The Grassi Museum of applied arts, Leipzig is hosting the exhibition “Thingness” – the first retrospective of the world-renowned designer Jasper Morrison until May 6, 2018. In 2015, the retrospective opened for the very first time in Grand-Hornu, Belgium, accompanied by the monograph A Book of Things* published by Lars Müller Publishers. Since then, the special exhibition has been touring and has already been hosted in the Museum of Design in Zurich, the Tate Modern gallery in London and most recently at Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, in 2017.
“Thingness” presents the extensive body of work that the British designer has created over the last 35 years. The furniture, cooking utensils, tableware series, drinking glasses, lights, home electronics and other everyday objects are shown in a chronological order. The archive and graphical material complements the presentation and offers insights into different periods of time. Morrison has designed a simple yet visually appealing shelving system specifically for this retrospective.
What does “supernormal design” mean?
Morrison himself sets no limits when it comes to design issues and thus shapes a new understanding of form, that is to say that design is “supernormal”. He designs everything he loves. His designs are durable and combine the simplest forms with maximum comfort. The spotlight is not on form itself, but functionality of the objects developed on the basis of precise observation. Since 2005, he remains true to the principle of “supernormal design” and lives out his understanding of form, because he is convinced of pure form and functionality of simple and everyday things.
His approach for design can be understood as a kind of a return to original basic forms. The outcome is his preference for objects that stand the test of time because of their user-friendly, unobtrusive and timeless design, without any need to use extreme forms. Morrison’s focus is on the atmosphere of a contemporary living environment, on historical references and on the production as well as the material. He steers his attention to the central questions of design, because the purpose of the object determines the perfect form, in his opinion.
The start of Jasper Morrison’s aspiring career
Jasper Morrison was born in 1959 in London. From 1979, he studied design at the Kingston Polytechnic Design School and at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1984, he was awarded a scholarship at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He opened his first design studio in London in 1986. Today, he continues to lead offices in Tokyo and Paris. Just a year later, his work was exhibited at Documenta 8 in Kassel.
In 1988, he joined the “Design Werkstadt”, which was part of “Berlin -The Cultural City of Europe” programme. Here, he exhibited “Some new items for the house, part I” in the DAAD gallery. His first-ever designs were produced by Aram and SCP in London, Neotu in Paris, FSB in Germany and Cappellini in Italy. He presented the second part of “Some new items for the house” at the Milan Furniture Fair in 1989, in collaboration with Vitra.
Successful cooperation with international companies
He founded the group “Utilisim International” together with Andreas Brandolini and Axel Kufus, which focused on exhibition design and urban planning. This was followed by his cooperation with the Italian companies Alessi, Flos and Magis and with the German porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal. In 2000, Jasper Morrison worked on a project for Rowenta to design a range of kitchen appliances. At the same time, he took on the role of an advisory at Muji, Samsung, Ideal Standard and Established & Sons. In 2006, he worked with the Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa on the exhibition “Super Normal” at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo. One year later he became the art director of the Swiss electronics company “Punkt”, which was founded by Petter Neby.
Inspired by this exhibition in Tokyo, he opened the first Jasper Morrison store in London next to his design studio, which is part of the London Design Festival every year. Since 2010, Morrison has been working with the Spanish companies Camper, Kettal and Andreu World as well as the US companies Maharam and Emeco. After having worked for almost ten years with the architects Herzog & de Meuron at the opening of the museum, he designed the furniture for the development of the Tate Modern, in 2014.
Posted on 27.02.2018
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