Disappearing design narratives

Work by Wilfred Kalf

Wilfred Coffee Table

Wilfred End Of Table

Wilfred Leg Coffee Table

Wilfred Coffee Table Low

Wilfred Table Birdseye

Narratives in design

Have we run out of patience for listening to stories?

The post-millennial generation no longer require a narrative to enjoy an experience. Or an object, or art. They are more ready to accept something if it makes them feel something without asking why. At last a generation who look and absorb before asking for an explanation, if at all. While the world is going mad about story-telling the next wave of consumers hasn’t got the patience to sit and listen. Which is why advertisers are having to rethink their presentations. A beginning, a middle and an end are no longer mandatory, nor are they just optional, they can even get in the way of the message. These finely tuned cognitive skills do not need a starter, main course and sweet in conventional order.

Bitter before sweet

Just imagine you had not been raised with the convention of savoury before sweet. What a ball you could have at a buffet. Although not many formal restaurants have yet departed from this storyline, there are situations, many situations in which food is served leaving people to follow their whims. Restaurants that just serve starters like sushi and tapas bars are completely in sync with the spirit of the times.

Good times ahead

So if you are a pre-millennial, you might have followed me up until now (we lost the post-millennials along the way, but they are snacking all over the place so they know what’s going on), but honestly you must be starting to wonder what this has to do with art and artefacts? A similar shift has also been taking place in the applied arts. Makers still have fundamental reasons for making things, but they do not always start at the beginning or conclude at the end. Sometimes things are made to continue to change after they have left the workshop. Maturing, growing, decaying or evolving.

While critics are looking for traditional narratives, the makers are reflecting the spirit of the times, starting with an idea for using a material in an unconventional way or taking an existing shape and finding a new application for it. Story bored or story board?

 

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Cabinets of Curiosity

We are curious makers of things, things we dream up ourselves. Remarkable, useful, beautiful and original things. Sometimes they are made entirely by hand, sometimes partly by machine, in the future perhaps by robots. May be not robots. Always with an eye for detail and with an element of fun.

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