Interpreting modernism through design and visual arts
Kaunas modernist heritage in architecture is core to the program of Kaunas 2022, European Capital of Culture. This unique legacy dating from the times when the city served as temporary Lithuanian capital, is also highlighted as part of the UNESCO Design cities network and the current application of Kaunas to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Kaunas 2022 thus commissioned a variety of projects around the interpretation of modernist architecture so as to build a common narrative around the historical significance, social experience and contemporaneity of this heritage in the European context. This narrative, supported by a wide range of initiatives by local and foreign artists, designers and activists, is placing the emphasis on peoples’ own experiences of those landmark buildings, also paying attention to more vernacular traits and interpretation practices.
Abstract monochrome composition on the theme of Kaunas modernist architecture and design. Author: Mantas Kuginis, 2020.
More about the project:
As part of the above mentioned initiatives, Kaunas 2022 commissioned a collective residence devoted to interpreting modernism through design and visual arts to Kolektiv Cité Radieuse, a curatorial group based at UNESCO-listed Le Corbusier Housing Unit in Marseille. Kolektiv Cité Radieuse invited four European designers to come to Kaunas and share their success stories and insights in making modernist heritage part of the popular culture through graphic design, textile design, photography and other multidisciplinary practices.
Interwar and post-war modernist architecture is no longer a topic for specialists but has become part of the collective memory and vibrant urban social fabrics in a number of places, from Tel Aviv to Rotterdam, Kyiv or Warsaw. To explore local interpretations of modernist heritage, we invite up to 24 designers, visual artists and architecture practitioners from Kaunas and Lithuania to attend this collective residence and get inspired. Whether you are an advanced student or a professional working in graphic design, product and textile design, interior design, visual arts or architecture with a taste for production-oriented projects and a true interest for Kaunas modernist heritage, all can participate!
Selected candidates will be invited to attend the program of the 3 days residence scheduled in October 2021 with our guest practitioners. They will receive master classes on how to meaningfully translate modernist heritage into contemporary graphic design, product design, photography and visual arts and meet public interest. Along with these inspirational practices from Czech Republic, France, Poland and Ukraine, they will receive a comprehensive brief about what makes Kaunas modernism distinctive, and an overview of the initiatives devoted to interpreting modernism with and for people living in modernist buildings. Finally, they will be coached through co-design workshops to fine-tune their own, personal design or visual interpretation, and be invited to submit their prototypes by early December 2021.
Curators of the project
Kolektiv Cité Radieuse is a curatorial group established at UNESCO-listed Le Corbusier Housing Unit in Marseille. Founded in 2012, it is devoted to the influence of 20th Century architecture in contemporary design and visual arts, with a specific interest for Baltic, Central and Eastern European creative scenes. Kolektiv Cité Radieuse operates two galleries at the Housing Unit, respectively devoted to design and architecture, a website and a blog. It regularly organizes exhibitions in France and abroad, participates in design weeks and programs devoted to modernist architecture and design.
Maxime Forest and Laura Serra
Alex Bykov is a designer, photographer and modernism interpretation activist based in Kyiv (UA). He has extensively documented the soviet modernist heritage in his home country, threatened by the lack of conservation or care, and actively contributed to revisiting it through books (translated in English and German), exhibitions, social events and architecture tours.
Zuzanna Gadomska is graphic designer and architect. Based in Gdańsk (PL), she developed an extensive practice in interpreting interwar and post-war modernist architecture from all over the world, creating a powerful visual language of her own, and is collaborating with various studios, brands and cultural institutions on different formats (posters, books).
Jan Šrámek Kolouch is a multidisciplinary graphic designer trained in Brno and currently established in Prague (CZ) as a member of Anymade studio and a freelance designer. His work is primarily devoted to translating modernist aesthetics and architecture in popular culture in the forms of books, posters, installations, video animations or exhibitions’ set.
Izabela Szroka is the co-founder of studio Falbanka with Julia Cybis. Established in Warsaw (PL), Falbanka is exploring the most vernacular traits of modernist architecture in Poland, those usually escaping attention at first sight. Translated on fabrics as a tribute to the textile tradition of Łódź, those graphical shapes form an urban language of their own.
More information about the open call can be found by clicking on the image or this LINK.
Previous works by guest creatives: Alex Bykov, Zuzanna Gadomska, Jan Šrámek Kolouch ir Izabela Szroka.