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Vienna exhibition explores the history of DIY furniture
Jun 27, 2013

With its emphasis on “Do-It-Yourself” furniture design, the exhibition NOMADIC FURNITURE 3.0: New Liberated Living is the first to examine this movement situated on the threshold between the subcultural and the mainstream DIY movement.
The exhibition, on display at the MAK Center in Vienna, gives a comprehensive overview of contemporary DIY furniture while using numerous historical references and examples to present a clear picture of the developmental history of the movement.

Designed by raumlaborberlin, the exhibition has been developed from “home-built” types of structures, and it provides free space for process-oriented elements including a workshop. The designing duo Maciej Chmara and Ania Rosinke, MAK Designers in Residence for 2013, will compliment the exhibition team and develop commentaries on historical and contemporary designs.
According to the MAK Center’s research, as early as the first half of the 20th century home-built furniture came to be regarded as a suitable approach for the socially conscious and since the late 1960’s for people concerned with ecologically sustainable design.
The exhibit showcases numerous designs that can be made from wood using simple tools, such as the MAK Table by the Italian group Recession Design, as well as emphatically functional furniture and intricate lighting objects like those produced by New York-based designer Lindsey Adelman.

To this day, the handbooks from which the exhibition takes its title, Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2, authored in 1973/1974 by Austro-American designer Victor Papanek with James Hennessey, offers a young and creative audience concrete instructions for building simple and inexpensive furniture; what’s more, they represent valuable points of reference for the contemporary DIY movement.
Prototypical classics of DIY furniture culture that first arose in the interwar and postwar periods, such as the famous Crate Chair designed in 1924 by Gerrit Rietveld, are still viewed today as important sources of inspiration.
The exhibit will be on display through October 6.

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