Ceramic dishes «Glove» by Konstantin Grcic, 2002. Photo by «Studio Schuurmans» / «Het Kruithuis»

Until June 14, exhibition «Somewhat Different. Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention / Anders als immer. Zeitgenössisches Design und die Macht des Gewohnten» by the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) is open at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (MDAD) in Riga.

Stories Editorial April 15, 2015

The exhibition features selected design examples that strikingly characterise a contemporary design phenomenon — the ability to look at things from an unconventional perspective. The great diversity of possible solutions for design challenges is illustrated by 106 different design works and a total of 148 objects, created by 47 designers and design collectives based in Germany and 20 more in other European countries — Denmark, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Switzerland.

During the exhibition’s international tour the curators of «Somewhat Different» had invited all the participating partners to put forward works by local designers that respond to design problems in a «somewhat different» manner. Therefore the exhibition in Riga holds works of six Latvian design studios and individual designers — «Variant Studio», «Rijada», «Mammalampa», «Riga Chair», Māra Skujeniece and Jānis Straupe.

A bookshelf, a Persian rug, an easy chair — these generic terms alone trigger associations and lead to fixations relating to the structural, decorative and configurative aspects of the objects. This is why designers deliberately subvert their general, conventional understanding to reveal their absurdity. The exhibited designs challenge spectators to reflect on the general expectations, codes of behaviour as well as the firmly established notions and traditional fixations. For it is these «breaks with the power of convention» that in their causality document the far–reaching socio–cultural changes which we currently witness in all areas of our daily lives, especially in such phenomena as mobility, migration, change of food perception and eating habits, and many more.

The exhibition is accompanied by several events. Within the framework of the seminar «Fashion and design: trends, business, creativity» a lecture «Line — out. Sketching for fashion design students» will be held by Claudia Arend, a professor at the AMD academy in Germany, on April 16 at the International exhibition centre, Ķīpsalas iela 8.

On April 23 a documentary film «How to make a book with Steidl» on the exclusive photo art book publishing house in Göttingen, Germany will be demonstrated at the Goethe–Institut Riga, Torņa iela 1 (entrance from Klostera iela).

On April 29 at 17.00 the «Talks at the Museum» will take place, featuring talks by the Latvian designers whose works are displayed at the exhibition and the director of MDAD Inese Baranovska.

During  the Museum Night on May 16 from 19.00 to 24.00, there will be creative workshops held at the exhibition, during which the participants will learn about the connection between Rainis and Goethe and get to know a different thinking in literature and design. More information on the exhibition «Somewhat different» and the connected events can be found on the homepage of MDAD.

The exhibition is organised by the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) and Goethe–Institut Riga in collaboration with The Latvian National Museum of Art. The exhibition is open at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Skārņu iela 10/20, Riga.