Back in October one of our highlights at Vienna Design Week 2011 was the exhibition kidsroomZOOM! Essentially a mid-town Vienna apartment kitted out entirely in furniture for children, we were not only impressed by the objects on display, but by the concept.
Forget adults! We’re doin’ it for the kids! Being the message we got. And one we wholeheartedly approved of.
kidsroomZOOM! originated in Milan, and so this year we not only visited the new 2012 show, but also spoke to curator Paola Noè to find out a little more about the whole concept.
(smow)blog: Obvious opening question, what’s the background? Why the decision to present a designer furniture exhibition specially geared to children and in such a context?
Paola Noè: My day job is as curator of unduetrestella, a contemporary art project for children here in Milan. Two years ago I met Thomas Maitz from Perludi and we created a small kidsroomZOOM exhibition, from which the project has grown. For us it is important to present furniture for kids and art for kids in a real location, in a domestic location. And so last year for the first Milan show, I tried to select works from interesting brands and interesting young designers and created a house for children.
(smow)blog: As curator of the exhibition do you start with the space and think, OK this and this will work well, or do you start with those designers and products you want, and then fit them into the available space?
Paola Noè: It’s a bit of both. Over the course of the year I gather works that I think would be interesting to present. And then when we have the opportunity to present a show I have to consider which of those objects could be presented in context of the space. You can’t show everything that you may want to, but you can try!
(smow)blog: Do you think major furniture producers take children seriously, or can we see this exhibition as an appeal that they should?
Paola Noè: I think there are a lot of brands and designers who do take children seriously. But, for example, here in Italy in its not necessarily the case. Which is strange because in the 1970s here in Milan we had, for example, Enzo Mari or Bruno Munari and so design for children was really born in Italy in the 1970s. But now it’s easier to find really interesting brands in other countries, for example in Sweden, America, Austria, or France.
(smow)blog: You currently show in Milan and Vienna. Would you like to show in other cities or is the six month cycle OK?
Paola Noè: I am always looking for occasions and opportunities to present kidsroomZOOM globally, and am currently, for example exploring possibilities in South America. But it would also be good to find new locations in Europe, but the biggest problem at the moment is the economic situation which makes it harder to organise and finance such an exhibition. And so that is the biggest challenge at the moment.
(smow)blog: And, in that context, the name of the show “We Never Give Up! is that motivation for yourselves as organisers….?
Paola Noè: Organising the second edition of such a show was a lot harder than the first; because of the crises we found it really had to find sponsors and partners. But we thought about children and the future of children. You can’t just think about economic crises. You’ve got to present something else. And so yes we decided not to give up and to ensure that the second edition was realised.