5 design shows to see before summer’s end

Last Chance in August

The month of August brings vacations for much of Europe. The pace of life thankfully slows while we enjoy the sunshine and outdoors. The only downside is that, for a whole month, it's not so easy to get your design fix. If your summer days could use an injection of design edification, here are five exhibitions open in August that’ll keep your design mind active until the cultural season kicks back in in September.

Objects of Desire at Design Museum Helsinki
Closes 21 August, 2016

“The objects on display are meant to arouse… strong emotions—such as desire and attachment,” explains the museum’s Chief Curator Suvi Saloniemi.  An exploration of new directions for consumerism, Objects of Desire features over 20 international, rising-star designers working at the intersection of art and design, like Max Lamb, Studio Swine, Hilda Hellström, Matilda Beckman, Chapel Petrassi, Fredrik Paulsen, Man Yau, and more. On display, you’ll find experimental, handmade works by buzz-worthy design talents that propose an alternative to mass-produced, mass-market products .

Pierre Paulin
at Centre Pompidou Paris
Closes 22 August, 2016 

Centre Pompidou Curator Cloé Pitiot has organized the first major retrospective of French design visionary Pierre Paulin. The exhibition presents over 100 objects—furniture, drawings, models, and other archival material—many of which have never or rarely been shown to the public. Alongside Paulin’s iconic designs, including the Tripode Cage Chair, Mushroom Chair, and Tongue Chair, visitors will enjoy rarities like the Coupe aux Nénuphars, Araignée Ceiling Light, and Bonheur du Jour Desk. This is must-see for lovers of French design. 

Superstudio 50
at MAXXI Museo Rome
Closes 4 September, 2016

Beloved for their proactive, vanguard imagery, Superstudio is among the most fascinating design studios of the late 20th century. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the studio’s foundation, Superstudio 50 brings together over 200 works—some never previously displayed—ranging from installations and objects, to graphic designs, photographs, and films covering the entire career and development of these godfathers of radical design. Notably, the exhibition includes the film Continuous Monument, a project from 1969 of which only the storyboard ever existed. Thanks to MAAXI, this icon of speculative design has been brought to life!

Eero Aarnio
at Design Museum Helsinki

Closes 25 September, 2016

Presented at the Design Museum Helsinki, Eero Aarnio is the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the legendary, 83-year-old Finnish designer’s work, including furniture, lamps, small objects, one-off pieces, and sketches from the 1950s to the present. All your “Space Age” Aarnio favorites will be there: Ball Chair, Bubble Chair, Pastil Chair, Cognac Chair, Tomato Chair. Aarnio defined what the future looked like in the 1960s. Go get your groovy on.

Friends + Design
at Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden

Closes 1 November, 2016

Curated by Tulga Beyerle and Maria Cristiana Didero, Friends + Design is a celebration of the collaborative and mutually inspiring relationships that often fuel cutting-edge design today. For this project, designers were teamed up and asked to create an installation that visualizes the friendship between them. Tomás Alonso and Mathias Hahn documented a journey together; Bethan Laura Wood and Philippe Malouin designed very special beds for each other; and the trio Richard Hutten, Jerszy Seymour, and Michael Young merged their highly idiosyncratic approaches into a collectively designed table. This joyful project spotlights some of the most in-demand designers on the contemporary scene.