A LABOUR OF LOVE, a 448-page publication by design curators and authors Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano. The book’s title refers to craftsmanship as an alternative form of pride and fulfilment. It comes at a unique time in history when principles are evolving and a more mindful, altruistic approach is needed in design and manufacturing.
Divided into 12 themes that reflect current materials and techniques, this bold book introduces the new makers in contemporary design, previewing a future of responsible production, circular thinking, ethical practice and organic aesthetics. It offers insight into how designers are giving shape to materials and process, from reviving the loom and recycling waste to social inclusion and growing matter. Their conscious philosophies will change our world with careful and considered choices that can ultimately reconnect us to nature and guide us towards a better tomorrow.
As Edelkoort observes “People know they need to slow down the pace of overconsumption and overproduction; otherwise our planet will be lost. The creative world gains insight and invents systems where values shift and design plays an activist role, developing ideas about sharing between designer and the worker, designer and the underprivileged, designer and the amateur, designer and the designer… This new era gives hope for other ways of perceiving what is considered success, renown and profit. Here, capital is strictly human.”
Since the beginning of the century, the design discipline has turned to the human hand as the antidote to a profound feeling of disarray, and our inability to cope with the superfluous industrial design of former decades – especially in a post-coronavirus landscape. Yet now the hand and technology work together to produce prodigious objects and sustainable materials that prepare us for an emerging period of humanity, empathy and collaboration.
Fimmano notes how “A dedicated generation is leading this movement, using machines to serve their purposes, reprogramming antiquated robots to construct their designs, hacking 3D printers to boost form and repurposing mechanical looms for contemporary creativity. Suddenly the machine is no longer the antithesis of unbridled innovation but the handmaid of the designer; enabling, embellishing and advancing production. Man and machine finally merge and become one. Places for creating, sharing and manufacturing will become veritable cottage industries where the designer is at once the farmer, artisan and custodian of our earth, enamoured with all the phases and facets of the process. A labour of love.”
Beautifully-designed by Mariola López Mariño at Anthon Beeke Collectief in Amsterdam, at more than 5 centimetres thick, the book’s broad format and open spine binding embody the solid feel of a raw slab of industrial material. The cardboard cover is highlighted by a fine foil decal based on a biotech fabric by Diana Scherer. Featuring detailed profiles on over 70 creative studios in design, architecture, fashion and textiles, this highly visual publication is an educational reference and accompanies the exhibition A Labour of Love, September 9–November 8, 2020 as part of Lille Métropole 2020, World Design Capital.