Beckmans College of Design’s Never Mind the Object was one of my personal highlights from last year’s Stockholm Design Fair, and this year’s graduates’ group show is equally as impressive. Cynics (that know me) will say that using a bulldog in last year’s press shots, and naming this after one of my favourite albums, could have some bearing on my affections – how superficial do you people think I am? Actually, don’t answer that. But, truth be told, I’d fallen for the Beckmans student’s uncompromising body of work the moment I saw it at Stockholmsmässan last year – and, although I’m not there in person this year, Is This It? looks to be even more convention-dodgingly brilliant.
Once more, the works answer a thought-provoking brief, this time with Alchemy as the theme – all is not what it seems, or is it? Rejoicing in today’s celebration of thought over form, a time where “soulless objects on pedestals” are no longer so vacuously revered, Is This It? is rooted in a nice story told by design critic and curator Frida Jeppsson Prime that draws parallels between alchemy and design. Scientists must have known that the alchemists would never succeed in creating gold by processing miscellaneous metals and scrap, but they continued regardless, says Jeppsson Prime; highlighting that it was perhaps the journey that mattered, not the end result.
And it certainly looks as though the students have enjoyed their journey in delivering these works, highlights like Hanna Dalrot’s Back to the Roots and Nate by Lisa Berkert Wallard both visualising the journey that furniture takes, from nature, through design, process and into an end-product that hovers on the boundary of ‘finished’ – Is this it? The viewer may well ask, superficially it may be, but these works are all so much more.
See for yourself at Stockholm Furniture Fair’s Greenhouse, until 9th February.