From 19 September to 8 October 2016, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) and Redstar Macalline jointly present “A Finer Quotidian—Beyond Vision: Redstar Macalline Design Exhibition.” Five international designers—Jurgen Bey, Kenya Hara, Kengo Kuma, Luca Nichetto, and Christina Strand—transform UCCA’s Pavilion with works of furniture specially created for Redstar Macalline’s thirtieth anniversary. Enabling new perceptions of contemporary life and the spaces in which it takes place, the exhibition calls for deeper reflection on the connections between visual culture, physical dwellings, and personal psychology.
Only when design breaks through the familiarity of daily life can a beautiful living environment be achieved. In displaying this grouping of design works, the exhibition conceals the abstract origins of innovation in the seemingly “everyday” details of furniture design in a setting beyond the ordinary. These works not only demonstrate the differing intents of designer from the East and West, but also present daily life, a material landscape composed of design products, as a cradle of spirituality, concealing and inspiring pursuit of expectation.
The exhibition is organized into four types of space: booths, tables, walls, and a darkroom. These four types of presentation space allow for different interactions between the audience and furniture: the booths and the tables directly present the works of the designers, drawing audiences into the exhibition; while the walls present aesthetic practice with hints of the different designers’ concepts. The darkroom is the crux of the exhibition, presenting an interactive installation. Within this dark space, the audience experiences representative objects placed by the designers. These objects inspired the designers and allow the audience to further contemplate the relationship of self within the physical world, as well as establish a direct link to the designers themselves. The exhibition’s four types of space can also be understood as four parts of a process, representing self-reflection that leads to contemplation of the relationship between designer, design-object, and daily life, as well guiding the audience to realize the indivisible connections between design and daily life by moving beyond the visual and towards deeper thought. The exhibition is jointly hosted by UCCA and Redstar MACALLINE and curated by UCCA CEO May Xue, UCCA Director Philip Tinari, and the architect Tian Jun.
May Xue assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer in May, 2011. Prior to joining UCCA, Xue worked in various multinational corporations at the director level, amassing over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and general management. Her areas of expertise include business, luxury goods, art, and events management.
May Xue first joined UCCA in 2009 as director of UCCASTORE, creating a concept store celebrating China’s best in original design and in the process turning the traditional museum shop model on its head. Her work with the store has also helped promote the appreciation of limited edition art pieces in China. She oversees the development activities that support UCCA’s many not-for-profit activities, including exhibitions and public programs, moving it toward long-term financial viability and independence. Since becoming CEO, Xue has built up a management team of international caliber while dedicating herself to the long-term development of the institution. In 2015, she completed the Getty Leadership Institute program.
Philip Tinari assumed the directorship in 2011. In this role, he organizes an exhibition program devoted to established figures and rising talents both Chinese and international, as well as a wide range of public and educational programs and development activities, aimed at UCCA’s annual public of nearly a million visitors.
Tinari currently serves on advisory boards to institutions including the Guggenheim, the Asia Society, and NTU Center for Contemporary Art Singapore, and was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He holds a B.A. from the Program in Literature at Duke, an A.M. in East Asian Studies from Harvard, was a Fulbright scholar at Peking University.
Tian Jun is an artist, the founder of Beijing Ruipu Architecture and Decoration LLC, and a contemporary art collector. He strives to eliminate the borders between contemporary art and design, allowing casual viewers to experience a space between the two, while constructing a specifically Chinese relation between life and art.
Tian Jun designed the exhibition space for “Wang Yin: The Gift” Jun Tian once published “San Shi Si Dian” catering design collection and worked as an honored guest for CCTV-2 “Jiao Huan Kong Jian” for many times. He also worked as an expert judge and a guest speaker for “Taipei Communication Award for Happy Space of Four Regions Across the Straight” for 3 years continuously. He has also won several prizes in “Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards”, “Red Dot Award” (Germany) and “IF Product Design Award” (Germany).
Jurgen Bey (b. 1965, Netherlands) studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Royal College of Art in London. He currently lives and works in Rotterdam. Since 2002 he leads the Makkink & Bey Studio in Rotterdam together with Rianne Makkink. Their projects range from product design over installations in public rooms to exposition architecture and applied arts. Recently they started their own experimental product label Prooff. Bey teaches at the London Royal College of Art. Since 2010 he has been the director of the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam.
Kenya Hara (b. 1958) is a Japanese graphic designer and curator. He also teaches at Musashino Art University. Hara has been the art director of Muji since 2001. He designed the opening and closing ceremony autograph books of the Nagano Winter Olympic Games in 1998.
Kengo Kuma is a Japanese architect and professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo. Kuma's stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century. Kuma is also noted for his prolific writing, which includes the works Good-Bye Postmodern －11 American Architects, Anti-Object, Kengo Kuma : Lecture and Dialogue, The Origins of Materials, Studies in Organic. His key projects include the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) Group's Japan headquarters, and Besançon Art Center in France.
Luca Nichetto (b. 1976, Venice) graduated from the department of industrial design at Università Iuav di Venezia. In 1999, Nichetto began his professional career with Murano-based glass maker Salviati, later becoming a product designer and consultant for lighting company Foscarini. In 2006, he founded his eponymous practice in Venice. He has been awarded numerous international design awards for his highly researched, innovative design projects, which range across products, furniture and accessories, as well as incorporating architecture and exhibition design.
Christina Strand is recognized internationally as a leading furniture designer. Her designs and concepts for furniture, fireplace/stoves, chairs, and office interiors have won some of the most prestigious design awards and commendations. She works with clients and companies internationally to bring aesthetic industrial design to products and services. Christina has a strong academic grounding in industrial design and participates in the teaching of design in Denmark, Japan and USA. In 2015, she won the Finn Juhl Award.
Over the past 30 years, Redstar MACALLINE has persisted in its mission of “improving the taste of Chinese lifestyle. ” On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Redstar MACALLINE has invited five international designers to create a series of works each under the theme “Design for Chinese Lifestyle,” all of which are displayed in “A Finer Quotidian—Beyond Vision: Redstar Macalline Design Exhibition.” Through the exhibition Redstar MACALLINE hopes to establish a multi-cultural platform where Chinese consumers can engage with the ideas of international designers. Redstar MECALLINE intends to collaborate with more designers to provide more high-end design products.