Elio Caccavale (Italian, born 1975), Elio Caccavale Design Studio (UK, est. 2004), MyBio-reactor Cow, Prototype, 2005, Fireproof nylon and polyester stuffing, 7 x 13 x 9”, Image by Ingrid Hora.

The Latest Scientific Research in Objects and Ideas for Human Use

James King (British, born 1982), Design Interactions Department, Royal College of Art (UK, est. 1837), Dressing the
Meat of Tomorrow, Concept
, 2006, Glassfiber reinforced polyester and red cabbage, Image by James King.

Susana Soares (Portuguese, born 1977), Design Interactions Department, Royal College of Art (UK, est. 1837), BEE’S,
, 2007, Blown handmade glass, 14-1/8 x 9-7/8” diam., Prototype by Crisform, Portugal (2007), Image by
Susana Soares.

Michele Gauler (German, born 1973), Design Interactions Department, Royal College of Art (UK, est. 1837), Digital Remains, Prototype, 2006, Video and audio, aluminum, wood, acrylic, and electronics, 8' 9" x 6' 6-3/4" x 6' 6-3/4", Image by Michele Gauler.

Marie-Virginie Berbet (French, born 1979), École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI-Les Ateliers)
(France, est. 1982), Narco from the Analeptic project, Prototype, 2006, Polycarbonate, 70-7/8 x 47-x 63”, Image by
Véronique Huygues.

Joris Laarman (Dutch, born 1979), Studio Joris Laarman (The Netherlands, est. 2006), Bone Chair, 2006, Aluminum, 29 x
29-5/6 x 17”, Joris Laarman Bone Chair process: Image by Opel.

Mathieu Lehanneur (French, born 1974), O Oxygen Generator from the Elements project, Prototype, 2006, Glass,
aluminum, spirulina platensis, magnetic stirrer, white LEDs, and oxymetric probe, 18 x 16", Image © Véronique Huyghe.


Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York
Design and
the Elastic Mind

February 24-May 12, 2008

Design and the Elastic Mind is about the latest advances in design, and a glimpse into what the future. It explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world, bringing together more than 200 design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations. It shows designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and to convert them into objects that people can understand and use.

Over the past 25 years, under the influence of such milestones as the introduction of the personal computer, the Internet, and wireless technology, people have experienced dramatic changes in several mainstays of their existence: time, space, matter, and individuality. Individuals cope daily with dozens of changes in scale and pace: working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, and being inundated with information. Adaptability is an ancestral distinction of intelligence, but today’s instant variations in rhythm call for something stronger: elasticity, the byproduct of adaptability plus acceleration.

Design and the Elastic Mind includes objects, projects, and concepts by teams of designers, scientists, and engineers from all over the world, ranging from the nanoscale to the cosmological scale. The objects range from microscopic devices to vehicles, from appliances to interfaces, and from pragmatic solutions for everyday use to provocative ideas meant to influence our future choices.

The installation begins at the very small scale, with the display of scientists’ experiments with nanostructures and of designers’ interpretation of the possibilities and implications of nanophysics. Visitors will then encounter a large area devoted to the human scale, with an array of scenarios and design ideas meant to spark debate and reflection on the way society lives and will live, as well as to inspire individuals to design with equal care and elasticity future behaviors. The exhibition ends with the magnitude scale, and explores the dimension of the city, the world, and the World Wide Web.

Four projects have been specially commissioned for this exhibition that specifically deal with the central themes of the exhibition: scale, responsiveness in time and space, and elasticity.

New City (2008): Peter Frankfurt (American, born 1958) of Imaginary Forces (USA, est. 1996); Greg Lynn (American, born 1964) of Greg Lynn FORM (USA, est. 2001): and Alex McDowell (British, born 1955) of Matter Art and Science (USA, est. 2001)

New City (2008) is a “real” virtual place to visit and explore. It is a world enriched by a meaningful architectural intention and an attention to design and innovation. A laboratory for experiments in visualization, information, simulation, and experience, it is a natural extension of the planet and a place to blend science with fiction. The world has forever been shaped by people’s perception of it. Discovery and innovation lead to an understanding of the earth as a rotating sphere. In this convergence of architecture, information, narrative, and community, showing the earth as a city, this virtual new world is a manifold — a surface that forever folds onto itself, capturing endless dimensions of space and time. For this installation, a computerized film of New City will be continuously looped from 12 projectors onto 12 screens in an enclosed, cave-like room that will create an immersive experience.

Emergent Surface (2007): Chuck Hoberman (American, born 1956) Hoberman Associates, Inc. (USA, est. 1990); Prototype by Milgo/Bufkin (USA, est. 1916) and QuickSilver Controls, Inc. (USA, est. 1996)

Emergent Surface (2007) is a stainless steel and aluminum façade that provides shelter from different climate conditions and filters the physical and visual communication between the interior of the building and the outside world. The prototype consists of seven floor-to-ceiling poles, spaced about three feet apart, that each have three or four extendable/retractable units that run from top to bottom. When the units are extended, a stunning curvilinear wall is formed, appearing flat or twisted depending on the point of view.

I Want You To Want Me (2007-ongoing): Jonathan Harris (American, born 1979) of Number 27 (USA, est. 2002) and Sep Kamvar (American, born 1977).

Over the past several years, with the rise of new platforms like blogging, social networks, and online dating, there has been proliferation of human self-expression. This has led to the creation of countless online personas. I Want You To Want Me is an exploration of the search for self and new relationships as expressed in a digital world. The installation features an interactive six-foot Imax-resolution screen featuring male and female silhouettes that float in blue and pink balloons. These balloons will be merged with anonymous tidbits drawn from online personal profiles. The contrast is between how people act when they are alone (the silhouettes) and how they present a public face (the online profiles).

Rules of Six (2007): Benjamin Aranda (American, born 1973) and Chris Lasch (American, born 1972) of Aranda/Lasch (USA, est. 2003); Matthew L. Scullin (USA, born 1983) of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA, est. 1931).

Working at the nanoscale by designing very small devices and adding minuscule reinforcing elements to existing materials, scientists and engineers are creating new tools, materials, and technologies. Besides these pragmatic applications, nanophysicists have also inspired architects and designers to think of objects and buildings that can grow, atom by atom, cell by cell, according to chemical and mathematical rules. Aranda/Lasch’s Rules of Six is an open exploration of self-assembly and modularity across scales.

Through a large wall relief, an algorithm running live on a computer in the gallery, and images of nanostructures created in a lab in collaboration with materials scientist Matthew Scullin at UC Berkeley, the project presents a unprecedented experiment in material formation that is tied to the potential of six, specifically, the six-sided symmetries that are common to the molecular lattices of a large range of materials. The structures presented in the project are "grown" through simple rules and interactions that are much like the ones molecules follow in the lab. In the end, the piece aims not to be a design object in itself but rather point to the endless design potential that these techniques promise.

Design and the Elastic Mind is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994. Her first major exhibition at the Museum was Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995). Other exhibitions she has organized for MoMA include Achille Castiglioni: Design! (1997), Workspheres (2001), Humble Masterpieces (2004), and SAFE: Design Takes On Risk (2005). Ms. Antonelli has lectured worldwide in settings ranging from peer conferences to global interdisciplinary gatherings such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, and she has served on several international architecture and design juries. From 1991 to 1993, she was a Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has in the past few years also taught design history and theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at the MFA program of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini joined The Museum of Modern Art in February 2004 to work on Ms. Antonelli’s exhibition Humble Masterpieces, and also helped organize the MoMA exhibition SAFE: Design Takes On Risk (2005) with Ms. Antonelli. Born in Mallorca, Spain, she graduated with a master’s degree in architecture from the School of Architecture in Barcelona (1996) and holds a PhD in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (2002). As an architect she has worked at Carme Pinós’ studio in Barcelona (1997-1998) and has been a teaching assistant at the School of Architecture in Barcelona from 1998 to 2000 and at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University in 2003.


Rudolf Bannasch (German, born 1952) and Leif Kniese (German, born 1968) of EvoLogics GmbH (Germany, est. 2000), Markus Fischer (German, born 1966) of Festo AG & Co. KG. Corporate Design (Germany, est. 1925), Aqua_ray, Prototype, 2007, Fiberglass-reinforced plastic, CURV® water-jet carved, polyamide with elastane skin, and Torcman brushless motor, 5-5/7 x 37-4/5 x 24-1/5”, Image by: Walter Fogel; Carl-Zeiss, 3-D Metrology Services.