Solos: Matali Crasset

Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Presents “Solos: Matali Crasset”

In the fourth installment of the “Solos” exhibition series, Cooper-Hewitt will present the work of French industrial designer Matali Crasset in her first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Crasset, who began her career working for Philippe Starck, is one of Europe’s most exciting and original young designers. On view in the new ground floor gallery from May 19 through Sept. 24, the exhibition runs concurrently with the “Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500 - 2005” and “Frederic Church, Winslow Homer and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape” exhibitions.

“The newest ‘Solos’ exhibition offers a very forward and dramatic look at how technology can be integrated into our residential spaces,” said curatorial director Barbara Bloemink. “Crasset’s ultramodern, almost futuristic work in the gallery serves as a striking contemporary counterpoint to the design discourse explored in the main galleries.”

Crasset’s work explores residential and urban rituals and the domestication of technology and includes industrial design products, graphics, theater sets, wallpaper and furniture. For the exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt, Crasset presents distinct sound and visual experiences in the gallery, including:
• d_fuse: an igloo-like structure, constructed of translucent cones and featuring different light and sound elements, situated at the far end of the gallery
• immersion: a home entertainment seating unit, which integrates an LCD flat screen and DVD system into its construction, intended to bring the user closer to technology
• sounddrops: small speakers and microphones that hang down into a soft-cell seating unit to provide an interactive, community music experience
• splight: a lighting fixture, constructed of branching clusters of micro-fluorescent tubes and blown glass to form a floor-to-ceiling lighting network
• vynil: individually designed wallpaper squares, manufactured by Domestic in Paris, which can be combined and customized into a number of different patterns and configurations, affixed to the gallery walls

For Matali Crasset, these elements “unfold in a graphic environment that evokes natural elements, recalling that interior and exterior are one, and we are, beyond appearances, all joined in a vast network.”

“Solos: Matali Crasset” is made possible in part by the Grand Marnier Foundation; Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a program of FACE; Ville de Paris/Association Française d'Action Artistique; and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

About Matali Crasset
French designer Matali Crasset established her own company in 1998 and works in a broad range of areas, from furniture and clothing to scenography and architecture, typography and cosmetics. Before forming her own company, Crasset worked with the noted designer Philippe Starck and served as the head of Thomson Multimedia’s design center, Thim Thom. She has designed for leading design companies, including Artemide, Dornbracht, Edra and nekt /Pantone-Universe, among others. In 1999, she was awarded the Grand Prix de la Presse Internationale de la Critique du Meuble Contemporain. Crasset’s work has been featured in numerous publications worldwide, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

About the “Solos” Series
The “Solos” series was launched in 2003 to showcase innovations in the field of architecture and design, including designs new to the market or to construction, or new design in the research and development stage. Each installation explores a singular work or theme and examines its development, creative process and innovative qualities. Past exhibitions in the “Solos” series include “SmartWrap” (2003), which featured a concept for a new building material that integrates the previously segregated functional components of a conventional wall into one composite film that can be erected in a fraction of ordinary building time; the architectural prototype “FutureShack” (2004), which was designed to address the need of low-cost housing for refugees and the homeless by re-appropriating existing materials, and “New Design from Israel” (2006), which featured more than two dozen prototypes, experimental objects and production pieces conceived and created by designers who live and work in Israel.

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Cooper-Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967.

As the design authority of the United States, Cooper-Hewitt programs and exhibitions demonstrate how design shapes culture and history—past, present and future. The museum presents design along a historic continuum, balancing contemporary and historic concerns and using 21st-century perspectives to pinpoint themes of enduring interest to design across all centuries. Holdings encompass one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence, tracing the history of design through more than 250,000 objects spanning 24 centuries, from the Han Dynasty (200 B.C.) to the present. The museum’s collections are organized by four curatorial departments: product design and decorative arts; drawings, prints and graphic design; textiles; and wallcoverings.

Cooper-Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. General admission, $12; senior citizens and students ages 12 and older, $7. Cooper-Hewitt members and children younger than 12 are admitted free. The museum is fully accessible.
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