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ZERO

CASAVELLS
SPRING 2021
MARCH 26 - JUNE 23 2021

Side Gallery is thrilled to announce Casavells 2021. This Spring´s edition of the gallery’s seasonal exhibition will showcase works from a new generation of designers and artists. The gallery asked 15 designers to contemplate the concept of starting from zero, leaving behind all we have learnt from the past and focusing on reshaping our future.

2020 was a year that changed us forever. The personal insecurities of the health crisis, months of isolation and the impossibility to travel, forced us to look for answers within ourselves. The questions we asked triggered reflection and personal analysis on all that had been achieved until now, awakening us to rethink how we approach the future. Words such as reinvent, change and evolution became familiar, pathing the way to a new future, forcing us to cut ties with the one we believed we were heading towards.

Design as a social and cultural manifestation conforms to this introspection and we can easily correlate this series of questions to the to the field of applied arts. The starting point of the exhibition is what happens if everything we have learnt serves us for nothing? What happens if as a consequence of an incident, we had to all start from zero? Without references, without looking to the past, without the help of artisan or vernacular techniques, passed from previous generations.

Imagine a post-apocalyptic scene in which we must create objects of functionality, without being able to look back in time, without past conceptions, using only the materials we have around us. Transformations would take place. Tadeas Podracky’s series ‘The Metamorphosis’ reformulates design through emotional decisions and unpredictability, ‘The transformation of the Rietveld chair’ demonstrates a new methodology, disacknowledging deeply rooted principles of formal design and interrupting established practices of conventional construction methods.

Podrack’s “Metamorphosis” series stems from a disillusionment of our environment, he seeks to enhance our emotional bond with materials, encouraging us to question the material world of prefabricated and mass-produced objects we surround ourselves with. Also seeking to re-think our environment, Rollo Bryant’s ‘Urban Stem’ collection imagines a future where we are brought closer to our biosphere. Bryant’s desire to metamorphizes our cities, highlights a number of key problems with the ways we light our metropolises. The project explores ideas to mitigate our impact and to prioritize an alternate agenda for urban design: the final goal being to invite nature back into cities, to imagine how we can redesign urban infrastructure to suit both us and our life support machine.


Following the trajectory of self-reflection, visual artist Chan Chiao Chun takes us on a retrospective journey through his installation ‘Stay With Me’. Working with a variety of mediums, he visualizes the human deficiency through a series of design objects, both deeply and lightly. This illustration is both a confrontation and combination his personal experiences and contemporary western culture. The method is a structured observation of an often humorous appearance, which connects the story of being human with contemporary motifs and materials.

Also continuously questioning the current state of contemporary culture, Oliver Sundqvist and Frederik Nystrup Larsen’s collection of seating elements play on a versatile approach to design. The formlessness and ambiguity of these shapes are evocative of an otherness, suggesting a breach of the natural and the familiar, while at the same time maintaining functionality. The calcified fiber glass carries a certain fiction which lingers between the real and the surreal, materiality and imagination. Similar to Zhou Yilun zoomorphosis inspired stools and Tom Volkaert’s anthropomorphic icons, this group of designers turn the domestic landscape into an apocalyptic haze of elements blurring the lines of abstraction and functionality.

To contemplate the provision of leaving the past behind the gallery invited 15 young designers, some recently graduated in 2020, to respond to these questions, and to start from zero. Although it can never be completely excluded from design, the concept of artisan practice is something we leave behind in this exhibition. Overused throughout the last few years the word has lost its authenticity. So instead of relying on the past in order to shape our future, we focus on only the future, we question what will happen next, how can we survive unexpected crisis? We start from zero.