Thingness is a fitting title for an exhibition of furniture, kitchenware and home electronics created by one of the most prolific contemporary designers of our time: Jasper Morrison. His designs never shout or show off but perform their functions with ease and elegance. They are just “things” – superlative, seamless, simple.
Morrison has made a career out of boiling objects down to their functional essence, creating a whole host of recognisable designs for the world’s most iconic brands.
The exhibition – the first to survey Morrison’s 35-year career – is on show at the Centre for Innovation and Design at Grand-Hornu in Belgium. Thingness brings together key moments from his design career. From chairs and tables to tableware, toasters and telephones to bus stops and a tram for the city of Hanover, the exhibition highlights Morrison’s ability to seamlessly adapt to different design fields.
Morrison’s love for simplicity has manifested in a number of products for leading manufacturers in Europe including Cappellini, Alessi, Flos, Magis and Vitra; Japanese brands such as Muji; and technology companies Samsung and Sony.
Morrison’s view is that good design is all about simplicity, evident in tailored designs such as the Oigen Palma kitchenware range. The cast-iron collection draws on the Oigen brand’s traditional Japanese craftsmanship but has conveniently been designed for both cooking and serving. They are everyday pots and serving pieces whose tapered forms make their heavy construction appear light and refined.
That feeling of lightness comes through in his Orla sofa for Cappellini too, whose smooth silhouette is created by a slim, continuous frame that acts like a scoop for the seat.
He has collaborated with a host of renowned designers including Naoto Fukasawa, James Irvine and, most recently, Swiss designer Michel Charlot with whom he devised a simple wooden unit that serves as a support for pieces on display at Thingness.
Thingness is on show at Grand-Hornu in Hornu, Belgium until 13 September 2015.