New arrivals on the shelf

Published: 20.03.2018
New arrivals on the shelf.
Yuxi Sun
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CSM at Vitsoe in 2016, 2017 and 2018..
CSM at Vitsoe in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Stepping into the showroom made the visitor feel like entering someone’s living room or office. The pieces on the shelves were the book collection from the host, and viewing them is like talking to the owner about his/her collection, and thus visitor can understand the interest and desire of the host.

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Türkenstraße is the centre of Munich Jewellery Week. In a Türkenstraße-centric way, 80% of exhibitions from Munich Jewellery Week can be reached in 20 mins by walking.

This review is about the exhibition located at Türkenstraße36, Vitsoe. It’s a collective exhibition of work from 41 staff and students of Central Saint Martins, BA Jewellery Design course. This is the third time that the students and staff return to Vitsoe in Munich for the exhibition. The theme of the exhibition has changed from Shelf Life, to Off the Shelf over past years and this year it is Shelf Aware. Apparently, Shelf is the core of the exhibition.

Shelf, an ubiquitous furniture in daily life, is used in a creative and surprising way by Vitsoe and staff and students from CSM.

606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams for Vitsoe.

Let’s start with Vitsoe.
For more than 50 years it has been Vitsœ’s goal to make durable furniture. One of their most famous designs is 606 Universal Shelving System.
The first edition of 606 Universal shelving system appeared in the world's eyes in 1959. It was designed by Dieter Rams, and Vitsoe manufactured it. The whole series is still on sale till today. The owner can mix and match them in any way as he/she likes. They can be used as a single shelf for a dining room or shelves for an entire library to display books. Most Vitsoe furniture comprises recyclable aluminium, steel and compostable wood, and it is assembled with mechanical joints, instead of being bonded or welded. When I first visited shelf exhibition in 2016, I heard CSM year 1 tutor Giles Last compliment the design after he finished the presentation for the exhibition:” No wonder it is a  German design! See how easy it is to assemble, install and move!” In addition, it is also worth noting that as furniture and display updates, the colour and furnishings of Vitsoe showroom as well change.

Shelf Life, Vitsoe, 2016.

Off the Shelf, Vitsoe, 2017. Photo by Maria Militsi.

Shelf Aware, Vitsoe, 2018.

In order to get attention, and be unique, as far as I have visited, many exhibitions’ display tried so ‘hard’ that the result was counterproductive. They tried to simply put pieces on the table, hang them on the wall and in the air; they used the different material such as grass, paper roll as the display holder, was fussy about the power of bulbs and the angle of the light… The reason why Shelf Aware attracted most of my attention was Vitsoe and CSM staff choosing to do their work smartly. Everything was just right on the point. Not too much, not too little.

The colour of Vitsoe is simple but elegant this year. When visitors step into the store, the new set of firm and hard looking shelves will give visitors the impression of neat and clear. Before all the pieces being laid on the shelves, they were empty, immersing in a silence, and space seemed like an airy room awaiting for its new owner. After all the pieces were placed in their positions, the whole room was brought to life. Stepping into the showroom made the visitor feel like entering someone’s living room or office. The pieces on the shelves were the book collection from the host, and viewing them is like talking to the owner about his/her collection, and thus visitor can understand the interest and desire of the host. Who argues that art piece is only available in museums and behind the glass? Those pieces on the shelves broke this rule and became a part of daily life. They have not distanced anymore. They are so lively that can be regarded as beloved objects for the owner.

The pieces from the exhibition cover the project results from very first-year students, graduates to staff. Students come and go every year, and pieces are always new and fresh each year though it is around the similar theme. The staff does not change frequently as students, but they have to create new work every year. Hence, each piece from the staff brings me familiar but also refreshed impression. The display works vary from the object, jewellery, video, plate, installation to other types. Visitors can easily find something particularly appealing to them. The creativity and innovative ideas that CSM students and staff brought to the audience are absolutely outstanding even during the Munich Jewellery Week where plenty of exhibitions gather. I still remember in 2016, when I visited Vitsoe for the first time, I could not help entering the exhibition every time  I passed by it.

Strength in numbers by Caroline Broadhead, 2016. Staff work.

Dropped the necklace1, 2 by Caroline Broadhead, 2017. Staff work.

Skin by Caroline Broadhead, 2018. Staff work.

Forks and Charms by Maria Militsi, photo by Phillip Sayer, 2016. Staff work.

The Equestrian by Maria Militsi, 2017. Staff work.

#NYCFindWithBlueEyes by Maria Militsi, 2018. Staff work.

Special Offer by  Katy Hackney, 2017. Staff work.

Look by Katy Hackney, 2018. Staff work.

Pearl Necklace and Delayed Reactions-Speechless by Lin Cheung, 2017. Staff work.

Trouble times by Lin Cheung, 2018. Staff work.

Caroline mentioned, at the beginning of selection for shelf exhibition, they were concerning and limited by the question ‘What looks good on the shelf?’, but now the criterion has been changed to showing the multiplicity of students’ work.
Because the shelf consists iron, the magnet is suitable for helping the presentation. The application of magnet avoids damage to the pieces caused by sticks or inlays.

In addition, another detail I appreciate much is the image presentation: most pieces were displayed with a carefully curated styling photo next to them, which helps the visitor understand the concept behind the piece better.

Brooch "Up" by YIchen Dong, 2018. Student work.

Do you notice the pin of this brooch just ’stuck’ on the edge of the shelf?  It feels like the brooch is meant to be there. There is such a perfect interaction between it and the shelf.

“Blow Me”Pin by Gabriella Goldsmith, 2018. Student work.

Size Zero Frame by Wen Ju Tseng, 2018. Student work.

Show Your Solidarity by Lucy Ganley.

During the opening eve at Vitsoe: All the CSM second-year students are in the black outfit, and they were wearing the piece under the topic of “self”, which was specially designed and made for the opening night. The piece they made was considered as a conversation piece that encourages interaction with the audience. Students were requested to use the leftover material from previous projects and might include a small part of the sustainable material, but they were not allowed to buy new material.

Neckpiece Genetic ingredients made by Siobhan Rose Wallace, 2018. The material is vegan leather.

Siobhan said to me: “Technically you can eat me…”I was shocked and walked closer to her, then she explained to me:“My piece uses my ancestral DNA results to create a set of ingredients of what makes me. It is a breakdown of my percentage just like you can find on any food label. I did also include my calories if you were to eat me and fat content to make it slightly more surreal.”

CSM year 2 students. Live event at the opening of the exhibition.

CSM year 2 students. Live event at the opening of the exhibition.

The last, I spotted the jewellery on Caroline that night, it brightened me.

Brooch by Lucie Davis, brooches by Katy Hackney and brooch by Marc Monzó.

I am curious what “shelf” exhibition will CSM bring to us in 2019! What fancy will  Vitsoe create in the showroom?

About the author

Yuxi Sun completed her Bachelor of Arts in Jewellery design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2015. She is undertaking her Master of Fine arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein till 2018. She made an internship at Klimt02 in 2017, where she is working since 2018.