The Neues Museum Nuremberg presents design from the two political systems in the postwar era in a cooperation with the Neue Sammlung. The exhibition presented in the form of a trilogy explores the different design approaches in the GDR and FRG, design in the Czech Republic before the Second World War and after the fall of the iron curtain, as well as industrial design from the USA who rose to the leading design nation in the second half of the 20th century.
Design in the FRG was characterized by a variety of materials, in the GDR by plastic.
The trilogy was started at the Neues Museum Nuremberg with the focus on the division of Germany after the Second World War and explores the different conditions and developments of product design in the GDR and the FRG. The German Democratic Republic existed from 1949 to 1990 as a result of the political division of Europe what made it geographically and temporally a self-contained social entity which was cemented by the construction of the Wall in 1961. This artificial division has consistently been made a subject by many designers of the New German Design, their designs for everyday objects such as furniture, consumer goods and technical devices reveal the different perspectives in the parallel worlds of the GDR and the FRG.
Generations of consumers have been shaped by everyday objects that have become design classics in East and West Germany. Due to the different political and economic situation in divided Germany products in the FRG were characterized by a variety of materials such as the furniture design by Egon Eiermann, whereas in the GDR the focus was on the use of plastic because of the local chemical industry. Due to the lack of resources designers in the GDR were forced to come up with particularly creative and innovative design solutions. However, despite the political differences the design heritage of the Bauhaus continued to exist in both parts of divided Germany which was expressed in a puristic functional design vocabulary as shown in the electric devices by Dieter Rams and Karl Clauss Dietel.
Czech designers ranked among the aesthetic avantgarde in Europe.
Czech design is in the focus of the second part of the trilogy East and West which covers almost the period of an entire century. Due to the history of the Czech Republic and the collection of the Neue Sammlung the focus of the presentation is on Czech avantgarde design between the two world wars and the return to creative freedom after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
Czech design was especially famous and internationally appreciated for its products in furniture and glass manufacturing. Among the most renowned furniture designers of the Czech avantgarde rank Jindrich Halabala and Karel Ort who were inspired both by the Bauhaus represented by Marcel Breuer and by the De Stjil movement in the Netherlands represented by Mart Stam. This influence resulted in the very early design of innovative tubular furniture. Czech glass was much sought-after in the first half of the 20th century, Ladislav Sutnar was one of the most famous designers of glass objects of his time. Also contemporary glass design is presented at the Neues Museum, among the representatives of the younger design generation are René Roubicek and Pavel Hlava who take the technical possibilities of the fragile material to extremes with their aesthetic approaches.
The “American Way of Life“ was significantly defined by design.
After the Second World War the USA rose to the leading design nation because of their economic power in a period when product design had to be adapted to the requirements of the mass market more and more. The third part of the trilogy East and West shows designs by Raymond Loewy and Ray Eames amongst others who had a significant influence on the design of the 20th century. They confronted the puristic design of the Bauhaus era with design aesthetics that were characterized by Streamline and Organic Design, without sacrificing functional aspects. No other brand symbolizes so much the American consumer society as Coca-Cola, the consumption of stimulants and electric devices stood for the boom and the economic superiority of the West.
In the postmodernist era finally the prevailing functionalism was questioned by designers as Frank Gehry and Michael Graves who wanted to disrupt the traditional design aesthetics through deconstructivist designs and design quotations. The rise of the Silicon Valley resulted in new digital applications in design, IBM computers could be found in private households and Apple products became design icons at the turn of the millenium. The “American Way of Life“ as synonym of freedom and prosperity was strongly influenced by creative design innovations.
Since 01.05.15 Neues Museum, Nuremberg