From February 6 to 10, students and lecturers of the Design Department of the Art Academy of Latvia (AAL) are participating in the Greenhouse section of the Stockholm Furniture Fair. The exhibition Un/necessary addresses the question of the usefulness of innovation in the context of design functionality.
The annual Stockholm Furniture Fair attracts industry professionals — architects, designers, interior designers, buyers — and design enthusiasts from all over the world. The Stockholm Furniture Fair is Scandinavia’s leading furniture and lighting platform for business and networking, as well as for testing and launching new products and innovations. The Greenhouse section is the Stockholm Furniture Fair’s international platform for young design talent, bringing together emerging designers, both independent and design school students, to showcase creative and innovative products and meet potential partners, manufacturers, and the press.
The Design Department of the Art Academy of Latvia has been participating in the Stockholm Furniture Fair since 2006, and this is the twelfth time. The concept of this year’s exhibition is based on a creative contemplation of the utility value of products and the importance, impact, and necessity of function, challenging us to think about sustainable and good design for the future. «The transition from unnecessary to necessary often defines the evolution of products over time. Items that may seem useless in the present could transform into indispensable necessities in the future,» according to the exhibition description.
The exhibition is developed from the assignment Unnecessary Innovation of the 2nd year students of the BA Product Design programme. The aim of the project was to be free from any assumptions about user needs and to use creativity in practical experiments. For example, Lūkass Segliņš has created a tool called Smile that engages the muscles involved in smiling, thereby sending a positive signal to the brain and promoting the user’s well-being. Emīlija Lūse offers a solution that allows you to continue scrolling your smartphone when you need to unroll the toilet paper during a visit to the toilet — a dedicated app and a smart toilet paper holder will help you to do that. Pārsla Cinovska has developed a tool for aspiring designers to explore the diversity of shapes — various rubber pacifiers help to understand shapes through the mouth.
The exhibition of the Art Academy of Latvia invites visitors to reflect on the examples of good design around them. Do they solve a problem observed in society, or have they been created to offer innovation for innovation’s sake? What makes our lives easier or, on the contrary, complicates them? The exhibition raises the question of design, reminding us that it has a much bigger role than we often suspect, see, or realise.
The stand of the Art Academy of Latvia can be found at the Stockholm Furniture Fair Greenhouse hall, stand C05:45. The authors of the exhibition: AAL lecturers Māris Mortukāns (project lead), Arvīds Endziņš, Andrejs Puķītis, Gita Straustiņa and AAL Product Design students Emīlija Lūse, Elizabete Ruša, Lūkass Segliņš, Daniels Treimanis, Marta Cīrule, Jānis Arnis, Elmārs Grigorovičs, Pārsla Cinovska.