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Readymades constructed from old car seats, innovative carbon fibre furniture, hand-welded steel furnishings and sculptural mass-manufactured products: works by the world-famous designer Ron Arad defy conventional boundaries. The Vitra Design Museum’s monographic exhibition »Ron Arad: Yes to the Uncommon!« gives an overview of his diverse oeuvre. This presentation in the Vitra Schaudepot includes numerous early designs from the 1980s, whose raw energy established Arad’s international reputation as a rising star. The show also includes more recent objects resulting from the direct transfer of his experimental approach to serially manufactured products – a combination that distinguishes Ron Arad as one of the most influential designers of our time.
The spectacular »Sticks and Stones machine« (1987) is a special highlight of the exhibition in Weil am Rhein. By ‘eating’ chairs and metal objects and then disgorging them in the form of pressed cubes, the contraption performs an act of deconstruction through which Arad casts a critical light on our consumer culture while also questioning the role of the designer. Just recently restored, the machine will be put into operation for the first time since the early 1990s. It will be on display in front of the Vitra Schaudepot for the duration of the exhibition.
Ron Arad was born in Tel Aviv in 1951 and studied at the national arts academy in Jerusalem and the Architectural Association in London. After completing his degree in 1979, Arad worked for a short time at an architectural firm in London. One day he left for lunch and never came back: this consequential decision marked the beginning of an exceptional career, which has been characterised by an incessant pursuit of freedom and unconventional paths. Arad constructed his first design object in 1981 by attaching pipe couplings to a Rover 90 car seat he had found at a scrapyard. Reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, the Rover Chair drew Arad’s focus to the field of design. In the same year, he co-founded the studio One Off (1981-1991) with Caroline Thorman and began to experiment with materials like concrete and steel. With their rough, weighty aesthetic, works from this early creative period often convey a subversive design approach, such as the »Concrete Stereo« (1983) or »Horns Table« (1985).