#26 - Battling Megacorps

London: The Hybrid Museum


Courtesy of The Design Museum

On the eve before the London Design Festival kicked off, guests entered the Molteni&C Dada flagship store on Shaftesbury Avenue for a discussion on “How design is communicated,” led by Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, and the journalist Marcus Fairs, founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen.

A former reporter himself, Sudjic likened design to journalism as both professions are “all about asking questions” and telling stories. He mused that museums could even begin replacing magazines, newspapers and television as the media industry faces serious financial challenges and many cultural institutions become prolific content producers in their own right.

Sudjic noted that many more journalists have been “sucked into the world of museums” as they seek to escape the “lightning speed response, which is all very well for reporting the next big thing, but not always the best way to reflect on what some of these things might do.”

Fairs wondered if the way museums assemble collections and exhibitions is perhaps a little too slow to keep up with the manic cycle of news, asking, “Do museums need to become faster or more responsive?

“I think they need to go at several speeds at once, with the layer of slowness of securing a major exhibition,” Sudjic replied. “Creating physical experiences that reflect on key stories cannot be done with magazines–but you need to have another quicker level, like the ‘Designs of the Yearawards, which provide an important record.”

A museum is a hybrid of many forms of communication,” Sudjic said.

The Design Museum is now closed and will reopen on High Street Kensington on 24 November 2016.

 Special Guest Vincent Van Duysen

The discussion celebrated the launching of Molteni&C’s new collection, focused on architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen’s centerpiece, plush Paul sofa and its accompanying coffee tables. The Paul modular system lets users shape their sofa to fit a variety of spaces. Van Duysen became creative director of Molteni&C in April, tasked with defining a “more sophisticated look” to distinguish the company from other Italian brands.

The Belgian designer said his pieces in the 2016 collection were inspired by the “understated, quiet” aesthetic of his Antwerp home and the 1930s splendor of Villa Necchi in Milan, the city where Molteni&C was born.

Van Duysen also worked on the new VVD range for Dada, Molteni’s luxury kitchen brand. A color scheme anchored in subtle shades of gray conveys his concept of finding a natural focus: Cupboards and drawers are made from light shades of wood as a contrast to marble surfaces and fittings sculpted from sleek metals which do not look shiny or processed. Just like his furniture designs, Van Duysen’s penchant for clean lines is clearly accentuated.

About the Author

Frederick Bernas is a journalist, filmmaker and photographer living in Latin America.

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