Bettina Tschumi at Fabrica on design


Contemporary Art

I’m happy to share a short interview with Bettina Tschumi, Curator of Glass Art & Design Collection at mudac – Museum of Design and Contemporary Applied Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland – realized during her recent lecture at Fabrica

Do you think design contributes to a better way of living?

To be precise we first need to define what is a better way of living. The design approach has no moral statement. But we can say that YES, the best role of design is really to contribute to a better way of life through bringing new ideas and enabling their actual realization. From imagination to transformation stands the implication of the designer, that of creating a progress. The designer empower imagination with facts.

Beauty is synonymous of “silence” or “noise”?

It’s a fundamental question and I don’t have a ready to serve answer. Being “noisy” with beauty to me means to be very demonstrative and somewhat passionate or tragic. “Silence” is more serene and introspective, it brings peace and harmony as intended in Asian cultures. To me, it is a question of what you need in a certain moment. This can vary. In both noise and silence there is life, and both are a part of the same beauty – the beauty of life.

What does change when a design object enters within a museum and becomes part of it?

Technically speaking when you take a design object from its daily life, it seems like you remove it from a circuit, it becomes motionless and stands apart from movement, as an object of observation and appreciation. In a museum, the status of the object changes. Of course the choice I make when selecting an object to integrate our museum’s collection implies me as a person, therefore I add a value to the object and promote it to be very exceptional. This selection goes with a certain degree of responsibility. This is why I have to be careful with the selection of an object. It’s not only or essentially a private choice as if in a private collection, but you have a certain responsibility because it will speak to future generations.

Design: daily usage and collecting. What is the relation?

Building a museum collection means that you point out certain items – art, science, design whatsoever – as exceptional for one or more than one reason. It also implies that you think it is worth keeping it in mind and in memory, since it testifies for something you want to document. There is no contradiction between everyday use objects and collection items since it is the degree of intrinsic interest of an item that makes it outstanding – and therefore, worth collecting.
It’s interesting the example of our recent exhibition No Name Design: Franco Clivio (2013-2014).

How does design tell about our times?

Design tells about our times in two fundamental ways. First, it speaks of our time’s questionings and of the stories we want to create and to listen to, and that go along with the design productions. Secondly, linked to the first element of answer, design speaks of the technical and technological advancements of each time – or better, how we link our desire to our production, and how each of these stimulates the other.
Design can be a faithful reflection of our times. Outstanding design goes further than offering a mirror and shows new ways into an open future.
In this sense, design research can lead to a better – richer, enhanced, more sophisticated yet fundamental – way of life.

Photocredit: Marco Zanin / Fabrica