London 2020 – THE NEW REALITY is the main theme of a program of virtual exhibitions organized by ADORNO for London Design Festival 2020. The digital-first online gallery hosts 14 country-specific environments, exploring how creatives have re-thought design in the wake of the first wave of the pandemic.
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Preparations for THE NEW REALITY began during the surge of COVID-19 across Europe. The curators of the participating countries have been asked to reflect on specific experiences, thoughts, and themes from the time of lockdown. The 14 participant nations are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands.
Curators have been working with 5-10 local designers at the intersection of craft and design to develop sub-narratives to the overarching theme, including gender, urbanisation, climate, isolation, and healing, among others.
As a native, digital e-commerce platform, ADORNO, harnessed the very best in tech to 3D-model the real-world pieces and to set the virtual environments, each one reflecting the design scene from which they hail – think gaming rather than room sets. “The aim was to take the term ‘online exhibition’ to the next level.” Explain at ADORNO.
We have selected 6 designs on show from our favourite country-specific environments.
Set on the country’s sandy dunes on the Baltic sea, the Lithuanian exhibition reflects the never-ending competition between humans and nature. Barbora Žilinskaitė presents the Afterwards vase which suggests devoting small actions to look after flowers. By throwing a small ball and pouring into the vase a new ritual keeps the flower alive.
An architectural setting frames the Spanish exhibition titled Back to Basics and featuring collectibles infused with circular economy. Alvaro Catalán de Ocón combines basketry and ceramics for a collection of vases ceramic, copper, and silica. The designer has developed an “innovative technique where, as a sort of alchemy, each piece is transformed into a new object in which colors and lines that ornate it emerge in an absolutely unique way through the firing process.”
UFO-shaped architecture reminiscent of both its past and present, dialogue with the pieces on show in the Polish exhibition. Pani Jurek’s TRN Lamp collection is composed of glazing ceramics, finished with brass elements. Inspired by Tarasin paintings which have a simple calligraphic, the lightings play and talk together as if they were letters from a non-existent alphabet.
As a space for travelling to and fro, the Romanian pavilion is set in a train station with concrete walls referring to past architectural ideals contrasted with the colourful, textural collectible design pieces. Here by Vasilica Isacescu for Zestrea & co/rizom presents a collection of folkloristic chairs which do not only radiate character & humour, but also transport Romania rich, distinct local heritage.
Plunge into digital underwater world to discover the work of Finnish designers. “A sense of calm engulfs the scene; the noise of the world is replaced by silence, providing an opportunity for contemplation.” CURTAIN by Helsinki-based Didi Ng is a minimal space divider without any straight lines which looks like standing fabric. The shape was inspired by the energetic flow of natural sea waves.
At the Belgium exhibition you can float up among the clouds, where functional design meets the surreal and personalised, artisanal practices are championed over mass-production. Titled Ceci n’est pas… the Magritte-inspired setting features COFIT-20 by Atelier Haute Cuisine. “Instead of designing a light fixture that covers the light bulb, we made a pedestal – a concrete brick – to display it”
THE NEW REALITY, all images: courtesy of ADORNO Gallery.
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