New Olds: Design between Tradition and Innovation

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byCassie Cheng

Together with German curator Volker Albus—who previously curated the travelling exhibit Somewhat Different: Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention at Yuchengco Museum in 2012—IFA (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.) and Goethe-Institut present New Olds: Design between Tradition and Innovation. Featuring 60 objects that explore the relationship between tradition and innovation in contemporary design, New Olds will be on view from May 9 to June 6, 2014 at Yuchengco Museum.

New Olds looks into how contemporary designers work with traditional elements, whether it is style, material or craft. The show also explores the themes of material, construction, configuration, production, and traditional use. 45 designers and design teams from Germany, other European countries, and the US enter into an intensive dialogue at the exhibit.

Design has a short and highly successful history in the West. It quickly became a key feature of a collective understanding of culture, and is correspondingly appreciated and communicated. Today, design is gaining significance, and not just as a profession. Many of the design pieces that are being sold as fresh and innovative are actually derived from history, culture, and tradition, representing a new way of interpreting old forms. This exhibition looks at aspects of the “new” and the “old” in a range of objects and groups of objects, discusses differences and new combinations, presents trends in recycling and redesign, and looks at the transformation of design classics and traditional ways of using new materials.

Works by Filipino designers
The international nature of the show is further emphasized by a selection of Philippine examples of design that put a twist on tradition. For the Philippine leg of New Olds, curator Volker Albus will especially feature chairs designed by Gabriel Barredo and Dem Bitantes.

To complement the New Olds traveling exhibit, the Yuchengco Museum is presenting Design Insights Philippines, a showcase of works by local designers that experiment with material, pattern, construction, or functionality. Design Insights Philippines hopes to encourage Filipino designers to look into their traditional culture and to transform it into something contemporary. Among the participating artists and designers are Ambie Abaño, Olivia d’Aboville, Anton del Castillo, Daniel Latorre Cruz, Wataru Sakuma, and Michelline Syjuco.

Curator’s talk
A curator’s talk with Volker Albus is scheduled on May 9, Friday, at Yuchengco Museum at 4:00 p.m. Mr. Albus will take guests around the exhibit and share his insights into select objects from the show. The talk is for free.

New Olds: Design between Tradition and Innovation will be on view at Yuchengco Museum from May 9 to June 6, 2014. The museum is located at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (632) 889-1234 or visit


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