Figuration in Contemporary Design looks at the recent employment of figurative characteristics in the design arts. Through digital literacy and enhanced fabrication techniques, this avant-garde, modern movement reintroduces hybrids of methods and ideologies that were once considered too ornamental in character or too handcrafted for the 20th-century minimalist design vocabulary. This figurative modern aesthetic displays characteristics that play with the notions of romanticism, subjectivity, nature, and anti-intellectualism as well as high-low culture.
Works in this exhibition showcase how both large, urban-scale architecture and the intimate domestic realm of design have employed this vocabulary formally and figuratively in the terms of shapes and surfaces that evoke flowers, trees, tornadoes, embroidery, parasols, photography, death, illness, food, music, and sensuality. From tattooed and perforated surfaces to woven and sculptural forms, this aesthetic is charting new territories in the realm of modern design for the 21st century.
Featured designers and studios are: Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, Jürgen Mayer H., UNStudio, Foreign Office Architects, Kuth/Raneri, ROY, Joel Sanders with Balmori Associates, KOL/MAC, Greg Lynn/FORM, R&Sie, Klein Dytham, Gage/Clemenceau, MoD, Aranda/Lasch, Kivi Sotamaa, PATTERNS, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Marcel Wanders, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius, Patricia Urquiola, Tord Boontje, Petra Blaisse, Abbott Miller, An Te Liu, Demakersvan, and 2x4.
A beautifully illustrated, 96-page catalogue will be released in conjunction with the exhibition. Part of the Architecture and Design Series published by the Art Institute and Yale University Press, the catalogue will be available in the Museum Shop. Exhibition catalogue: Figuration in Contemporary Design.