Saturday, January 16, 2010

Design Angles on Art

This weekend, my gallery column in the National Post considers three shows from a perspective of design--something I'm hoping is timely given the Interior Design Show and related conferences coming to Toronto this week. Here's an excerpt:

Terreform One and Mitchell Joachim at Eric Arthur Gallery 230 College St.

Praised by CNBC, Wired and Rolling Stone, Brooklyn architect Mitchell Joachim is a provocative poster boy for eco-aware city design. Currently a visiting chair at the University of Toronto's school of architecture, Joachim offers a peek at his increasingly influential ideas (and those of his non-profit organization Terreform One) in this exhibition at Eric Arthur. The funny (and slightly unexpected) thing about the show is just how much Joachim's highly speculative, sci-fi-flavoured proposals seem to resemble whimsical conceptual art rather than pragmatic, user-friendly design. Sure, everything in here -- six panels, three models and one video -- looks plenty slick, speaking the graphic patois of design lingo in spades. But the imagery and ideas behind the slickness -- like colonial houses attached to robot legs so they can exist permanently in transit on highways (or "homeways") -- can seem way-out wacky. Jellyfish-shaped "blimp buses" and soft-sided "sneaker cars" are also pretty wild. However, the show does convincingly suggest that the real-world problems Joachim is reacting to (like the fact that New York City generates one Statue of Liberty's worth of waste every hour) are jaw-droppingly dramatic in their own right. Unfortunately, as in many design shows, the works here seem more like props for a presentation than a presentation in itself. But if edgy projections like these can make preventative carbon cap-and-trade seem mainstream, perhaps it's all for the best. To Feb. 20.

Image of one of Terreform One's lamb cars from Inhabitat


sazeni said...

thanks for post,wish all the best

Leah Sandals said...

Thanks Sazeni