This exhibition posits that the quotidian (def: everyday, commonplace) is a useful lens for understanding aspects of contemporary design practice ranging from fashion, furniture, graphic, product to spatial design. Specifically it demonstrates how the quotidian is a resource for contemporary designers and the participating designers in particular; Alt Group, Nat Cheshire, Formway Design, Adrian Hailwood, Peter Haythornthwaite, Guy Hohmann, Jamie McLellan, Jonty Valentine, Matthew von Sturmer, Katy Wallace, and Cybèle Wiren.
These nine individuals and two design firms have each chosen and written about an everyday object not conceived by them. In writing about this object - a source of design inspiration in relation to an object of their own design - fascinating relationships and stories have emerged. The result is a collection of discussions that provides a designers eye view into our intriguing relationships with everyday objects.
The eleven quotidian objects chosen by the exhibitors evidence a wide range of influences upon the objects produced by these designers. The qualities identified as influences - significant issues for these designers and for design in general - include categorical references, aesthetics, mechanical principles, universal design, balance, precision, systems, economy, ecology, sensuality, purposefulness, freedom, beauty, history, skill, craft, and the decorative arts.
Some of the pairings show very direct relationships while others are more conceptual. Importantly, these quotidian objects highlight the unique abilities of design and designers to make sense of the world around us. Donald A. Norman has written, "the human mind is exquisitely tailored to make sense of the world ... well-designed objects are easy to interpret and understand." The exhibitors in Quotidian discuss how they make sense of the everyday within the scope of their own design practices.
Having considered the purpose of everyday objects and no doubt having marvelled and cursed at the simplicity, elegance and limitations of that which already exists, the exhibitors featuring in Quotidian are well positioned to tell us about the influence of functional objects within contemporary design. These discussions serve to highlight for the non-designer and designer alike, the intelligence and amount of consideration that go into design practice.
A 32 page print publication is available for purchase at Objectspace or as a free download.
Image: Leaning shelf (2006) by Katy Wallace.