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Quirky furnishings

Werner Aisslinger’s Books, which redefines a book as a component of this piece of furniture as well as a cultural icon. It is featured at Galeri Petronas’ New Olds: Design Between Tradition And Innovation, a travelling exhibition from Germany which examines the relationship of traditional designs in modern furniture applications./The Star

Publication Date : 10-02-2014


Household paraphernalia on display – but not as you would expect


You might as well have stepped into Ikea. Lining the floor from one end to another, grandly displayed in aesthetic splendour, are chairs, tables, carpets and armoires and a whole array of furniture. But don’t expect the norm. For, unlike the Swedish furniture retailer, this is no ordinary presentation of household paraphernalia.

Presented by the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations and designed by 45 German, European and American designers, 60 furniture pieces are part of a travelling exhibition called New Olds: Design Between Tradition And Innovation.

Last year, this exhibition also showed at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. For the next two months, the New Olds furniture will take up residence at Galeri Petronas, KLCC.

What this exhibition aspires is simply to examine the relationship of traditional designs in modern furniture applications. In other words, New Olds can be viewed as a social and aesthetic exploration on how modern furniture designs, albeit sold as new, actually have a historic and cultural undergirding.

Galeri Petronas’ curator and head of exhibitions Badrolhisham Tahir said: “We hope that the exhibition will motivate and nurture local designers to embrace the concepts and inspire them to incorporate varied Malaysian cultural traditions into their designs.”

The New Olds designers, each with the trappings of their own culture and heritage, explored the relationship between tradition and innovation in contemporary design.

“Tradition in design is often not fully appreciated. Many of the designs sold as ‘new’ actually originate from a historical context, and are self-contained products of one country or culture, representing a new interpretation of traditional forms,” said Volker Albus, the curator of this exhibition.

Some of the articles on exhibit are Polka’s Polka Pots, velvet black kitchenware of various shapes and even more various types of handles. This piece sheds new meaning to traditional kitchenware, especially the use of handles.

Albus went on to say that the designers “have reflected on their respective cultures, questioned their design heritage and reinterpreted them in a modern sense”.

*New Olds: Design Between Tradition And Innovation is on till March 30 (10am till 8pm) at Galeri Petronas, Level 3, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Closed on Mondays.


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