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Wolfgang Laubersheimer
Braced Shelf, 1984
Steel
98.43 H x 14.96 x 12.6 inches
250 H x 38 x 32 cm

DEUTSCHE SWANK: AN EXHIBITION ON 1980S GERMAN AVANT-GARDE DESIGN
By Stephanie Murg

“Now feels like the right time for this material,” says Demisch. A dozen pieces of German 80s design are currently shown in the gallery’s West Twelfth Street space, together with a selection of ceramics by the artist Beate Kuhn. The design pieces include a show-stopping rugged inner-tube-framed shelving unit by the Pentagon Group (c. mid-1980s) and a clinically cool, jaunty-angled steel and Plexiglas desk by Ralph Sommer from 1988 (which would look like right at home in the 2017 spy thriller Atomic Blonde, whose neon-drenched sets lovingly recreated the edgy atmosphere of 1989 West Berlin). On a more playful note were works by Laubersheimer, now a professor at the Köln International School of Design, such as his Amazonas Desk (1988), whose stone top is etched with the meandering path of the Amazon River; an attached tube and filter system allows water to flow through the incision, which also acts as a planter. (He made nine other such desks, each with a different river.)

“The collectives were composed of artists, designers, technicians, and sculptors,” says Demisch. “It’s anti-design. It’s uncontrived. It’s captivating. And, especially when mixed with other things, it has a way of creating real energy and excitement.”

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