Back in 2006 one of the most inspiring exhibitions I came across was Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa’s Super Normal exhibition. It seems like light years ago, but I think this was a tipping point for many of us designers who were already feeling sick of the throwaway culture taking place at the time. No doubt design has since been split in to two very distinct camps. Slightly more divided in some ways. Trend driven design and a pursuit for timelessness.
Carrying the torch and exploring this philosophy in a more regional setting is this project titled ‘Portugal Normal’ curated by Ricardo Gomes of KWY studio. I have known about this studio thanks to their exhibition titled ‘One Two Three Swing!’ that took place at the Tate Modern in London in 2018. This project is slightly different in a sense, but still highlights KWY’s concept of elevating normality in to something that can be desired and interpreted in a new way.
Selecting ‘normal’ historical objects of Portuguese origin or manufacture, running in parallel with a careful selection of objects designed by contemporary Portuguese designers, the idea of this project is to demonstrate the common characteristics and similar potential in these objects.
Personally I find the grouping of such work a tribute to all the great pieces that have come before us. The way in which KWY studio have approached this project, asking contemporary designers to also show their contemporary objects in parallel to the historic objects, will hopefully serve as a bouncing board for more objects of similar lasting quality. We certainly need them!