It’s Our F***ing Backyard
Designing Material Futures
The Stedelijk spotlights the greatest challenge of our time: the climate crisis. The exhibition It’s Our F***ing Backyard shows that designers can make a compelling difference: through innovative experiments or by drawing on local knowledge, they invite us to look at materials in a radically new way and offer us design that is both responsible and aesthetic, comfortable and accessible. Eighty selected projects by designers and companies from all over the world shed light on an array of strategies that explore innovative uses of materials. The exhibition also looks at how soil depletion relates to practices of colonialism, which are still continued by some multinationals.
Algae and cow’s blood
Designers recycle all kinds of waste materials for new products and use the power of nature to create unusual materials. Design studio Bentu, for example, produces furniture from ceramic waste, Tamara Orjola manufactures textiles from pine needles and Basse Stittgen came up with tableware made of cow’s blood. The innovations range from experimental research to new applications of ancient craft techniques. Claudy Jongstra introduced medieval natural dye recipes into Viktor & Rolf’s fashion designs, and Seok-hyeon Yoon used the traditional ottchill lacquer technique to make recyclable ceramics. Maartje Dros and Erik Klarenbeek experiment with diatoms (micro-algae), which bind CO2, to make glass. Other projects focus on generating energy in ways that are less harsh on the environment, or forgo the addition of material by switching to a loan economy. Other initiatives focus on tempting users into think differently. All the projects on display give new impetus to the industry and make us more aware of our footprint.
Designers, producers and new acquisitions
The exhibition showcases experiments and prototypes as well as products already on the market. It includes work by Fernando Laposse, FormaFantasma, Christien Meindertsma, Shahar Livne, Donghoon Sohn, Alexandra Kehayoglou, and by manufacturers such as Vitra and Ikea. Designers are also forging new alliances. For example, together with DJ Peggy Gou, the Balinese design studio Space Available designed a chair from 20 kilos of plastic waste collected in Indonesia.
The exhibition is also an opportunity for the Stedelijk to expand its design collection in this regard. Recent additions include acquisitions by Carissa Ten Tije, Yamuna Forzani, Seok-hyeon Yoon, Joana Schneider, Seungbin Yang, Audrey Large, Tamara Orjola, Yasmin Bawa, and Marjan van Aubel, and donations by Circuform (Ineke Hans) and Space Available.
Exhibition ‘It’s Our F***ing Backyard’
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
26 May – 4 September 2022
Photography: Tomek Dersu Aaron, Gert Jan van Rooij
Group photo: Maarten Nauw