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When Will Design Find its New Raison d’Être?

The Exhibition “The Futur Archaïque” at Grand-Hornu and Some Thoughts

Text by Porzia Bergamasco


Arkhe in Greek means beginning. The return to fundamental principles, from the point of view of design, is the theme of the exhibition “The Futur archaïque” at Grand-Hornu, Belgium, curated by Yves Mirande, curator of the CID and Mudac exhibition. The objects created by renowned contemporary designers, show the intrinsic value of objects, their very essence and even their aura. They are, in a way, ‘non-objects’. 

Futur Archaïque, Atelier Van Lieshout. Fossil chaise longue - 2009 (c) Atelier Van LIeshout

“In this project we find a sociological insight into the emerging but essential desire to reconnect with our roots”, explains Mirande. “We can no longer contemplate the future without reconnecting with our roots, which constitute the foundations that support us... whatever they may be! Those of the history of humanity and those which lie closer to home, in our families”.

Charles Trevelyan. One Edge Grey - 2013 (c) Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Milos Ristin. Hrefna, part of The Iceland Whale Bone project - 2013 (c) ECAL / Nicolas Genta

In the widespread social and economic revolution that we are experiencing, these objects incorporate new questions and points of view. They reject indistinct communication, linked to mere function, while attempting to establish, through materials and forms, a new bond with the collective imagination. They change the concept of decoration and identify new relationships, not only emotional, but also cultural.

Futur Archaïque, Laura Lynn Jansen & Thomas Vailly. CaCO3 stoneware project - 2014 (c) Floor Knaapen

The question is: when will these objects come out from art galleries, the only window that currently allows for them to emerge? And when they do come out, will they continue to express themselves with the same consistency and forcefulness? Or will they be swallowed up by "serial copies" devoid of content that only capture their aesthetic qualities? The hope is that they will succeed in changing, once more, the deepest needs of mankind, and reach beyond consumerist visions. This is perhaps the only way design will find its new raison d’etre.


​​​Futur Archaïque​
until 19 April 2015

​​Grand-Hornu
Rue Sainte-Louise, 82
Hornu - Belgium

Futur Archaïque, Nacho Carbonell. Hot Kettles
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