Collaborating with the German Vitra Design Museum, the M7 art centre (Doha, Qatar) is currently housing Masterpieces of Furniture Design, an exhibition showcasing 52 famous modern furniture pieces. These are loaned from the collection of the Vitra Design Museum which comprises 7000 pieces dating from the 18th century to the present day. Curated by Dr. Mateo Kries (the Vitra Design Museum Director), the show will end on the 9th of December, 2023.
The exhibition examines several styles and art concepts: Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Organic Design, Pop, Scandinavian and Italian Postwar Modernism, and Postmodernism. Besides, it explores how the digital era influences furniture. On view are creations of various prominent modern designers such as Le Corbusier, Florence Knoll, Charlotte Perriand, Virgil Abloh, and others. The show also highlights different purposes of design: from solving technical and constructive challenges to creating beauty in everyday environments.
All exhibits are early original versions reflecting the initial design idea behind each piece. Among the most notable items on display are Wassily, an armchair by Marcel Breuer; Broom chair by Philippe Starck; Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen; E 1027 Side Table by Eileen Gray; Mesa table by Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher, to name a few. In addition, ten pieces of furniture made by seven designers based in Qatar are showcased.
The show is divided into seven parts: Innovating Crafts and Technologies, Designing Sustainability, Learning from Nature, Comfort Zones, The Social Questions, Less is More, and Dialogues between Art and Design. There is an archival section which includes prototypes, material samples, drawings, posters, and other documents provided by the Vitra Design Museum. They give background information about the inspirations and design processes behind the displayed objects. Large-scale images depict the works in the historical setting for which they were created or in which they were presented for the first time.
In the exhibition, one has the opportunity to look at the Atlas of Furniture Design, a complete overview of the history of modern furniture design. The result of 20+ years of research, this book documents 1740 objects by 540+ designers and analyses key designs in 550 texts. Comprehensive essays on four historical epochs describe the sociocultural and design-historical context of the objects.
In addition to the exhibition, M7 hosts a series of public programmes that include public conversations, masterclasses, workshops, and special tours. Adults can participate, for example, in a curatorial talk with Dr. Mateo Kries and a discussion with local furniture designers. Children are invited to take part in two workshops: Vitra Playhouse that offers them to design their dream room and 100% cardboard where they can create a piece of furniture.
To get more information about Masterpieces of Furniture Design, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.
You might also be interested in seeing the Damascus Room at MIA.