by Jincy IypeNov 13, 2019
Featuring minimalist vehicles and contextual works by designers Rem D Koolhaas and Joey Ruiter, the Disruptors exhibition opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles in June 2019. Located in the Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery, the exhibition investigates the avante garde approach of these two designers who overturn conventional norms of automotive design, and do it with élan. The designs follow ‘reductionism’ to form visually striking yet functional transport vehicles, paving a new progression of automotive design. The show also exhibits complementary fashion pieces and sculptures.
Disruptors exhibits works by Dutch shoe designer Rem D. Koolhaas and American industrial designer Joey Ruiter, who share a radical and fresh approach to design, and who unpredictably, do not come from the automotive design industry. Rem D Koolhaas (of United Nude fashion label) is the nephew and namesake of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. He boasts of having Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga as his clients, as well as designing for The Hunger Games film franchise. United Nude is famous for fusing architecture and fashion design to shape abstract yet functional shoes, chairs and personal accessories.
Joey Ruiter (of the brand J. Ruiter), on the other hand, challenges common design expectations in his products, which range from furniture to watercraft. Both Koolhaas and Ruiter have independently applied their expertise and dramatic design language in the exhibits for this show, and present functional and technically advanced vehicles stripped off their excessive facets, curves and other typical conformities.
Disruptors is a critical analysis on how two designers with backgrounds in fashion, architecture and industrial design have come to perceive the automobile. This exhibit is unlike any other we’ve presented in the past because the content challenges common perceptions of vehicles, and the presentation is appropriately unconventional in its aesthetic. - Terry L. Karges, Executive Director, Petersen Automotive Museum
Reductionism refers to the practice of ‘reducing’ a complex entity to its basic, most fundamental constituents, and doing away with ornamental features. Following the same principles by pruning products to their bare essentials, the centrestage is taken up by Koolhaas’s ‘Lo-Res Car’, that stands out like a gigantic hunk of obsidian, and is re-imagined as a Lamborghini Countach deduced to a lower 3D resolution.
Representative of a relationship between an economy car and the basics of motoring, Ruiter’s ‘Consumer Car’ focuses on the drive as the main experience. A matte black, levitating trapezoidal mass, the Consumer Car is reduced to a radically minimal form, eliminating the traditional design aesthetic of the automobile. Also on focus is ‘Moto Undone’ bike by Ruiter, which can be operated by a smartphone and is a boxy, basic take on the typical motorcycle stripped off its painted body, exposed mechanics and exhaust sounds. These exhibits are so radical and minimal, that it is hard to distinguish them as vehicles.
Other products by Koolhaas contain pieces from the Lo Res collection by United Nude, including a pump, a bracelet, and sunglasses. Ruiter also exhibits unconventional products such as the Inner City Bike, Lo-Rider Skateboard, Reboot Buggy, and Snoped V2.
Following a process of eliminating superfluous features and embracing the contemporary, both Koolhaas and Ruiter have created designs which upend norms and superimpose technology and art. Deliberately named Disruptors, as these designs shatter habitual ways of perceiving products and their appeal, the exhibition provides a newer, thought provoking narrative for automotive design.
The Disruptors exhibition is on till March 15, 2020, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, United States.