All objects that we come across in our daily lives include elements of design, whether it’s the home we live in, a toothbrush, or even potato chips. Some designers focus on function, others on beauty, and many aim to combine several factors. A new exhibit at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design explores new design spins on everyday objects
Dubbed New West Coast Design 2, the show features about 60 works made by contemporary designers living in California, Oregon, and Washington. The objects range from chairs and stools to skateboards and bicycles. Each designer in the show takes a stab at making these quotidian items more modern, unique, minimal, or useful.
“Design is really problem solving,” Kathleen Hanna, co-curator for the show, said during a press preview. “Everything you touch in your daily life started with a problem and a designer is solving that problem.”
This is the second New West Coast Design show the museum has hosted. The first exhibit was five years ago; this time around, Hanna and co-curator Ted Cohen wanted to put together an updated version of the show looking at some of the new technology and techniques being used by designers. For example, viewers will see objects made with 3D printers and others that use LED lighting or laser cutting technology.
One section of the exhibit showcases design of bicycles and bike parts. There’s Tournesol Siteworks’ stunning black steel bike rack ready to drill onto street corners and Soulcraft’s bicycle frame that can screw apart and back together again. Colin Owen of Sparse created LED bike lights, which he said were “designed to high hell,” that both compliment bicycle design and make cyclists more visible to cars.
Throughout the show, viewers will see several tables, chairs, and stools. Along with exquisitely carved wood pieces, many of these household objects are also made from unique materials, like steel, cardboard, concrete, aluminum, twine, felt, and even plastic brushes.
Alexander Purcell Rodrigues created a sparse aircraft grade aluminum chair called the “Cartesian Chair” that is subtlety painted with an ombre fade of navy blue to black. This elegant piece has hidden screws to make it look like it was made from one block of metal. Rodrigues said his goal was to “create it with minimal materials and as simple as possible.”
With so many featured objects and designers, New West Coast Design 2 is definitely worth a visit. Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 3rd Street, San Francisco. Show runs from October 26 to January 5, 2014.