from now through october 14, 2018, the VITRA design museum presents a monographic exhibition dedicated to the life and work of ron arad. readymades constructed from old car seats, carbon fibre furniture, hand-welded steel furnishings and sculptural mass-manufactured products all feature in the universe of ‘ron arad: yes to the uncommon!’. offering an overview of arad’s diverse oeuvre, the exhibition includes early designs from the 1980s, as well as more recent objects resulting from experimentation with serially-manufactured products.


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke

 

 

a highlight of the exhibition at the vitra design museum is ‘sticks and stones’, a machine sited in front of the institution for the duration of the show. by ‘eating’ chairs and metal objects and then expelling them in the form of pressed cubes, the contraption performs an act of deconstruction. arad casts a critical light on consumer culture while simultaneously questioning the role of the designer. recently restored, the machine is being put into operation for the first time since the early 1990s.


sketch for big easy (1996)
image © archive vitra design museum

 

 

arad constructed his first design object, ‘rover chair’, in 1981 by attaching pipe couplings to a rover 90 car seat he found at a scrapyard — reminiscent of marcel duchamp’s readymades. in the same year, he co-founded the studio one off alongside caroline thorman and began to experiment with materials such as concrete and steel. 


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke

 

 

also featured in the exhibition is the ‘tinker chair’, made from welded sheet steel and hammered into the desired shape. the object forms part of the series ‘volumes’ — which also includes pieces like ‘big easy’ and ‘little heavy’. additional objects on display include the ‘well tempered chair’, completely constructed from bent sheet steel, and the ‘bookworm’ bookshelf, which was originally made of tempered steel and later released commercially in a PVC version by kartell.


annotated work-in-progress photographs showing the first prototype of the bad tempered chair (2002)
a reworking of the well tempered chair (1986)
image courtesy ron arad associates

 

 

arad’s oeuvre seeks to break the traditional boundaries between art, design and architecture through experimental concepts accessible to the mass market. the exhibition presents pieces that illustrate the connection between these highly successful industrial products and the designer’s earlier works.


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


ron arad, rover chair (1981)
image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen hans


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke


concrete stereo (1983)
image courtesy ron arad associates


image © vitra design museum, photo by jürgen gocke

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