February is to Madrid what April is to Milan: the design month par excellence. The Madrid Design Festival has established itself as a comprehensive selection of the best in Spanish and international design. We visited its installations to let you know which are the most interesting ones this year. If you can’t make it in person, you can always take a virtual tour using #MDF2020.
Nature Morte Vivante by Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola is considered one of the best designers in the world, and here at ConnectionsbyFinsa we completely agree. That’s why the first thing we did at Madrid Design Festival was visit Nature Morte Vivante at the Fernán Gómez Cultural Centre. It features furniture, rugs, lamps, and other objects designed over the course of her career, as well as objects that have been redesigned using upcycling due to the growing concerns about sustainability.
At the opening of the exhibition, the image presented by the Spanish designer was far from the one we have come to expect from a star of the design world, as she transmitted her passion for her work and emphasised the importance of industrial design that goes beyond the page, with an understanding of the manufacturing process to facilitate the company’s job.
Funciono! And the value of objects
At Fernán Gómez Cultural Centre we found another must-see exhibition. If you have ever asked yourself who thought up easy-to-open packaging or putting a whole bunch of tools together in a Swiss knife, you will find the answers at I work! Because that’s what I’m like. “The goal of the exhibition is to realise that all the objects around us have a very interesting creative value when we pay attention to them,” explains curator Juli Capella. Around 100 objects are explained as well as how they make our lives better.
Astral Bodies by Finsa
Then we moved on from earthly objects to celestial ones. For Astral Bodies by FINSA, the manufacturing company turned its coloured panels into meteorites. The exhibition, designed by Enorme Studio, plays with volume and colour as an original way of putting the spotlight on materials and their importance in the world of design.
The Toca Madera (‘Touch Wood’) exhibition brings together the projects that were finalists in the annual competition organised by the Asociación de Ingeniería en Diseño Industrial (the Association of Engineering in Industrial Design) and the American Hardwood Export Council. They are “infinite objects” made from wood so that they last and to show that there are more ways to use this material than we think.
It is complemented by the MultiPly installation, a wooden pavilion designed by British studio Waugh Thistleton Architects to show the benefits of prefabrication and modular construction using wood.
This project by DIMAD/Central de Diseño came before the Madrid Design Festival, but it has become an essential part of the latter’s program. Fresh Product brings together the best of Madrid product design from the past year so that we can get up close and personal with innovation as well as understand the decisions that designers make on a daily basis.
H Muebles. A mix of industry, architecture, and art
You can visit this exhibit, curated by Pedro Feduchi, Patricia Molíns, and Pedro Reula, at the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (COAM). It honours the modernisation of Spanish society initiated by the Huarte family. Through H Muebles, they cultivated the “art of furniture” as an integral part of modern architecture, and they contributed to the modernisation of designs and manufacturing systems.
IKEA’s home of tomorrow
What will life be like in 2030? To answer this question, IKEA is showing us a home that is more than a house, as it incorporates the neighbourhood and the neighbours, and everything is designed to facilitate our day-to-day lives. Some of the essentials are adapting small spaces, reducing energy consumption, and sustainability.
Electric Green by Mini
The vertical garden at CaixaForum has been chosen as the location for this immersive video installation created by Mayice Studio. Combining sounds of nature and animated flecks of light, it looks to raise awareness about the need to conserve nature in cities by reducing CO2 emissions.
The youngest talent: the European Institute of Design
IED Madrid will host a design party to celebrate being chosen as the official school of the MDF for the third consecutive year. Its program shines the spotlight on future talent: students. There are talks, installations, and exhibitions, with one of the most notable being New furniture for co-living, a collection of furniture created by product design students for adapting to new ways of living. You can see it from February 17 to February 20 at the FINSA21 space.
And so much more…
With more than 60 exhibitions and hundreds of activities, you will need time to be able to enjoy everything that Madrid has to offer this month. Different museums are participating in the festival with temporary exhibitions, such as Los Diez were also postmodernists, at the National Museum of Decorative Arts; Open by Design, at the Museo del Traje; and Saénz de Oíza. Arts and Trades, at the ICO Museum. But there are also galleries, interior design stores, design studios, hotels, and restaurants throughout the city that are participating in Festival OFF as part of a special program.
Aside from the different exhibitions, the COAM headquarters will also host MadridDesignPRO from February 13 to February 15. With the motto “Redesigning the world”, there will be three days of talks, lectures, workshops, and more, with the purpose of spreading awareness about the value of design. Speakers include some local and international masters of design, including Giorgietto Giugiaro, Neri&Hu, Pedro Feduchi, and Mario Ruiz, as well as rising stars like Elvis Wesley, who is a member of the Envisions collective.