From September 25 – November 8, 2015, the Swiss Institute holds its second annual Architecture and Design Series, “PAVILLON DE L’ESPRIT NOUVEAU: A 21st Century Show Home,” curated by Felix Burrichter. Three Dutch artists participate: Joris Laarman, Studio Drift, and Marlie Mul.
In 1925, the original “Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau,” created by Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier was part of the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs. Le Corbusier’s pavillion caused an uproar among the fair’s organizers; in the show, which was intended to promote the Art Déco style, his design was dismissed as antithetical. Today, however, Le Corbusier’s “Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau,” is seen as a manifesto that introduced revolutionary design concepts such as building standardization, mass production, and mechanization of the home.
In homage to Le Corbusier’s original ideas, the exhibition by Burrichter acts as a show home for the 21st century and explores contemporary modes of domesticity, as well as innovation in furniture design. The exhibition features 30 international designers and artists, most of whom have created new works, and all pieces bear elements of fabrication or material that highlight industrial progress made in the last 15 years. Laser-cutting, 3D-printing, LED-technology, non-woven textiles, and ultra-light carbon-fiber are all featured.
In the words of Le Corbusier, “PAVILLON DE L’ESPRIT NOUVEAU” aims to capture “a turning point in the design of modern interiors and a milestone in the evolution of architecture.”
Dutch designer, artist, and entrepreneur Joris Laarman is best known for his experimental designs inspired by emerging technologies. In 2004 Laarman founded Joris Laarman Lab, together with his partner Anita Star. The lab is an experimental playground set up to study and shape the future. Goal is to add cultural meaning to the technological process and to show the beauty of how things work. In 2011, Joris Laarman Lab received 1 of 8 Innovator of the Year Awards presented by the Wall Street Journal Magazine. Its works is part of the permanent collection of renowned international museums including the MoMa, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, and Rijksmuseum.
Founded by Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn in 2006, Studio Drift explores the relationship between nature, technology, and mankind. The philosophy of the studio is to create a dialogue between two opposites: nature and technology, knowledge and intuition, science fiction and nature. To foster such dialogues, Studio Drift works together with scientists, universities, research facilities, engineers, and programmers on innovative projects that are a testament to the cross-pollination between the technically advanced, the aesthetically beautiful, and the awareness of future potential. Light is a key element in Studio Drift’s works, but it is always used as an artistic ingredient rather than as a tool of illumination.
Marlie Mul is a Dutch-born artist based in Berlin. Her work often focuses on themes of communication and technology, but also on form and function and how these two aspects of objects and art influence each other. Mul’s sculptures often simulate everyday outdoor objects that refer to human interaction such as air vents used as ashtrays, snow heaps with stubbed out cigarette butts, or rain puddles littered with bits of trash. The situations present an invisible presence of a virtual population or crowd.