Lecture 3: Silvia Weidenbach

This week we were treated to presentation by Silvia Weidenbach, avant-garde Jewellery designer.

Well, what can I say about this? I have to confess, my initial knee-jerk reaction was one of distaste. Even now, these products do not appeal to me. However, there is something about them that begs further consideration. The way these objects fly in the face of Dieter Rams’ principles; the way they don’t care what you think of them; this is closer to art than design, despite the similar processes utilised.

‘Good design is as little design as possible’. Yeah, right!

RorschachBurst Collection

How does someone arrive at a product like this? It’s great to see such cutting-edge technologies being used. As Weidenbach said in her reply to Will’s question on ceramics, there is no point in using such advanced 3D printing processes to make something that could be made using traditional methods at a lower cost. When I look at these designs, it’s clear that they are heavily process-driven. I believe Weidenbach’s approach was very much ‘what should this technology make?’ as opposed to ‘which technology do I need?’

It is that trickle down effect, where people like Silvia must be there to show us what can be achieved, and perhaps one day VR design and haptic technology will solve a critical issue.

I believe Weidenbach’s approach to design is something we can all learn from. Her openness to experimentation, the unexpected and the weird. She is deliberately subversive, constantly going beyond the realm of acceptability and inviting us to join her there. I might not fully understand her work, but I am glad it exists.





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