Design Real

2nd December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Konstantin Grcic curates the Serpentine Gallery's first-ever contemporary design exhibition, running from 26 November 2009 – 7 February 2010.

Across the globe, there is a growing awareness of design and its impact on the world we inhabit. Like contemporary art, design both shapes and reflects our constantly changing society. Good design understands human behaviour, offers pragmatic solutions to problems and enhances our everyday experience.

Design Real, curated by the renowned industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, is the Serpentine Gallery’s first exhibition devoted to contemporary design. Grcic’s selection for the exhibition focuses on ‘real’ items: mass-produced items that have a practical function in everyday life. The exhibition presents a wide range of products with different styles and functions, from furniture and household products to technical and industrial innovations.

With objects from well-known designers, such as a chair by Jasper Morrison, luggage by Ross Lovegrove and waterproof shoes by Zaha Hadid, as well as products by anonymous designers, including a wheel-shaped water container, a municipal recycling bin and a Volvo tail light, the exhibition provides new perspectives from which to look at the material world around us, encouraging new insights into design.

Grcic says of the exhibition: ‘What interests me about industrial design is how these things are made, in what material, and how this has affected their language and their quality. Some objects are very technically-driven; the function really determines the object. Other objects have much more of a signature or an authorship; you see the handwriting of the designer who made it and that’s what makes it so special. There is only one common denominator for the objects selected for Design Real: they came on to the market not more than ten years ago.’

The Serpentine’s central gallery features a research space expanding on themes developed in Design Real, designed by Grcic especially for the exhibition. A dedicated internet site,, designed by Field Trip, is the exhibition’s central resource and an integral part of its concept. The site investigates the objects in the exhibition in detail, exploring aspects of their development, production and use. Visitors to Design Real can access the site in the exhibition’s research space. The space is also the setting for a series of free public Saturday Seminars at 3pm.

Design Real is curated by Konstantin Grcic, in association with Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director, and Kathryn Rattee, Curator, Serpentine Gallery. Exhibition design in collaboration with Alex Rich and Jürg Lehni.

Visit Design Real's fascinating website at .The Serpentine Gallery based at Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA

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