The Cacao YearsThe Cacao Years

08 September 2014 by Ines Revés

The Cacao Years

The roças of São Tomé and Príncipe

When two architects discovered a series of former cacao-producing villages on a pair of small islands off the Central African coast, they became smitten. Compelled to rescue these developments from their inevitable fall into ruin, they have devoted themselves to the matter of spreading knowledge on the issue, calling for the restoration of the roças. By way of a biennial exhibition and a book filled with photographs, the story is told with sincere emotion.  

Roça Boa Entrada, photo: Francisco Nogueira.

Reshaping ThingsReshaping Things

08 September 2014 by Anna Sansom

Reshaping Things

Design according to Andrea Branzi

Now in his eighth decade, Andrea Branzi retains a tireless attitude regarding the importance of design, insisting that a project or object be made in consideration of the real needs of its time, free of the obvious trends and strictures that prevail, with the aim of achieving a solution that is actually appropriate. Currently exhibiting his work in two shows in France, Branzi spoke with DAMN° about his views on design, naturally revealing what it is that makes him tick.

Canapé Superonda, 1966. Archizoom Associati.

It’s a WrapIt’s a Wrap

08 September 2014 by Anna Sansom

It’s a Wrap

Anton Alvarez’s cocooning tendencies

The Thread Wrapping Machine is an invention of Anton Alvarez’s. Simply put, it’s a special tool – not so unlike a spinning wheel – that is able to join different components using only glue-coated thread. By employing such a method in the forming of objects and constructed spaces, materials such as wood, steel, or plastic can be bound together without the use of screws or nails. As DAMN° discovered, the designer is mighty enthusiastic about this.

Anton Alvarez working with his Thread Wrapping Machine. Photo: Märta Thisner.

The Bees & The BirdsThe Bees & The Birds

08 September 2014 by Silvia Anna Barrilà

The Bees & The Birds

Artists employing animals

Mankind can be a bit slow – or maybe just too pompous – to realise that other creatures of the planet, each with its on instinctively encoded speciality, are in fact experts in their particular metier. Take bees and birds, for example. Masters at honeycomb structures and nest construction, respectively, they produce magnificent sculptural objects that mere humans can only envy. A few of today’s artists have sussed this out and are creating impressive works with the aid of these specialist collaborators.

Yuansu series II by Ren Ri.

Setting the Process in MotionSetting the Process in Motion

08 September 2014 by Jonathan Olivares

Setting the Process in Motion

Nike research: a backstory

Nike’s website, A View on Natural Motion, is serious stuff. The content-maker and designer lets us in on the way he and his team developed the project for the mega-brand. Being given full access to Nike’s innovation zones, sports research lab, and top athletes served as an effective form of stimulation. Interestingly enough, it was the book on natural motion by Charles and Ray Eames that provided the inspirational clincher.

Video depicting the feet of female and male athletes, as they take-off and land on various floor surfaces - 2014 Nike Free collection.

Powered by the SunPowered by the Sun

08 September 2014 by Joerg Zimmerman

Powered by the Sun

A fresh look into the future of sustainable housing

Uncannily, the 2014 Solar Decathlon took place near the residence of Ludwig XIV, known as Le Roi Soleil, the Sun King. The competition was launched more than a decade ago by the U.S. Department of Energy as a long-term project in which universities from all over the world meet to design, build, and operate a grid-connected, energetically self-sufficient house. In addition to the impressive standard criteria, this year’s edition included some ecology-minded extras: density, mobility, sobriety, innovation, affordability, and contextualisation.

La Cité du Soleil.

Romancing the StoneRomancing the Stone

08 September 2014 by Anna Sansom

Romancing the Stone

Nucleo encapsulates the ancient

Based in Turin, Nucleo is a collective of artists and designers working under the directorship of Piergiorgio Robino. Over the past three years, the studio has rather cornered the market in resin-based pieces, having mastered a technique that while very contemporary, results in works that capture the characteristics and inherent richness of ancient stone. Falling somewhere between art and design aesthetically, these resin products include functioning seats and tables. Robino talks to DAMN° about his particular approach.  

Piergiorgio Robino (Nucleo) sitting in his Primitive Armchair.

Visual ClichésVisual Clichés

08 September 2014 by Jurriaan Benschop

Visual Clichés

Adrian Ghenie and his colourful noir

Adrian Ghenie is a Romanian artist who chooses not to utilise the traditional tools of the painter, but rather to rely on alternative means to produce his tableaux. The accident is of utmost interest to him, serving as his method of conveying powerful imagery. Taking nothing for granted, Ghenie’s mentality is that to lose is the rule and to win is the weird exception, which has held him in good stead for what appears to be a burgeoning career.  

Charles Darwin at the age of 75. Courtesy of Pace Gallery, London.,

Universal ChangeUniversal Change

08 September 2014 by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Universal Change

Dan Holdsworth via Moncler

The French-Italian clothing label Moncler teamed up with photographer Dan Holdsworth and the result is an autumn/winter collection of down jackets, trousers, and accessories that bear stunning images of an Icelandic glacier, in negative. The story would normally end there, but in this case it is about more than pretty pictures. There is an underlying message: stop contributing to climate change, you comfortable humans.  

Blackout 08 by Dan Holdsworth. Courtesy of Moncler.

Matters of TasteMatters of Taste

08 September 2014 by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Matters of Taste

The Golinelli Foundation is on a roll

Headed by a chemist and pharmaceutical industrialist with a passion for contemporary art, the Golinelli Foundation combines art and science in its attempts to reflect on major issues of human existence. As a run-up to next year’s World’s Fair in Milan, the Foundation has devoted 2014 to the topic of nutrition and taste. In so doing, multifarious programmes and exhibitions have been developed to explore the subject, one aspect of which is an impressive selection of artworks.

USA. Atlanta. The Georgia State Fair. Fast Food., 2010 by Martin Parr. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos. Courtesy of the artist and Studio Trisorio, Naples.

In the Kitchen at PartiesIn the Kitchen at Parties

08 September 2014 by Patrizia Coggiola

In the Kitchen at Parties

Rethinking the composition

Whether consciously or intuitively, people feel good in kitchens. In this issue, the topic is explored for all of its new permutations – the upshot is that the components that comprise the modern-day kitchen are designed to cling to us rather than our having to seek them out.  At parties or otherwise.

Collaborative Cooking by Petter Johansson and Christian Isberg (PJADAD).

Meet Me in St. LouisMeet Me in St. Louis

08 September 2014 by Lyle Rexer

Meet Me in St. Louis

Bucky knew best

Looking back can occasionally be the best way to imagine the future. The proposals proffered by the late Bucky Fuller, a keen visionary and somewhat of a misfit in his 20th century context, are proving highly relevant to the issues of today. More interestingly still, many of his insights are still visionary. The current discussion on the future of the St. Louis area involve the cleaning up of the lakes, renewable energy, and the greening of the cities along the lakes and rivers, precisely matching the thoughts had all those decades ago by an architect, systems theorist, author, designer..

R. Buckminster Fuller. Image courtesy of the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.,

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The Prodigal DesignerThe Prodigal Designer

08 September 2014 by Michèle Champenois

The Prodigal Designer

Marc Held is back!

Marc Held is a designer and architect who entered his career via gymnastics. Rather than it being an oddity, his earlier experience taught him much about the human form, perfectly relating to all that has come since. Held’s work has ranged from designing a teaspoon to designing industrial buildings, and has encompassed Limoges chinaware, ski outfits, cars, and houses. Working in a principled way, his intentions always remain true, with harmony and integrity defining the heart of his working process. In seeking to reveal and communicate the nuances of his time through all that he p..

Over the course of 20 years, Marc Held has built several large houses on the Greek island of Skopelos, among others this Villa Myrtho.

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A New State of MindA New State of Mind

08 September 2014 by Thomas Geisler

A New State of Mind

On Michael Anastassiades, craftsman

Michael Anastassiades's view on the meaning of craft can easily be likened to that of sociologist Richard Sennett's. The commitment to the integrity of his work is absolute. Believing in the totality of the object, its purity of vision, its internal and external power, Anastassiades's creative intentions are somewhat other than those of the typical designer. It would indeed be more accurate to call him a contemporary craftsman. The objects that he produces are so simple as to border on austere, composed of high quality materials that are thoroughly luxurious and sensuous, wi..

Time and Again - MAK, 2012. Photo: Ben Murphy

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Is That Birdsong?Is That Birdsong?

08 September 2014 by Jurriaan Benschop

Is That Birdsong?

Carsten Höller's alternative nature  

Approaching art-making from a science-of-plants-and-animals perspective, Carsten Höller creates rather unusual works that refer, either directly or indirectly, to one or the other of these life forms. Particularly fond of the sounds made by birds and the feelings felt by plants, he incorporates these aspects into the pieces he conceives, often by way of a elegant model thereof. Many of these models henceforth take on the status of a sculpture or an installation and become situated in the wide expanse of a museum space, where a certain lesson about the natural world is decidedly on ..

itra slide tower, 2014. Photo: Julien Lanoo. Images courtesy of Vitra.

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Conran's Wish ListConran's Wish List

08 September 2014 by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Conran's Wish List

Creating the desired object

There is nothing quite like the experience of having to produce, with your own hands, the product that you yourself have designed. Gaining practical experience and learning a craft helps one understand how things are made and how the material greatly informs the design process. The Wish List is a project that asked emerging designers to each make a different given object (for an important established designer, no less!) out of a single material and in a very short space of time. To reward the adrenaline rush that this exercise must no doubt have caused, was the destined display of said obje..

The soaking, steam-bending, and working of American red oak for use in Terence Conran’s new workspace, designed by Sebastian Cox. Picture: Petr Krejci.

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Homegrown & AdventurousHomegrown & Adventurous

08 September 2014 by Veerle Devos

Homegrown & Adventurous

A food manifesto by Kobe Desramaults

"Luxurious, chic, snobbish 'wining & dining' is over, I believe, and we're increasingly moving towards something more pure and conceptual. As a young chef, I was no longer pleased with the influential school that had formed me – it dawned on me that since every chef has access to the very same fresh-food markets, products, and techniques, uniformity and a lack of true creativity seals their fate. This insight led to a profound turnaround some eight years ago, and it was then that I decided I wanted to give my work a deeper meaning. So I took the whole process from..

Kobe Desramaults, chef at In De Wulf, the Michelin-starred restaurant he founded in Dranouter, Belgium. Photos: Piet De Kersgieter.

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