MOMA SAFE design exhibit is brilliant.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 13, 2005

There was a design/innovation/creativity double-header this week in New York City with the opening night celebration of the new Paola Antonelli exhibit of SAFE design at MOMA on the same night that TED head Chris Andersen held a celebritory soiree at his downtown loft for the winners of the new TED prize. Sorry this sounds more like gossip than serious analysis but the Tuesday night did bring out all the top designers in their fancy dress (black, of course) who were either in the exhibit, won an award or just wanted to drink, network and have fun. Yves Behar, for one, appeared to be doing all three. His work is in the exhibit and he flew in from San Francisco.

The conceit of the show, that we design our shelter, our products and our emotions to make ourselves feel safe in an unsafe world, works and works well. You connect immediately and personally. It provokes you. The 300 objects are often surprising—and beautiful. I met Paola at her first MOMA exhibit on Materials that began the rush into using new high tech materials in new, creative ways. This SAFE exhibit is her post-9/11 ode to life.

Reader Comments

steve baker

October 13, 2005 4:33 PM

Wondering about the theme that we design our shelter to feel safe in an unsafe world... In much of America, houses have big windows and no fences. That tells me that they view darkness as a concern, and are willing to accept some vulnerability to avoid it. And the benefit of seeing neighbors outweighs the risks that one of them will storm through their door.

The die-hards who live by this safety thesis have very interesting shelters in places like Montana, and I imagine some of them feature striking design.

Brian Matt

October 17, 2005 7:02 PM

I agree that the show was great. I have heard some rumblings from fellow designers about the show, but as in most cases, it was not put together for THEM. I think it was put together for anyone to "get."

alan scouten

October 18, 2005 4:39 PM

It is baffling to see structures built of THEMAsteel (thermasteelcorp.com) missing from a display of Safe Housing. As the only portable structure resistant to disasters of earth, wind, fire and water, it makes the items featured in the MOMA exhibit look frivolous. With recent disasters in NOLA, Guatemala, and Kashmir, real solutions to real dangers are demanded, but not supplied. Would that we would spend our dollars on more than exhibitions and on the saftey of NO MORE POOR HOUSES FOR POOR PEOPLE.

Twan Verdonck

November 9, 2005 6:03 PM

The amazing SUPERFANTASTIC Boezels are in the "SAFE: Design Takes On Risk" Show.

Take a look at: www.boezels.com

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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