a kind of planting frame with moveable basins and tubs, whose materials collect up the moist mist that fills the bathroom and use it to nurture a botanical landscape.

Some steps offer a place to sit and admire the view of the garden; the atmosphere hinting at new ways of use and life, as does a relaxation landscape made of “honeycomb” elements. It would be an error to look for prototypes and precursors to future products and product worlds. Instead, and this is one of the most disturbing things about a design exhibition, Aisslinger uses the designer toolkit to appoint tasks for the future, announcing his interest in continuing to sound out issues that go beyond present-day product policies employed in marketing departments.

On the upper floor, the designer also affords insights into his working methods, into material research projects (such as the Juli chair for Cappellini, which is made of the material usually used to pad out steering wheels in cars), into the development process behind a stacking chair made of hemp (“Hempchair” for Moroso) and into the future-oriented project to make an item of seating furniture using embroidered structures, whose base material dissolves in water.

Anyone who recognizes Aisslinger above all as a successful industrial designer who at times cultivates existing typologies, at others operates them with virtuosity, will be left rubbing their eyes here. For it is these research and search projects, which form the basis for this industrial work, that are put up for discussion here. As such, the exhibition invites visitors to once again question the certainties surrounding design and the designer but also to drive design forward without treading into the territory of art. And that in a place that is in fact dedicated to art. Outstanding.

Werner Aisslinger – Home of the Future
April 21 til June 9, 2013
Haus am Waldsee, Berlin

Could you revive a car with a new skin? Photo © Thomas Edelmann
It’s not art but does that make it design?
by Thomas Edelmann
May 17, 2013
For the duration of the exhibition the building’s façade will be superimposed with a checkered collage of colorful Kvadrat upholstery fabrics. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
The space in which Aisslinger presents his visions of the future was once a private mansion. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
Pimp up my car: A Porsche 928 appears in a new robe. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
The bathroom as a fog trap: Aisslinger's sanitary installation consists of soft tubs and basins, the collected water vapor from the bath is watering the plants. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
Experiment from 2010: "NETwork" was embroidered as a honeycomb lattice pattern on a water-soluble cellulose carrier. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
Insight in the workflow: In a room with skribbels and sketches, Aisslinger demonstrates individual steps of his projects. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
Furniture from the greenhouse? Using the example of fast-growing bamboo, Aisslinger created an unconventional image of a possible future. Photo © Thomas Edelmann
Popular in Berlin, "Urban Gardening" is brought into the house. The kitchen is the production place for food. Is it really an utopia? Photo © Thomas Edelmann