What is design? What is its definition? The etymology of the word can be traced to the Latin designare, which is closer to the present terms ‘to designate’, ‘to point’, ‘to mark out’. Nowadays, ‘to design’ means to conceive, to have an idea and to transform it into a more concrete entity, whether it is something we can touch and feel or simply look at. Design has a two-sided nature: on the one hand functionality - what is this object for, how can I use it? - and on the other hand, aesthetic value. Is it beautiful? Do I enjoy looking at it?
The decorative objects displayed in the umlaut space for the sixteenth AMBIT exhibition are located at the interface between Design and Art, focusing on the aesthetic side of design practice rather than functionality. The interaction of forms, textures, colours and materials is the main interest of young Swiss designer and artist Monika Müller. Her design and art practice triggers questions and deliberately does not offer a direct answer, giving the viewer the chance to explore and arrive at an individual and personal interpretation of the items. The objects that are part of this exhibition display a multiple nature: the Tensions series in glass, bronze and ceramics has no predetermined ‘up’ or ‘down’; rather, the objects can be looked at from all sides, always revealing another ‘face’. The Bottles series plays with the objects’ materiality and texture: their delicate ceramic surfaces are of familiar appearance, suggesting natural leaves or even cardboard, although originating in synthetic building materials such as floor protection and insulation sheets.
Monika Müller’s design and art practice places itself in between the digital and analogue worlds, sometimes blurring the line between craft-making/design and fine art. She uses the digital for some procedures in the production of the objects, but then reaches back to analogue methods, letting natural processes take their course. It is precisely this natural element that makes every object a unique and unreproducible piece, rendering aspects of the result impossible to predict.
Monika Müller is a Swiss Artist and Designer, currently based in London, UK. She did her Art Foundation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland and her BA in Product and Industrial Design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. In 2015, she worked for Benjamin Hubert of LAYER before she started her MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in London and successfully graduated in 2017. She now shares a studio space in London, where she continues her sculptural work in glass, ceramics and bronze with focus on unique, decorative one-off objects. Beside that, she assists renowned glass Artist Heike Brachlow in her studio in Harlow. monikamuller.com
Emerging Swiss design exhibitions are presented at the umlaut¨ gallery space on Fashion Street, off Brick Lane in London.
Emerging graphic design, product design, design theory and research, digital design and contemporary making are given a platform in a not-for-profit framework.
This initiative was taken to give the vibrant, innovative design movement in Switzerland a presence in the context of one of the world’s leading cultural cities, examining the scope of contemporary design questions and approaches, and establishing an intercultural dialogue between Swiss designers and the London public.
This series of design exhibitions is the result of a close collaboration between the Swiss Cultural Fund UK (SCF) and the British-Swiss marketing agency Blattler Ltd.
Gallery opening times: weekdays from 9am to 5pm.