Since the 1960s, contemporary artists have transcended and redefined traditional relations between materials and form by means of the experimental, often seemingly formless use of a variety of materials. As a first, the exhibition Formless Furniture shows that the rule form follows material was also applied and still is in the design of everyday objects: to this day, designers playfully oppose the so-called good form and the marketing of conformity in living environments.
FORMLESS SITTING POSITIONS The exhibition of Formless Furniture almost exclusively features seating furniture, which, being particularly body-related, has always been a central field of experimentation in furniture design. Designers were mainly interested to convey a more playful approach to things and to champion new positions and attitudes directed against rigid conventions and traditional views. Particularly in the years around 1968, affirmative bourgeois culture was challenged with new types of furniture: fanciful seating objects called for new ways to use them relaxed sitting positions and provocative postures as had hitherto not been part of the accepted social conduct. The point was to find out in what various ways the new flexible furniture could be used and what was possible withand throughit outside long-accustomed habits.
The famous Saccoactually only a plastic, fabric, or leather bag filled with Styrofoam pelletsis considered the most convincing prototype in this development toward more mobility and flexibility in the domestic sphere. A light, moveable, and affordable piece of furniture, mostly in glaring colors, the Sacco was in line with the spirit of the epoch in 1968 and, over the years and because of its exceptional flexibility and conformability, grew into something like a Pop art icon. As a homage to this design classic, Ron Arad and Karim Rashid made the Sacco a starting point and reference of their own designs.
Curator Sebastian Hackenschmidt, MAK Curator Furniture and Woodworks
Catalogue FORMLOSE MÖBEL/FORMLESS FURNITURE, edited by Peter Noever, concept and text by Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Dietmar Rübel, German/English, 136 pages, ca. 80 col. ills., paperback, MAK Vienna/Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2008, 25 MAK Design Shop