The ten tricks of the Madrid Design Festival

The capital hosts during the month of February the III edition of Madrid Design Festival, a meeting that claims the value of design as a transformative tool of society. Its extensive program also integrates numerous exhibitions. We select the ten that should not be overlooked.

Patricia Urquiola
Since opening her design studio in 2001, Patricia Urquiola (1961) has signed numerous projects (furniture, textile design, interiors and products of various kinds) for major international firms. Now, an exhibition exhibits the most outstanding proposals of the stages of his career. His works have been grouped around six scenographic still lifes – inspired by Dalí Nature’s picture morte vivante (1956) – through which recurring themes in his work such as transparency, gender or sustainability are explored.
Nature morte vivante.
 C. de la Villa. Curator: Ana Domínguez Siemens. Until March 1st.

“It worked!”
This project stems from the initiative of gallery owner Moisés Pérez de Albéniz, and borrows most of the pieces from his private collection. The objective is to show how industrial design has been one of the main protagonists in the configuration of the scenario in which we move today. The expository discourse, which covers from 1950 to the present day, is structured through chapters that establish various models of functionality: reduce, improve, complement, accelerate, reduce, signify and implement.
It worked! Because I’m so.
 C. de la Villa. Commissioner: Juli Capella. Until March 1st.

H Furniture
Born in 1958, the Spanish company H Muebles promoted the confluence of interests of prominent architects, designers and artists who put their creativity at the service of furniture, conceived as an integral part of modern architecture. Its production, intended for both private housing and institutional furniture, resulted in unique pieces of great beauty. This exhibition seeks to recover from oblivion what created by H Muebles since the late fifties and, also, place it in the industrial, artistic and architectural context of its time.
H Furniture. Between industry, architecture and art.
 COAM Commissioners: P. Molins, P. Feduchi and P. Reula. Until March 31st.

“Knock on wood”
This is the event that includes the finalist projects of the Toca Madera call, in which more than 40 young designers from Spain participated. The call, organized by AIDI Industrial Design Engineering Association and AHEC American Hardwood Export Council, proposes that participants respond to the challenge of designing durable objects and whose dominant material is American red oak wood. The winners will be announced on February 15 at an event at the COAM.
Touch Wood for young professional designers.
 Cultural Center of the Villa. Until March 1st.

Sáenz de Oíza

Francisco Javier Saénz de Oíza was one of the most outstanding Spanish architects of the 20th century. This exhibition, which culminates the celebrations of the centenary of his birth, explores the relationship of his work with the artists and craftsmen with whom he collaborated: Chillida, Palazuelo, Oteiza, Antonio López, Carlos Pascual de Lara, Alberto Schommer, Néstor Basterretxea and José A. Sistiaga, among others. The tour is marked by its most emblematic projects, from the Aranzazu Basilica in Oñate, to the Torres Blancas building in Madrid.
Francisco J. Sáenz de Oíza. Arts and crafts.
 ICO MUSEUM. Curators: Marisa, Javier and Vicente Sáenz Guerra. Until April 26.

«Hope and Utopia».
This exhibition presents a look at the History of design, mainly European, created and produced between 1900 and 1939, and focuses on some of the main themes of the creators of that period: the search for a new functionalist aesthetic, serial production, national identity, hygiene and health, or the intensification of the female component in the definition of spaces and objects. The presence of the Bauhaus, whose centenary was celebrated in 2019, summarizes the debates of this period.
Hope and Utopia. The design between 1900-1939.
 Collective National Museum of Decorative Arts. Since February 12.

“In poster”
The posters took a central role in the culture of the great European capitals of the first decades of the 20th century. Although their messages were ephemeral, their rapidly recognizable codes had a great impact on a budding consumer society. The Museum of Decorative Arts shows for the first time one of its lesser known collections: a selection of poster sketches painted in gouache between 1900 and 1936, and which, as a whole, trace an interesting path of Modernism to the avant-garde.
In poster. Graphic artists in the MNAD (1900-1936).
 Collective National Museum of Decorative Arts. Until April 12.

«Open by design»
This exhibition proposes a tour of some of the most outstanding pieces of the industrial design of the sixties that are preserved in the collections of the Costume Museum. In its rooms we find objects such as the iconic Radio Brionvega by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso, or the DG Studies lamp signed by Eduardo Duque. Thus, by presenting pieces in a scenographic framework that mimics Spanish urban housing during the developmental years, the event explores the coexistence of national and international industrial design models.
Open by design. Urban product and industrial design in the 60s.
 Collective National Costume Museum. from February 4 to March 3.


Tout goes well is the first retrospective dedicated to the Barcelona-based artist Joan Rabascall (1935). In the sixties he came into contact with critics Lawrence Alloway and Pierre Restany, as well as with the Independent Group, in England, and the New Realists in France, who recovered aesthetic and ethical positions close to Berlin Dadaism. The appointment in Tabacalera includes works elaborated in those years, when the emerging mass culture and pop culture began to change society, and culminated in its most recent production.
Joan Rabascall Tout is going well.
 Tobacalera Commissioners: Berta Sichel and Bureau Phi Art. From February 7 to April 12.

Museum tours
The exhibition proposal is completed with tours of three Madrid centers that allow rediscovering the pieces linked to design in their collections. The Archeologist has established visits every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of February to analyze the first objects designed by the human being; that of Romanticism, will focus on the fashions of the hairstyle; and the Cerralbo Museum will explore interior decoration on days 6, 13, 20 and 27 of this month. .

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