Josef Frank: Against Design

Exhibition, MAK, Vienna, Austria

From December 16, 2015 until April 3, 2016
“One can use everything that can be used”, proclaimed Josef Frank, one of the most important architects and applied artists of modernity, who, with this non-dogmatic, democratic design approach was far ahead of his time. Frank’s architectural sensibility placed comfort above form. Provided here is a comprehensive overview of the multi-layered oeuvre of an extraordinary ‘designer’, simultaneously delving into his complex intellectual and creative strategies. Highly productive, Frank developed a plethora of furniture and textiles at the same time as being a leading architect of modernity who grappled with all of the themes concerning architecture and living environments, including socio-political ones. Within the avant-garde, however, Frank adopted a very critical position, expressly declaring himself opposed to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, standardised furnishings, and innovative forms for their own sake.