The social potential of outdoor furniture
What does it take to promote dialogue between strangers in the public space? How can a piece of furniture facilitate human encounters and interactions?
These relevant and essential questions form the thematic framework for the exhibitors at the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2017. Can a piece of furniture really be of such a nature, such a format, such a form that perfect strangers invariably wind up on speaking terms simply by sitting on a bench in the public space?
In Denmark, we are increasingly embracing outdoor areas as a shared space, even if the Nordic climate only gives us about five months a year to enjoy city squares and parks. So, now that we are spending so much more time outdoors, how should we furnish the public space?
A hanging sofa, where you have to work with your neighbour to coordinate the swing? A bench with a kink where gravity brings you both together in the middle? A circle of stools where you can pivot to face the others and initiate a dialogue? A family of five buckets, each with its own personality, that collect rainwater to be used in play and conversations? An integrated fireplace and bench that brings people together around a shared meal?
This year, you can meet and study 40 creative proposals and solutions at the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2017, which returns to the beautiful garden space Grønnegården at Designmuseum Danmark. Landscape architect G. N. Brandt designed Grønnegården based on the proportional golden ratio in a straight-angled room, and it is this ratio and the concept of geometric repetition, based in part on the window sections of the four surrounding wings, that inspired SLA’s design of the setting for this year’s exhibition with its focus on outdoor furniture.
White lines divide the exhibition space in the garden into nine fields, each containing six smaller fields, where this year’s furniture exhibits unfold and interact. The white stripes create a space within a space in the old garden and present the projects in their natural habitat – outdoors. By subtle means, SLA activates the senses of hearing, smell and touch, as pine needles, cones, bark, sand and other natural materials give off their fragrant smell and crunchy sounds and can be sensed under the visitors’ feet as they take in the exhibition. Thus, the furniture is both showcased and set free (under the open sky), to allow the audience to experience and observe the furniture from every angle, conveniently and realistically placed at eye level. When the exhibition is over, the grass is cut, and the exhibition architecture sustainably dissolved. And the garden returns to its former state.
As always, the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2017 was created in a manifestation of the basic concept of the association, where everyone joins forces and pulls together to create a unique exhibition platform showcasing furniture by Denmark’s leading designers and manufacturers.
We invite you to interact with the beautiful garden and this year’s atypical takes on socially minded outdoor furniture. Just imagine the integrating impact if furniture could promote tolerance and enhance our understanding for the people we happen to encounter in the public space.
We look forward to welcoming you in Grønnegården at Designmuseum Danmark to Side by Side Outside – the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2017.