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WantedDesign Tunes In to AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV

WantedDesign Tunes In to AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV

In September, we proudly presented the third online exhibition in our new venue WantedDesign Online: AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV, on view through Oct 30, 2021. Guided by the question “What is wanted?” the design exhibition, presented in the form of a 10-minute TV show, is curated by Matylda Krzykowski, and developed with the support of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and Swissnex in Boston and New York.

“We are proud and thankful to the Swiss cultural organizations for their commitment to promoting Swiss design in the US with WantedDesign since 2015. We see in Switzerland a great emerging design scene, bringing a lot of innovation and original products, and experimenting as much with new technologies and craft. AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV translates in a beautiful way this great creativity, and gives us an interesting view on the Swiss design scene”

Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, WantedDesign co-founders

AIRTIME, Alena Halmes

We asked Oliver Haugen, Head of Swissnex in New York, what people may not know about Swiss design:

“Many people are familiar with midcentury Swiss graphic design (the “Swiss Style,” Helvetica),” he noted. “Others admire the contribution that architects have made to furniture and object design, from Le Corbusier to Mario Botta, and more recently to Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, who somehow manage to turn their sights to the smaller design scale in spite of their busy schedule of architectural commissions in the US and around the world.”

“What is less known is how dynamic the contemporary design scene is at the moment! There is a new generation of young designers, many of whom have had the opportunity to be highlighted at WantedDesign Brooklyn since 2015. Together with the many art and design schools around Switzerland, public institutions like Pro Helvetia (the Swiss Arts Council), and major design companies like Vitra and USM Haller, this makes for a vibrant design community and a healthy support system for the contemporary scene. This bodes well for the future of Swiss design and its ability to shine for years to come. It feels like it is entering a new golden age.”

We also asked Oliver what he’d like people to know about Swiss design, particularly here in the US:

“Swiss design is all around us –– from the fonts in the New York subway, to the look and feel of a Logitech computer mouse, to running shoes, to some of the newest flagship buildings in cities around the US, including several great museum spaces like the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the newest addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles,” he replied.

“The thing I love about Swiss design is that it strives to emphasize precision, innovation and quality of craftmanship –– and that its canvas comes in all sizes, from watches to bridges, from recycled Freitag bags to chairs, from office storage consoles to concert halls and stadiums.”

The filming of AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV

With an aim to connect Switzerland with NYC, the TV format of AIRTIME is a reference to the 24-hour news cycle and how people consume content today. From NFTs to new materials, Matyla has crafted a narrative to present contemporary Swiss design to an American audience. “We want to tell an exciting story of Swiss design that is connected to these various ideas and projects instead of showing isolated projects,” she explained.

With the green screen a ubiquitous feature for content creators of all scales, from major Hollywood motion pictures to TikTok influencers, the vivid green hue is a recurring motif in the visual branding and the presentation of AIRTIME. To create AIRTIME, Matylda played the role of scriptwriter, moderator and news anchor, with filming and production by the Basel-based creative studio Tristesse and with graphic design by Dual Room. WantedDesign is proud to be the “broadcaster” of this new form of exhibition at wanteddesign.online

We asked Berlin-based curator Matylda some questions:

WantedDesign: How would you define Swiss design?

Matylda Krzykowski: Defining design means changing its definition frequently. Today I would say design is an opportunity to be used with care. I wonder myself what Swiss means or any other national identity. Many designers in AIRTIME are not Swiss by origin but are trained in Switzerland or work and live in Switzerland. Where do you start defining?

The filming of AIRTIME, Swiss Design TV with curator Matylda Krzykowski

WD: You choose to use ‘What is wanted?’ as the main question in the Airtime TV Show. Tell us about the idea behind it?

My work is relational. It responds to given circumstances. Your format is called WantedDesign and the question ‘What is wanted?’ arises naturally in the context of the collaboration. As I elaborate on the etymological meaning of the word ‘Want’ in the TV Show:

 ‘Want is desire. a longing for something that can be felt physically. while the world of design isn’t only physical, it deals with desire, always.’ 

WD: What was your curatorial approach to select the designers and studios featured in AIRTIME?

I call them protagonists of design because they are the characters of a story of design I want to tell. Half of them I selected from the 2021 nominations for the Swiss Design Awards and the other half I found by asking around and expanding my own view. I have not worked with any of the protagonists before. That way you expand the history of design. 

WD: Why a TV Show? 

Watching television as an activity has been a part of our culture. We depended on TV for entertainment, news, education, and culture. 1994 saw the very first broadcast on the Internet. In 1995, the 24-hour news cycle which ushered in the era of cable news was invented in the US. Several studies found that television has many advantages. Familiar formats like the news can be powerful and effective educational tools if used smartly. Today, our internet enabled mobile devices give us access to information wherever and whenever we want. We watch TV on the Internet. I hope people watch AIRTIME and with prolonged viewing the world shown becomes the real world.

AIRTIME, Bamna Dadashzadeh

The exhibition kicked off on Instagram Live with a live presentation by Matylda at the Swiss Design Awards 2021 in Basel, Switzerland. Experience it at wanteddesign.online through October 30, 2021.

By Charlene Lam, contributing editor