Birgit Severin is the first designer to exhibit at the brandnew DMY Design Gallery in the Blücherstrasse in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Here’s what the superb (smow) blog writes on this inaugural show. The images are also by (smow).

“Birgit Severin – Lifetimes at the DMY Design Gallery Berlin

Following the demise of the “original” DMY Gallery in Berlin’s Stilwerk “design shopping centre”, DMY appeared to have decided to concentrate on their global series of exhibitions and running Germany’s most important design contest, the Designpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Silence can however be deceptive and according to DMY CEO Jörg Suermann the dream of having a gallery never faded, and with the move to new offices in Berlin Kreuzberg, in a former retail property and so with a ready display space, the opportunity arose.
While there are obviously certain, potential, conflicts of interests when DMY run a gallery, one cannot escape the fact that they are not only one of the best connected collectives in the city’s design community, but are also one of the few Berlin design organisations who are regularly active outwith the German capital. As such they are in an excellent position to organise interesting contemporary design exhibitions.
Such as Lifetimes.
Originally from Bielefeld Birgit Severin initially studied psychology at the University of Maastricht – “something steadfast” as Birgit puts it – before switching to design. Following the completion of her Masters in Biological Psychology Birgit began a bachelor design course at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, a bachelor design course that quickly gave way to a masters design course at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Since graduating with an MA in Contextual Design in 2013 Birgit Severin has been based in Berlin, while her work has been shown in locations as varied as Portsmouth, Miami, Paris, and most recently, Frankfurt am Main.
Lifetimes presents a mix of projects from Eindhoven and newer “Berlin” projects. The highlight of the show for us is “Ashes”, a collection vases in which Birgit sets out to explore the idea of vanitas, so decay and wilting, in product design.
Staring with a 3D printed mould the “raw” vases are created by rubber rotation casting. Having cast the vases Birgit varies the length of time that they are allowed to harden in the mould. Those which are allowed to fully harden resemble vases as we all know and understand the genre. Those which are not allowed to fully harden are then either “deformed” by hand, so endued with dents, folds and imperfections in a controlled process or are allowed to slowly slump into themselves creating a grotesque, random object that still functions as a vase, yet which bears no physical resemblance to the idealised image such a word evokes.
Aside from the physical form, the irregularities of the mould beget the objects not only with a truly decadent bejewelled, pearl like surface but also an aged character. And despite the unmistakable delicacy and stature of the objects, they are, and remain, pliable rubber.
While randomness and imperfection are far from new themes in design Birgit Severin ‘s combination of material and production process results in objects with a propriety that genuinely raises such to the same level as planned production processes. One doesn’t recognise the imperfection as being such.
Elsewhere, amongst the other works on display, the project “Surface Narratives”, for example, questions our conventional understanding of patterns as representing aesthetic perfection by creating a series “fractured” patterns which become ever more broken and random through use, while Birgit’s newest work “Abacus” transforms the fruit bowl into an interactive experience. A Fruit Bowl App as modern marketing men with their unending creativity would no doubt present
The return of the DMY Design Gallery is a welcome development for a city that bathes daily in the soi-disant glory of being the creative centre of the universe.
Talk to anyone involved in design in Berlin however and they will tell you that while the city is full of designers, or at least those who claim to be, and is a wonderful and cheap city to work in and live in…. there aren’t that many chances to actually experience design in the city.
And certainly in comparison to metropoli1 such as London, Paris or Milan the dearth of design galleries in Berlin is simply embarrassing
Especially galleries devoted to contemporary design.
The DMY Design Gallery plan to present a new exhibition every two months, the next is confirmed, and while there are concrete ideas for the future shows, according to Jörg Suermann they don’t want to book things up too far in advance, rather keep themselves open for spontaneous planning as, when and if interesting new projects cross their path.
We’re certainly looking forward to seeing how the Gallery develops…..
A few impressions:
Until April 16th. DMY Design Gallery, Blücherstr. 23, 10961 Berlin.
Images © (smow)