Three questions to
Today we have the pleasure of talking to Rawad Baaklini, a Lebanese curator and educator based in Rotterdam. As curator of the CURATED Section 2024, he shares with us the inspiration behind the exhibition 'A Public Display of Affection'.
COLLECTIBLE: Can you share with us the inspiration behind the theme "A Public Display of Affection" for this curated section?
Rawad Baaklini: The concept is rooted in a personal love story that has proven to be a deep well of inspiration. It prompted me to contemplate the myriad of romantic relationships that have served as an endless source of creative inspiration for artists and designers. While love is a universal emotion, the ways in which it is expressed are diverse and can manifest in various forms. This led me to the intriguing idea of bringing these diverse expressions together in a singular space.
The concept itself is not particularly groundbreaking, as we are aware that designers invest their passion and dedication into crafting their exquisite creations. These creations demand considerable effort and time. However, labeling these works as a "display of affection" within the context of a commercial design fair carries a hint of irony and wit. This is because, ultimately, all the collectible design pieces can be considered a form of public display of affection (PDA); they are all vying for attention. In a sense, they compete with one another to capture the gaze of potential buyers or, dare I call these buyers, lovers.
C: How do you see the future of collectible design in terms of material exploration?
RB: It is evident that collectible design has never been solely about the materials used in crafting an object; it is equally about the narrative that accompanies it. This narrative can encompass a personal tale from the creator's life or place a strong emphasis on the story behind the materials themselves. The interplay between these two aspects is prevalent in many contemporary collectible design pieces. In today's market, buyers seek not only a beautiful creation but also a tangible connection to the designer – a piece of their essence, personality, or even their personal history.
Consequently, we are witnessing a growing trend where design pieces encapsulate the unique character of their creators. They serve as mirrors reflecting the designers' thoughts, dreams, and aspirations for the future. This deeper connection adds a layer of meaning and significance to the collectible design world, making it even more appealing to discerning buyers and collectors.
C: Within the "A Public Display of Affection" curated section, how do you see the balance between the emotional and functional aspects of the showcased designs?
RB: I look forward to witnessing the manner in which emotions dictate the function of these creations. Will we be able to discern the spirit in which the designers were immersed during the making of their creations? Can we truly perceive their emotions when we use their objects? I am equally intrigued by the prospect of unraveling the love stories and heartbreaks that are woven into these pieces. Therefore, my hope is that the emotional and functional aspects are intricately intertwined within the designs themselves, forming a profound connection that enriches our experience with them.