Tradition meets innovation at New Olds exhibition

  • Living
  • Saturday, 08 Mar 2014

A design exhibition from Germany showcases thought-provoking products that straddle the divide between tradition and innovation.

IS it possible to ferret out “new” or “original” design in this day or age? Or, are “new” products a mere reinterpretation of traditional forms, materials or processes? And how imperative is it to look back into our past in order to look forward?

These are some pertinent questions raised at the New Olds: Design Between Tradition And Innovation exhibition currently ongoing at Galeri Petronas, Suria KLCC.

Curated by German architect and product designer Volker Albus, New Olds showcases 60 objects that delve into the link between the old and new in contemporary design. Supported by Germany’s Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen/IFA), the exhibition has toured Israel, India, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia to date.

Forty-five designers and design teams from across Europe and the United States present their various approaches: from using innovative materials for “old” iconic designs to breathing new life into dilapidated everyday objects and redefining furniture typology.

Take the Carbon Chair by award-winning Dutch designers Bertjan Pot and Marcel Wanders. The duo paid homage to design legends Charles and Ray Eames by updating the Eameses’ moulded fibreglass chair (designed in 1950) using carbon fibre and epoxy resin. The chair’s original Eiffel base proved unstable for these new materials so Pot and Wanders redesigned the chair with a more stable leg configuration. Manufactured by Dutch design brand Moooi, the chair is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Polka Pots, Marie Rahm and Monica Singer: Traditional enamel pots are transformed into a
new tableware collection by adding handles that are decorative and functional. – Photo by Michael

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