Paola walks on to the mainstage and notices that she matches with absolutely everything: I guess I’m wearing red, I didn’t notice this morning.
She’s talking about SAFE…
The organizers of the audience felt that it was quite timely, it’s kind of sad because this exhibition has always been timely, is always timely. This is an exhibition not about fear, not about risks, not about dangers, but it’s first and foremost an exhibition about design. Design, in my opinion, and also in yours I’m sure, is one of the most powerful, most creative, encompassing endeavours that human beings can entertain.
Talks about making everyone in the world notice design, not just curlicued chests or black and decker drills.
Design can offer a tremendous amount of grace under pressure.
Exhibition will be marked by an icon, a Danish lifeguard station, already installed in the parking lot next to the folk art museum. We installed this lifeguard station there. Very beautiful, traditional iconic design, but realized in more understandable and smarter way. The foundation in Denmark that installs all these lifeguard stations had a competition with the lifeguards and the four that won are going to come to the opening.
SAFE encompasses all sorts of risks and dangers, from very serious ones such as the displacement of whole populations because of genocide or natural catastrophes all the way to the paper cut, without passing judgement, just showing. (with an image of Ban shelters).
Homeless shelters have been a favorite exercise for students and architects all over the world…materials are found materials, inventedness is urban.
ParaSITE, plugged onto the HVAC system, outlets for buildings, inflates like a balloon for a tennis court and protects the homeless person both from the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. The whole range of the exhibition goes from the real material pragmatic situations to psychological ones. Even in the area of shelters you move from homeless shelters and shelters from displaced populations to ones from people who just want to protect themselves from other people. This tree tent was first conceived to help some activists who wanted to save the forest in Scotland. Now being used in a camping site in the Netherlands… going to hang one in the exhibition.
Once you start talking about isolation, fear, protection, you fall a little bit into paranoia.
Show first conceived in March 2001, entitled Emergency. Ideas are always a dollar a pound, it’s making them happen that really makes a difference. Medical instruments and instruments for emergency are to designers what radio towers are to architects. There’s a bare-bones beauty… started thinking about ambulances, fire trucks, etc. Put it on the schedule, then September 11 happened. Didn’t think about the show for five days when a friend said ‘What about the show?’ and I said ‘What show?’ and shelved it. People knew about it, kept coming back, and the idea of safety emerged. With Hella Jongerius and Gregg Pasquarelli she organized the Aspen Conference. Stefan Sagmeister was there, talking about the relationship between design and risk. That one gave me a chance to really really refine the idea. Talking about safety as opposed to emergency really allows you to talk about grace under pressure, as well as comfort.
Show opens October 11. We’ll be there.