Design criminals

As part of Vienna Design Week, the Design Criminals exhibition at the MAK Design Space is showing a bizarre and brilliant array of objects, images and gadgets, which its curators claim are ‘beyond the normal canon of design activity’.

Aimed to challenge Austrian designers to explore the ideas of ‘ornament and crime’, the show takes a look at how design impacts on everyday rituals such as cake decoration, tattooing and hairdressing.

The Design Crimes edible catalogue
The Design Criminals edible catalogue

The show is loosely based on ideas thrown up in Adolf Loos’s 1908 essay Ornament and Crime. This argued that the idea of ornament in the age of industrial production was a way of ‘disguising the essence of an object’; and so Design Criminals questions the role of design in a social context, and, as the curators put it, ‘explore the potential of the decorative and ornamental to deliver new joy into the world’.

Sam Jacob of Fashion Architecture Taste, who curated the exhibition, says, ‘Designers were challenged to probe into the tradition of decoration and to place it in a social context where the issues are identity, morality and truth.’

BKM's lving vases sport different hairstyles
BKM’s living vases sport different hairstyles

Among the designers exhibiting at the show are Breaded Escalope, BKM, Dankhampel, Guerra Vanzetti, Nina Levett, Sebastian Menschhorn, Mischer’traxler, architects Katja Nagy and Bernadette Krejs, Andreas Pohancenik and Patrick Rampelotto.

Danklhampel’s cake template allows users to bake a cake to everyone’s tastes

Tying in with the exploration of designs role in an everyday context, each exhibit was individually printed on edible paper as used in the cake industry and placed alongside each installation.

The exhibition catalogue was also made for the show using the edible paper and sheets of icing.

Highlights from the show include BKM’s surreal porcelain ‘living’ vases, each of which sports a different ‘hairstyle’; Mischer’traxler’s Spirograph-like automatic cake-decorating machine, and Danlhampel’s cake template, which is designed to cater for everyone’s own taste and desired portions.

Mischer'traxler's cake spirograph
Mischer’traxler’s cake spirograph

The finished result
The finished result

Design Criminals is showing at  MAKVienna,Stubenring 5, 1010 Wie, until 14 November.

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