On the occasion of Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of European Union Lithuanian design was represented in two prestigious festivals in England and France. Even though some visitors only knew that Lithuania is just a small, young country close to Russia, objects exhibited forced them to google for some more information and discover Lithuania.
Exhibition in London
Lithuanian exposition was presented during London design festival on 16th September – 18th October. Design works of 12 Lithuanian designers were presented in the hall of famous design company ARUP.
The most attractive objects of Lithuanian exposition were three-day-work of growing fresh grass for bed “Neringa” by Rytis Zaveckas, key cabinet “Luna” by Juozas Brundza”, mirror “Dviem”, cozy lamps “Corio” by Vytautas Puzeras and rocking chair “KU-DIR-KA” by Paulius Vitkauskas.
The exhibition demanded considerable human resources too. The preparation started at the begining of summer. The works were personally selected by the main “Arup” curator Jennifer GREITSCHUS. One of the ARUP managers Chris Luebkeman after the exhibition said: “I am ashamed to admit that before visiting the fair I knew almost nothing about Lithuania. I knew that it is a small nation that belonged to the Soviet empire. Everything changed after participating in the exhibition. I was strongly impressed by the abundance of traditional values and crafts, which combine the modern ideas and methods. This is an incredible example of strength in today’s world full of soulless monotony. I really liked the incredibly clever “Spina”chair, which can be tailored to human size and shape, and the bed “Neringa”, covered with grass, which is based on the romantic idea of lying on the grass. After all, textile products “Zidra” were simply breathtaking. The designers who presented their work at the exhibition, were delightfully passionate about their work and influence of the design to the future of their nation. They believed in a powerful force that design can bring to our lives. I came back from the show, waiting for when I find out more about them and the country from which they came. I look forward to going to the Baltic countries.”
Most of the exhibits have been winning awards in Lithuania and abroad. The exhibition was organized by Lithuanian Design Forum together with the Lithuanian Embassy in London.
Lithuania – guest of honor in „Les Boréales“ festival
November 15 – December 31 Lithuanian design exhibition “Design Lithuania 2001 – 2013” was presented in international festival of the culture of Nordic countries in Caen, France. The basis of 29 objects exhibited was combined from the works exhibited in London plus complemented with some objects from the winners of “Good design 2013” contest. Exhibition together with the concert of the singer Alina Orlova represented Lithuania in this famous festivalfor the very first time. Exposition was held in the hall of former female monastery, which impressed by its unique architecture, great spaces and domes.
One of young designers participating in the event, Audronė Drungilaitė said: “It was nice and unexpected to see so many visitors, who are curious and interested not only in design, but even in our language.”
There is a trend that the line between industry and design is slowly disappearing. Headphones „JUNGLE Earphones“, cardboard computer case „Acme Baltic“ and chairs made by Nauris Kalinauskas and Indra Marcinkevičienė testify this collaboration between manufacturers an designers. What is more the exhibits had to withstand a considerable load: unified system “Spina” by Mindaugas Žilionis was tried even by respectable men. Mothers couldn’t distract their children from carpet-puzzle “Imperial” by Nauris Kalinauskas. Ethno motives were reflected in modular bookcase “Audžiu” by Rapolas Gražys and in “Lithuanian Vodka” packaging design “Black Edition” by Asta Kaušpėdaitė. The guests were fascinated by the quality and variety of materials. Such furniture as Vytautas Puzeras chair “Eggy” or Neringa Dervinytė tables “Romance” testified about the high levels of the metal processing industry. Woodworking quality was represented by Žilvinas Stankevičius chairs series “July”. Our designers are also not afraid to use plastics, textiles, ceramics or cardboard.
Festival organizers’ surprise
Students of Caen high school of Arts and Media in two months prepared great analysis of the exposition. On the eve of festival opening students presented a breathtaking presetantion – seemed that they knew more about our country than average Lithuanian. Even though they haven’t visited Lithuania yet, all the national characters were indentified clearly and correctly.
Album „DESIGN LITHUANIA 2001-2013“
Visitors were sincerely interested and carefully read special album published for this exhibition. Nex to the descriptions of the objects exhibited, designers had to present one traditional motif, character as well – amber, Nida city, basketball culture, traditional meals such as cepelinai or black bread. Album was released in three languages: Lithuanian, English, French. Album release and exhibitions were partially funded by ministry of culture of the republic of Lithuania.
Catalogues sold out instantly and “Guest Book” updated with new wishes. Finally such interest inspires designers to continue to develop, and organizers quietly hope that Caen is not be the last stop to Lithuania design exhibition.