Kaj Franck - Universal Forms
Design Museum, Helsinki, Finland, 15 June – 25 September 2011
The summer season of 2011 at Design Museum will feature Kaj Franck – Universal Forms, the main exhibition of the centenary of the birth of designer, Professor Kaj Franck (1911–89). This is one of a series of three exhibitions addressing the work and personality of Kaj Franck from different perspectives. On show at the Arabia Gallery during 26 May – 26 August will be the Arabia factory's Kaj Franck exhibition and B15 – Kaj Franck's students will be on display in Design Museum's Gallery during 15 June – 14 August.
Kaj Franck – Universal Forms provides a kaleidoscopic view of the oeuvre of this beloved Finnish designer and the starting points of his work in design. Its themes include Kaj Franck's relationship with the old industrial heritage, vernacular artefact culture and Japanese culture. The objects on display illustrate the designer's techniques, his choices of materials and principles of design, while revealing the course of the design process from sketches to finished products. Kaj Franck's strong aesthetic views, his open-minded design thinking and rational practical approach are demonstrated by both mass-produced and unique objects on display. The exhibits include glass, ceramics, textiles, furniture and plastic and metal objects from Franck's extensive output. This selection encompasses Kaj Franck's work in design from over four decades, from the 1940s to the 1980s. The internationally best-known objects include Iittala's Teema tableware items, which have been sold in the millions.
This exhibition explores Franck's various roles, as an artist, an industrial designer, an influential figure of the design community, a teacher of design and in private life. It also reflects less-known aspects of Franck's work, such as the design of textiles and gardens. Photographs and correspondence represent private aspects, along with letters from Franck's travels and drawings for the children of friends. The exhibition programme also features workshops and lectures for children and other visitors, introducing Kaj Franck's work to the younger generation.
The various themes of the exhibition are discussed in further depth in Kaj Franck – Universal Forms, a book exploring Kaj Franck's work and personality from the perspectives of Finnish and international researchers, as well as contemporaries and Kaj Franck's students. This book contains an article by Marianne Aav, director of Design Museum, on Franck's designer identity and the various themes of the exhibition. Other contributors are Lauri Anttila, Carla Enbom, Tiina Huokuna, Kaisa Koivisto, Noriko Otsuki, Jennifer Opie, Päikki Priha, Tom Simons, Jan Söderlund, Susanna Vakkari, Susann Vihma and Tapio Yli-Viikari. The four-colour, hard-cover book of approximately 350 pages will appear in Finnish and English editions in June.
More information: Design Museum
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