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Design Collection

Curator: Thomas Geisler
The MAK Design Collection was established in 2005 and represents a broad spectrum of design output from Austria. The design concept in question encompasses a multifaceted range of aspects, from industrial production and handcrafted manufacture to unique art objects and prototypes, from utility objects and fashion to graphic arts and media design.
A new profile is currently being developed in the interest of making contemporary design—including international stances—permanently visible in the exhibition spaces of the MAK. At issue is the way in which the area of design is to relate to long-established collecting areas, as well as the inclusion of current, process-oriented productions and strategies in an expanded, socially and ecologically committed approach to design which can feature both performative and participatory elements. Viewed in this light, a physical collection of domestic utilitarian wares would seem to be obsolete. Nevertheless, a museum of applied arts functions as memory for a society’s (everyday) cultural production, with the objective of initiating creative thought processes and impulses for positive change.

Everything is design—design is everything

Key objects, those that are helpful in providing support for the development of a collecting strategy oriented toward the future of the museum as such, are in fact those which question their own belonging to the recently created MAK Design Collection—are they design, art, handcrafted items, something else entirely? Constructed using the most diverse materials and techniques and created as part of both “fine” and “applied” practices, such objects either flirt with the previously established collection areas or resist categorization entirely by virtue of their seeming indifference to design, as is the case with the publication Katalog ’98 Samen & Pflanzen [Catalogue ’98 Seeds & Plants], (Mitgliedernachrichten [Member News] No. 1, Schiltern / Langenlois, Lower Austria 1998, Arche Noah, printed book).

“All [human beings] are designers,” for design is the “primary underlying matrix of life,” wrote Victor Papanek in 1971 in Design for the Real World (Pantheon Books), thereby laying the theoretical foundation for a universal conception of design that goes beyond the object fetish to put human beings at the center. Design is an elementary tool and medium with which to both change our environment and effect societal change. The MAK Design Collection unites the most recent strategies aimed at taking on this complex challenge. Be they poetic (as in ibu, 1995, by EOOS / Martin Bergmann, Gernot Bohmann, Harald Gründl), hypothetical (as in Citizen Evolution, 2010, by Jessica Charlesworth and Marei Wollersberger), experimental (as in Grande tête, 2003, by Robert Stadler), playful (as in Ping meets Pong, 2002, by Walking Chair / Fidel Peugeot, Karl Emilio Pircher), or participatory (as in Till You Stop – How Much Is Too Much?, 2010, by mischer’traxler / Katharina Mischer, Thomas Traxler), the methods of and approaches to using design to initiate processes of thought and change, as well as to bring forth a new, sustainability-oriented type of consumption, seem more multi-layered and comprehensive than those which one would at first associate with a design collection.

Related

Publications

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Publication

DESIGNLANDSCHAFT ÖSTERREICH

1900–2005
German
256 pages, 264 illustrations, 220 full color
Softcover
Birkhäuser Publishers 2006
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Freier Artikel

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d> design new strategies

A Cooperation of MAK & departure
In the newly developed formats departure/ MAK d>link, d>lab, and d>nite, renowned international design experts will enter into an exchange with representatives of Vienna’s creative industry to interrogate, challenge, and shape relations between design, industry, and society. Different events will provide an opportunity of looking out together for new
possibilities, interfaces, cooperations, and, eventually, fields of activity.
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Event

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Exhibition

NOMADIC FURNITURE 3.0

New Liberated Living?
Wed, 12.06.2013–Sun, 06.10.2013

MAK Exhibition Hall

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Event

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Exhibition

WerkStadt Vienna

DESIGN ENGAGING THE CITY
Wed, 12.12.2012–Sun, 17.03.2013

MAK Exhibition Hall

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Rudolph M. Schindler

Since his emigration to the USA in 1914, the experimental Viennese visionary has given direction to a modern architectural percept in California. After completion of his own Kings Road house in 1921/22 designed as live-work space, Schindler primary planned and built private residencies, like the Mackey Apartments and the Fitzpatrick-Leland House.
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MAK Schools Program

The MAK Schools Program offers guided tours, workshops and—this is new!—the MAK School Service, customized by age groups and for all school types named below.
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DER PREIS DER SCHÖNHEIT

100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte
Published on the occasion of the exhibition “Yearning for beauty. For the 100th anniversary of the Viennaer Werkstätte” (10.12.2003–7.3.2004)
German
448 pages, b/w and full colored illustrations
32,5 x 24,5 cm, hardbound
MAK, Vienna / Hatje Cantz Verlag Publishers, Ostfildern-Ruit,-Ruit 2003
out of print