Design is in the air

Organised by the CID Grand-Hornu, the exhibition “Design on Air” will explore the element of air in the world of design.

On show from June 23 to October 10, 2019 at the CID Grand-Hornu (Belgium), the exhibition “Design on Air” will look at the relationship between air and design, presenting the work of a series of designers who have used this intangible element for artistic and technological  experimentations, but also to tackle pressing environmental issues.

“Air not only forms the object of study in chemistry, physics and biology; it has always been an important inspiration in art, literature and philosophy. We wanted to know what this means in design”, explains Chris Meplon, the exhibition’s curator. Divided into six chapters, the overview of “Design on Air” will range from air as a constructive and protective material, to the vital importance of oxygen for life on Earth. Designed by Belgian interior designer Benjamin Stoz, the scenography will alternate wooden podiums that seem to float with metal grid modules that allow air to circulate freely.

Oskar Zieta, Zieta BazAir. Installation view Simona Cupoli. Courtesy CID Grand Hornu

The iconic inflatable furniture of the 1960s – which at their time intended to question the conformity of the interiors of the western world – will be represented by the Aérospace collection by Franco-Vietnamese engineer Quasar Khan, who, when designing it, was inspired by the weightlessness of a lunar journey which had then finally become a reality.

Featured in the show are also the projects of renowned contemporary designers such as Maarten Baas with his Clay fan and Marcel Wanders with his Carbon Balloon Chair – a lightweight carbon fibre seat that can unexpectedly bear the weight of an adult despite being made of balloons.

Julien Carretero, This is a fan, 2009. © Julien Carretero. Courtesy CID Grand Hornu

Matter of innovation and experimentation, air is also at the centre of many recent projects that challenge established production methods. Exemplary is the innovative technique – called FiDU – invented by the Polish Oskar Zieta that allows two sheets of metal welded at their edges to be blown into 3D objects.

Finally, “Design on Air” will also address how some designers – amongst others Julian Melchiorri and Philippe Tabet – are facing the threats of Anthropocene in terms of pollution, finding solutions to purify both indoor and outdoor air artificially.

Jun Kamei, Amphibio, 2018 © Jun Kamei. Courtesy CID Grand Hornu
Exhibition title:
Design on air
Opening dates:
June 23 - October 10, 2019
CID Grand-Hornu (Belgium)
Curator :
Chris Meplon

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