“Young designers no longer create for their bubble, they see further. More and more of them are getting involved in sustainable projects”, immediately announces Amanda Pinatih, curator of the exhibition “It’s Our F***ing Backyard”, which takes place until September 4 at the Stedelijk. Museum, in Amsterdam.
“They can make a difference by working with materials, for example by relying on forgotten skills,” she continues, before explaining this catchy title, chosen in reference to the behavior of the Dutch who come out in favor of electricity produced by wind turbines but are much less likely to want it near their homes. “‘Not in my backyard’, they repeat, but this question of ecology concerns us all, like a stone in the middle of our garden. So the idea was to start the discussion from there. »
A contemporary, inventive and committed design
Eighty projects are thus presented in the Amsterdam contemporary art foundation, from the most experimental, such as those of Fernando Laposse – who works with sisal, a vegetable fiber, with Mexican craftsmen –, to the most industrial, such as a Vitra chair in recycled plastic. “We present successful projects, already largely validated by the market, and other very avant-garde, which we do not know what they will give in twenty years, but which are essential to move things forward”, explains Amanda Pinatih .
3D printed objects, mycelium insulation panels… All scales of design are summoned in this invigorating and optimistic exhibition which turns away from the “pallet” aesthetic of the first ecological projects of the 1990s – where upcycling consisted of laying cushions on delivery pallets to make a sofa – to support a resolutely contemporary, inventive and committed design.
“Through this event, explains the commissioner, it also seems very important to us to remember that the roots of the climate crisis are linked to colonization. The West has exploited, and continues to exploit, raw materials in the poorest countries for its own profit. The designers present in the exhibition are sensitive to this question. With their work, they demonstrate their desire to enhance the populations of the whole world with whom they collaborate hand in hand. »
Les bons plans d’Amanda Pinatih
A room on the water: “The locks of Amsterdam are lined with small houses from which once watched over the canals and bridges of the city. Twenty-eight of them have been transformed into hotel rooms. Or rather recycled. This Sweets Hotel fits perfectly with the spirit of our exhibition. There are even recycled chairs by Dirk Van der Kooij. Each house provides a different experience, and I particularly like the one that is near the botanical garden and looks like a work of Mondrian. »
Tasty ramen: “If you care about the climate crisis, then you have to address the issue of food. Men Impossible puts the question on the table by serving the best vegetarian ramen in the Netherlands. Under the leadership of a Japanese chef, this tiny restaurant is accessible only by reservation, but also serves snacks to take away. Its central location is ideal for exploring the city’s galleries. »
A political platform: “Located in the east of the city, Framer Framed is a contemporary art platform, without a permanent collection, but which offers many events and exhibitions on environmental issues, the notion of gender, globalization, the capitalism and the colonial question. Many critics, curators and other personalities from the art world deliver their vision of a changing world. »
A festive ex-factory: “Het Hem is a brand new space by the water, outside the city, which can be reached by boat or bicycle. As with the rooms at Sweets Hotel, I like the idea of an old building, in this case an ammunition factory, being converted for a new life. This multidisciplinary art center organizes parties and events, and houses a restaurant, a café and a library. The place is also worth a visit for its “Chapter 5IVE” exhibition, one of whose curators is the architect Rem Koolhaas. »
An Inspirational Gallery: “Marleen Kurvers has been working in the field of design and art for many years. In her new address, the gallery owner exhibits contemporary Dutch designers alongside forgotten works of art that she has unearthed from the reserves of museums or art centers that have closed their doors. An inspiring place to find out-of-the-ordinary pieces, which I often visit. »