The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction

Six weeks after the opening of “Art Nouveau to Present” the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig are presenting a special exhibition that not only perfectly compliments “Art Nouveau to Present” but in many ways provides a deeper background to many of the themes featured in the final part of the museum’s permanent exhibition.

Curated by the Vitra Design Museum”The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction” premiered in Weil am Rhein in 2010, has since been shown in Hannover and Gent and presents over 160 items from the Vitra Design Museum’s collection.

The principle message is clear enough: Good design needn’t be complicated or pompous.

But what’s really interesting is the underlying message: How does one achieve reduction?

“The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction” defines 11 possible forms of reduction ranging from construction and logistics over compaction and onto, for example, dissolution and transparency.

And in doing so makes clear that “reduced design” isn’t simply a matter of aesthetics, but also plays an important role in costs, environmental impact, ethics and function of the object.

In addition to being a wonderful exploration of the subject of reduction in design the exhibition, featuring as it does objects and design classics by the likes of Marcel Breuer, Michael Thonet, Charles and Ray Eames or Gerrit Rietveld, “The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction”  is also a wonderful journey through over a century of design history

The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction at the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig runs until September 16th 2012.



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