Buying tickets

New Olds: Design Between Tradition and Innovation

Creative interpretation of contemporary designers for motifs from the past

May 26, 2012 – September 10, 2012


The exhibition presents creative interpretations by contemporary designers for motifs from the past. The wide variety of works included in the exhibition indicates that these designers, most of whom are in their twenties and thirties, consider the past a source of inspiration and derive great pleasure from using an assortment of icons and symbols from various historical periods.

Photo: Shay Ben Efraim

Together with curator Volker Albus, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e. V. (ifa) presents “new olds – Design between Tradition and Innovation”, with seventy exhibits that explore the relationship between tradition and innovation in contemporary design. The variety and topicality of the many approaches are bundled around the themes material, construction, configuration, production, and traditional use. Fifty seven designers and design teams from Germany, other European countries, USA and Israel enter here into an intensive dialogue, and the international nature of the show is further emphasised by its world tour with its connections to the local cultures on site.

Design has a short and highly successful history in the West. It quickly became a key feature of a collective understanding of culture, and is correspondingly appreciated and communicated. Outside the western hemisphere too design is gaining significance, and not just as a profession. What are seen as successful idioms are copied and varied, but many of the motifs that are sold as “new” actually derive from a historical context and formal idiom, and are self-contained products of one country or culture, representing a new interpretation of traditional forms. This exhibition looks at aspects of the »new« and the “old” in a range of objects and groups of objects, discusses differences and new combinations, presents trends in recycling and redesign, and looks at the transformation of design classics and traditional ways of using new materials.

This exhibition aims to show the international and complex nature of this discourse in contemporary design in three ways. Firstly, we invite the general public to enjoy the visual and sensual presentation of the exhibits. Secondly, the accompanying events and education program will focus on dialogue in workshops that are tailored to each location of the exhibition tour, and the design experts working there. The third element is documentation of the exhibition in a blog, showing the work of local designers exploring issues related to new olds that is presented in the exhibition space or in a special additional show. Documenting all the works that are produced in accompanying events during the entire tour will further facilitate dialogue and the exchange of ideas on contemporary theory and design practice in a variety of nations and cultures.

Photo: Shay Ben Efraim

“Let’s take the Oriental carpet, which the Germans often just call the “Persian”. For many of us, this is the epitome of an obsolete bourgeois interior. Wherever there is an Oriental rug, that’s where people “live”, with their sofas, sideboards, and potted plants. The kind of place where Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was at home. Here people also know the rules of good manners. And on the table there is only the classic tableware: Dresden China, Nymphenburg. Nothing embodies established “living” better than this hand-woven message from the East, but yet it is a message that is little understood, today as yesterday. That the price is determined by the tightness of the weave, and by the material and the origin of the carpet is well known, but we know nothing about the significance of the cryptic decorations. We just have to pass. But now for quite a while this domestic value system no longer holds true – it is simply out of fashion. More than that: new generations, and above all the children of the West German post-war bourgeoisie began to decry everything that they associated with their parents’ style of living as narrow-minded and reactionary – and then to immediately adopt it into their own sub-cultural level. What was once reserved wholly for the representation of establishment affluence was now, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, revalued as a provocative anti-facade. Bourgeois interiors became the very symbol of anti-bourgeois sentiment. What could be more provocative than to sit on an Oriental rug acquired on the cheap from a flea market, and, wearing jeans and leather, to light up a joint?

Bringing the past into the present in contemporary product design / Volker Albus


Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, degree programme in interior design | Prof. Carmen Greutmann | Arik Ben Simhon | Ayala Serfaty | Berta Riera Pomés | Yunwei Zhu | Bertjan Pot & Marcel Wanders | BIGGAME  Augustin Scott de Martinville | Grégoire Jeanmonod | Elric Petit |BLESS  Ines Kaag | Desirée Heiss | Chanan DeLange | Chris Kabel | COMPANY  Johan Olin | Constantin Boym | Cordula Kehrer (click for more information) Dag Design | Daniel Juric | David Amar | David Hanauer | Émilie Voirin | Jérôme Nelet | Eva Marguerre | Eylon Armon | Frank Willems | Front  Sofia Lagerkvist | Charlotte von der Lancken | Anna Lindgren | Katja Sävström | Haim Parnas | Ineke Hans | Joa Herrenknecht and Astrid Ochsenreither | Johnathan Hopp | Karen Ryan | Katrin Sonnleitner | Kilian Schindler | Laura Bernhardt | Maarten Baas | Marcel Besau | Martí Guixé | Martino Gamper | Matali Crasset | Meirav Barzilay | Nina Kappenstein | Noam Tabenkin | Osko + Deichmann | Ototo | Pini Leibovich | Sandra Schollmeyer | Sebastian Herkner | Silke Wawro/VOLKSWARE | Silvia Knüppel | Stefan Legner | Stolenwood  Johannes Hemann | Leslie Hildebrandt | Kai Linke | Studio Makkink & Bey | Studio Niels & Sven  Niels Kerkkamp | Sven Lamme | Tal Gur | Talila Abraham | Umamy | Eran Apelbaum | Sarit Atzitz | Dori Oryan | Yohanan Siskindovitch | Volker Albus | Wendy Plomp | Werner Aisslinger | Yaacov Kaufma | Yoav Reches

The exhibition “new olds” is being shown at the museum thanks to the support of the Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen (The institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) in Stuttgart and in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, Tel-Aviv, Israel