Identification Zone: Chinese and Danish Furniture Design

Identification Zone: Chinese and Danish Furniture Design is the first design exhibition at Red Brick Art Museum. The exhibition presents Chinese antique furniture and Danish modern furniture together, providing a way to understand contemporary furniture design.

The antique Chinese furniture exhibited here, primarily from the Ming Dynasty, has been held in the collections of several important collectors. This furniture has been preserved and handed down for generations, and each piece evinces a deep sense of history. Every era reconsiders and revises past prejudices as part of the overall progress of society, and these changes are worthy of deeper investigation.

After World War II, modern Danish furniture design, as represented by Hans Wegner, gained global popularity. Modern Danish design combined Bauhaus theory with the aesthetics of twentieth-century Scandinavian design to become one of the world’s most important schools of furniture design. This design movement also broadly drew on the furniture designs of other countries; Danish designers built their own ideas through research, in order to obtain universal cultural acceptance. They also expanded the market for their designs, combining design and commerce in a way that stood in marked contrast to artisan-produced antique furniture. In Chinese contemporary furniture design specifically, there have always been designers who imitated antique styles, but created dry and lifeless pieces that lacked a vital and clear contemporaneity.

The design world today only pursues speed and scale, and deep thought does not often take place. Anxiety about the present state of design and culture compels us to seek out this “identification zone.”

This exhibition links the two important realms of ancient Chinese furniture and modern Danish furniture within the history of design. Red Brick Art Museum’s choice to study design and organize exhibitions of design will inspire a better understanding and deeper conversation centered on this important realm of cultural endeavor.


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Yan Shijie

Organised By:
Red Brick Art Museum

With Special Thanks To:
Noritsugu Oda & C.L.Ma Classical Furniture Museum