A designer from Hong Kong is said to have the largest collection of Chairman Mao busts. The busts were produced, by governmental decree, in only two places in the People’s Republic of China and only in white. Chairman Mao Collection
There are lots of photos on Instagram #grandbasel. Also a statement (in English) by Michael Erlhoff // Statement von Michael Erlhoff Photo credit: Courtesy Grand Basel
An Exhibition at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany June to November 2000 In 1988, the then-director of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany asked Michael Erlhoff to develop a concept for a large design exhibition. At that time, the Bundeskunsthalle, as the institution is usually referred to, still had significant financial resources to realise such projects. Michael decided to plan and implement a comprehensive exhibition on the two most significant cultural contexts of design after 1950: Italy and Germany. Some people from both the Italian and German design scene fervently criticised this idea immediately because the Italian side thought this was just to demonstrate the supremacy of German design and the German side suspected the exact opposite. For the exhibition architecture, Michael got on board Zamp Kelp and Volker Albus. He also developed a concept whereby the individual designers or design studios were given an ‘island’, or, in other words, a stand-alone platform within the very large exhibition hall (the islands came in different …
Designers we met in Milano in 2000.
In 1999, as a result of an initiative by Köbi Gantenbein, chief editor of the magazine Hochpaterre, we were invited to St. Moritz (Switzerland) to talk with local officials from the culture and tourism departments about the establishment of a new design event. We proposed to invite important international design professionals to come to St. Moritz for three days each year before Christmas in order to discuss essential new design perspectives. We suggested, however, doing this without an audience because, otherwise, these kinds of discussions tend to turn into marketing events. The St. Moritz officials loved the idea and, starting in 2000, the St. Moritz Design Summit took place for the first time (followed by seven more editions) in the exclusive Suvretta House. To secure the summit’s financing, Michael Erlhoff (who, in 1991, together with British American Tobacco/BAT had founded the Raymond Loewy Foundation for the promotion of design) was able to get BAT, and thus the foundation, on board to support the project. And so we invited 30 excellent design experts each year to …
The Rubber Cup goes back to Richard Sapper, then-professor at the Stuttgart Academy of Art: students from all universities were invited to participate in this race on the condition that their vehicles were powered by nothing but 20g of rubber. This usually resulted in rather big vehicles as the tension of the rubber was supposed to generate the speed of movement so that the vehicles would either be rather fast or would run over a long period of time. The Köln International School of Design (KISD) also set up a project to participate in the race. After many attempts to power the vehicle through the tension of the rubber, a totally different concept was developed: the rubber was cut into small pieces, set on fire and the heat of combustion was used to power a very small vehicle. The KISD vehicle won the race against many competitors because it was clearly the fastest.
Following the World Design Expo in Nagoya, this exhibition by the German Design Council, whose then-director was Michael Erlhoff, was shown at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. Exhibition design: Wolfgang Laubersheimer. Photo gallery Designed in Germany
In 1988, the first World Design Expo (the only one in this particular form) took place in the Japanese city of Nagoya (‘Toyota City’). After some discussions with the Japanese organisers, Michael Erlhoff (at that time CEO of the German Design Council), decided to conceptualise and implement the exhibition of German design in the ‘International Pavilion’. German companies were invited to present products selected by the German Design Council (and to finance the exhibition). Zamp Kelp was responsible for the exhibition architecture and Wolfgang Laubersheimer developed the design of the display system. Together, they designed the 300 square metres of floor space in such a way that the (real product) exhibits appeared as if they were shown on screens or, regarding the cars from the major German brands, as if they were speeding through the screens and into the real space. This was accompanied by a special sound design: for half an hour, one could hear sounds from German highways (Autobahn) and for another 30 minutes sounds from German forests. The soundscape was very subtle, …
People we’ve met. This gallery is available in high resolution at Flickr (no commercial use, credit).
In 1978, S.J. Schmidt, Klaus Ramm and Jörg Drews, professors at the then newly founded Bielefeld University, invited all German-speaking writers from the field of concrete and visual poetry to come to Bielefeld for a discussion and public reading. In the first year, the event took place in a guesthouse of the university; later on, it was held in ‘Haus Neuland’, located in a forest near Bielefeld. This was very good because, for three days, the focus was essentially on talking to each other – and these talks were very intensive indeed: some of the participants (for example Ernst Jandl) dared to present radically new approaches and were at times faced with severe criticism, which was, however, accepted favourably. The public reading took place at the Bielefeld Art Hall, attracting a large audience.