Profile: Li Edelkoort and Fetishism in Fashion

By Penny Craswell

I wrote this article following an interview with Li Edelkoort, one of the world’s leading trend futurists. The interview was conducted over a garden breakfast during the Milan Furniture Fair 2014, was commissioned by Kobe Johns (now of JP Finsbury) and was first published in the DesignEX catalogue 2014.

Left: an image from Fetishism in Fashion exhibition, Right: Li Edelkoort
Left: an image from Fetishism in Fashion exhibition, Right: Li Edelkoort

“My job is to anticipate what will be coming.” Lidewij Edelkoort, or Li for short, is one of the best known and most respected trend forecasters in the world. The list of brands she has worked with reads like a who’s who, including Coca-Cola, Lacoste, Disney, Siemens, GAP, L’Oreal. She regularly releases trend books that are sold to top brands all over the world, she started a number of magazines, including Bloom, which presents fashion, design, perfume and more inspired by horticulture. She directed the Design Academy Eindhoven from 1998 to 2008 and established a new design school in Poland in 2011 that merges design with humanities subjects like psychology or anthropology called the School of Form. Read more

Review: Archeological iPhone at New York art installation

By Penny Craswell

US artist Evan Yee has created an exhibition and installation at the offices of the Fueled Collective in New York that explores technology, future and past, and humanity’s relationship to it through a series of humorous objects, including an iPhossil, which posits a distant future where an iPhone is an archeological find.

The artist Evan Yee poses with Fuelled Collective founders Ryan Matzner and Rameet Chawla. Image: Fuelled Collective
The artist Evan Yee (left) poses with Fueled Collective Director Ryan Matzner (centre) and Fueled Collective Founder and CEO Rameet Chawla (right). Image: Fueled Collective/Evan Yee

The Fueled Collective is a co-working space for start-ups that opened in New York’s trendy So-Ho in 2013, started by Rameet Chawla and Ryan Matzner of mobile development company Fueled.

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Review: Experimental Practice exhibition at RMIT Design Hub

By Penny Craswell

A desolate landscape with a long stretch of road. Two cold war era cars pull up and a man gets out of each car. Both men wear the cliched clothes of a cold war era spy. Solemnly, they exchange a suitcase and files before sobbing, getting back in the car and driving away, all filmed with a slow, meditative quality. This is the scenario in London artist Noam Toran’s video work “If We Never Meet Again” which features what the artist calls an “exchange of things by men”. The work explores design as an event and is one of a number of works exploring the limits of design in “Experimental Practice: Provocations In and Out of Design”.

Curated by UNSW’s Katherine Moline (my Masters supervisor), and RMIT’s Brad Haylock and Laurene Vaughan, the exhibition just finished its run at the RMIT Design Hub in Melbourne as part of the 2015 Melbourne International Design Festival and explores what Katherine refers to as “design gone feral”. Rather than showing design as a finished object divorced from its process, the exhibition seeks out work that is in progress,explores works that push the boundaries of design and art, showing process, design thinking and other experimental modes. By doing so, Katherine seeks to: “shift perceptions that works of art and design ‘arrive’ from nowhere both conceptually and materially as fully formed” and in the process provides a series of works that are about change. Read more

National Gallery of Victoria announces Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture

By Penny Craswell

Some excellent news for those in the design and architecture community came from Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) last week – the establishment of a Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture. Institutional support of design in Australia has been patchy at best over the years, with excellent initiatives such as the State of Design (also Victoria), scrapped, while ideas for a Museum of Design a la London have never gained the critical government or institutional support needed to get them off the ground.

"I Dips Me Lid" by John Wardle Architects is the first NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture
“I Dips Me Lid” by John Wardle Architects is the first NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture

Design and architecture inhabit an unusual space. In many ways, the showing of work in a gallery or museum (or even festival) setting is not required, especially when you consider the strength of the actual industries themselves – Cochlear bringing the latest design innovation to the world, global architecture firms like Woods Bagot competing on the world stage and firms from Europe and North America turning to Australia during dark economic times. Read more

Investment in Australian design at Melbourne Indesign

By Penny Craswell

One of the most important events on the Australian design calendar, Melbourne Indesign (previously Saturday Indesign) featured some wonderful content, especially from the largest furniture suppliers, and especially by home-grown talent.

Stylecraft celebrated Australian design at Melbourne Indesign. Image: Stylecraft
Stylecraft celebrated Australian design at Melbourne Indesign. Image: Stylecraft

CULT featured two impressive launches. The first was Wrong for Hay, featuring a mini-market enticing visitors on the day to buy a piece of the action and hosting a visit by London-based designer and founder of the brand Sebastian Wrong. He spoke on Saturday morning about the origins and aims of the brand, continuing his fostering of emerging design talent as initiated when he was at Established & Sons. “People are buying work not because of the designer name but because it works for them,” he said. Read more

Object Future exhibition shows fresh face of design

By Penny Craswell

Design exhibitions have always played second fiddle to art exhibitions. Perhaps this is because, in order to sell their work, the artist must exhibit it, whereas the designer can sell it via a manufacturer who makes and sells it for them.

Jonathan Ben-Tovim's Up-Down Light
Jonathan Ben-Tovim’s Up-Down Light

However, the benefits of design exhibitions cannot be underestimated. Apart from online, an emerging designer may have no other way to show their work when first starting out.

For the second year in a row, Object Future gives emerging designers the opportunity to exhibit, this year at Allpress Studio in Melbourne. The co-curators of the show, emerging curator Suzannah Henty and emerging designer Dale Hardiman, have sought out some exceptional design from some great fresh talent this year. Read more