Sci-Fi and Design Collide at Vitra Schaudepot

The design world has obsessed over a vision for the future for what seems like an eternity, and as such, created futuristic-looking objects that eventually made their way into sci-fi cinema. ⁠Furniture by Marc Newson was featured in the 2012 movie Prometheus, while Eero Aarnio’s chairs had a cameo in Men in Black?⁠

Those pioneering the use of organic shapes and shiny plastic surfaces – also think Gae Aulenti, Joe Colombo, and Verner Panton – supplied the accessories for these time-traveling worlds built by directors. ⁠

For 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick chose Olivier Mourgue’s Djinn seating series, while Ridley Scott looked to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Argyle Chair for Blade Runner – a somewhat unexpected choice, considering the designer had created the piece almost 100 years earlier for the Argyle Street Tea Rooms on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street. ⁠

Now, the relationship between science fiction and design comes to life at the Vitra Design Museum, in a show called “Science Fiction Design: From Space Age to Metaverse”.

Across the exhibition, over 100 objects from the museum’s collection are on show, ranging from historical designs to concepts that represent the so-called “Second Space Age”, as well as the metaverse. ⁠

“In light of the current space exploration efforts, there is talk of a Second Space Age, the museum said. “This raises questions about how the dialogue between science fiction and design is progressing today, and what it might look like in the future. Applying innovative technologies to pressing social problems and challenges is just one conceivable scenario.”⁠

“The other is the metaverse, which, for a new generation of young designers, appears to be evolving into what the cosmos represented in the 1960s – a new space for projections and experiments, a place for free thinking that can be filled with novel ideas and concepts.”⁠

“Science Fiction Design: From Space Age to Metaverse“ will be on view at the Vitra Schaudepot until 11 May 2025.

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