Alice Rawsthorn gives the V&A’s new Contemporary Design exhibit the once over in the New York Times:
The Robber Baron cabinet is one of 50 intricately made, richly symbolic objects in “Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design,” an exhibition opening Tuesday at the V&A. It is one of the most ornate pieces in the show, but has stiff competition. Take the Fig Leaf wardrobe designed by a fellow Dutchman, Tord Boontje, and clad in 616 hand-painted copper “leaves,” each side of which took a master enameler six hours to paint. Or the Honeycomb Vase, designed by a Slovakian, Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny, and “made” by 40,000 bees, which added layer after layer of beeswax on to the mould of a vase he placed in their hive.
Almost all of the objects in “Telling Tales” conform to the conventional definition of design by fulfilling a practical function, though not very well. You could hang your clothes in Mr. Boontje’s creation on the patinated bronze “tree” made by a 159-year-old French artisanal metal workshop, but they would be better off in a cheap IKEA wardrobe. Like most of pieces in this exhibition, it was conceived not to be useful, but as a means of self-expression.
Honoring the Heady Days of Design Art (New York Times)