Age of Man–An Introduction
By Daphne Stylianou
Form&Seek is an evolving and dynamic collective, with a growing network of international designers and artists, exhibiting internationally and merging together different voices, disciplines, and ideas. They are taking their latest exhibition Age of Man, to Milan Design Week this April.
The group of over thirty creatives making up Form&Seek, come together to reflect on and make sense of the ‘Age of Man,' and the integrated challenges and opportunities in a time of rapidly changing social and environmental demands. They create experimental and thought-provoking work that is showcasing diverse and creative ways to think about big issues where multiple forces are at play in a new geological era defined by man’s impact on the environment.
Design, in this narrative, takes on a role to respond, critique and reimagine. It can create a powerful space for contemplation.
The participating designers showcase varied responses to the theme and apply creativity to the big problems of our time. Reflecting on the complicated relationship and tension between man and nature some of the themes that are explored are the many interconnected issues -from politics to economy to culture- that affect the planet how our actions and experience impact the environment while being simultaneously shaped by it.
Designers are asking questions like:
How can design communicate the pressing challenges we face today?
How can design trigger action?
What is the role of objects and making in this new age of man?
What are the materials of the future?
Different points of view are of importance here, as the topic is very complex and broad and would benefit from various contributions coming together. It suggests a multidimensional way of looking at how we create and why, and potentially show how design can add value.
Igniting inspiration and inquiry, the collective presents an exhibition that celebrates design, new ideas, and concepts. Some of the designers and projects include; Textile designer Begüm Cana Özgür who uses Anatolian weaving techniques to make us think of how we experience and engage with objects. Architect and designer Amar Malo investigates the anthropological relationship between humans and their environment by working with structures that combine digital technology and traditional craft.
Sanne Visser explores human hair as a natural resource and as a potential future material to design with. Richard Lowry examines our relationship with plastics and comments on disposable, single-use, everyday products that we have become accustomed to. He challenges this throwaway culture by creating sculptural pieces made of liquid plastic, marble dust, and pigment. Isabel Lecaros explores the ancient craft of weaving with horsehair in Chile to create narratives of social and environmental tension. Ben Branagan repurposes remains of library books and gives them new life by transforming them into series of handmade and distinctly non-functional pots, vases and ambiguous artifacts. He creates an alternative archive of information, reclaiming cultural knowledge and playing with its materiality.
The powerful design collective will exhibit at The Wheelshop, at Ventura Lambrate, during Milan Design Week.