New Technology that Excites

Experimental design and potential future classics at the heart of 'Hands Off' exhibit
New Technology that Excites
The 'Hands Off: New Dutch Design' exhibit (pictured here), now at S.F.'s Museum of Craft and Design, suggests the same excitement folks felt in the days following World War II. Photo: courtesy S.F. Museum of Craft and Design
New Technology that Excites
Aoife Wullur's 'Shades of Light.' Photo: Dave Weinstein
New Technology that Excites
Dennis Parren's 'CMYK Chandelier.' Photo: Dave Weinstein
New Technology that Excites
Garment by high-tech fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht.
Photo: courtesy S.F. Museum of Craft and Design

If you're a fan of Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Jens Risom, and you wish you'd been around back in the 1950s when their work was new and exciting—then you ought to catch the latest exhibit at San Francisco's Museum of Craft and Design.

No, the works in 'Hands Off: New Dutch Design' don't often resemble the mid-century classics designed by these now-legendary figures. But there's an excitement behind the best of them that suggests the same excitement folks felt in the days right after World War II, when new technologies and an energetic buying public spurred crafts people and industrial designers to try new things.

The 'Hands Off' exhibit guest curator is Zahid Sardar, writer and former design editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The exhibit is up through September 13, and there will be several events tied to it. They include a 3D printing workshop for grownups on Saturday, June 27, and a conversation about contemporary Dutch design Thursday evening, July 16 (with designers Maaike Evers and Mike Simonian, who run the San Francisco firm Mike and Maaike).

There's quite a bit of 3D printing going on here—including an entire house built alongside an Amsterdam canal. It's like seeing movies—say, from the turn of the 20th century—before they quite figured out what it meant to be movies, or computers from the 1970s. There's more promise than perfection in many of these pieces.

But there are some items that just straight out work. Aoife Wullur's 'Shades of Light' and 'Light Divider,' for instance, are two items that would fit right into any number of people's Eichler or other mid-century modern homes.

Wullur creates fabrics that contain yarn made of conductive wires attached to tiny LED lights. They look nice glowing in the gallery but would like nicer still on an evening in a home.

Also appealing, and a lot glitzier, is Dennis Parren's 'CMYK Chandelier,' one of the cooler party lamps we've seen in a while. It uses LEDs to cast colorful shadows on ceiling and wall, while the lamp itself is a wire-like sculpture of real finesse.

Anouk Wipprecht, a high-tech fashion designer, is relatively well known in San Francisco because she has been doing a residency with the software firm Autodesk. Her garment on display here, created with Philip Wilck, is more amusing and suggestive of the future than immediately useful—a dress with "spidery arms that ward off intruders in personal space."

• For more on the 'Hands Off' exhibition, click here.

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