Andrea Brena is coming at design in his own way … and it may just work out. He took a break from DAE to remind himself what real life was like.
Last year Andrea Brena made the unusual step of leaving the Design Academy Eindhoven half way through his Bachelor programme.
“I needed to see what life was like outside the bubble,” he explains.
Brena’s point was that at school students are constantly bombarded with dire warnings about how consumption is changing and how design must change with it. But, cloistered in the conceptual walls of an academy, students don’t get to experience these changes for themselves.
So he asked for one year off to realign his thinking with that of the outside world.
Although he’d love to say he chose Berlin because it is the current city of all things hip and cultural - in truth Brena went there for love.
And it worked – both his relationship and his quest for more understanding about how design can work in a changing world.
Next week during DMY in Berlin he will present Knitted Army, a series of furniture objects made from arm knitting together leftover fabric strips he sources from textile factories in Italy. The objects are also stuffed with leftovers.
The point of this project is to discover ways to increase a person’s commitment to the products surrounding her by involving her in the production process.
Brena spent his year in Berlin at the Bless Fashion studio before starting an internship at Fabien Dumas’ Too Many Designers Studio.
“To make the year work I needed to constantly reinvent myself,” he explains. “I wanted to focus solely on product design, but ended up working on the studio’s “Instant Stories” show in Milan, which was a great experience.”
"Knitted Army" has been included in the Jury Selection DMY Award 2012.
“I think there are a lot of ideas out there,” Brena says, “and many of them are better than mine, but I have actually done this. My plan is to make this just the beginning because I think the concept has so much potential.”
Brena plans to set up a cooperative in his hometown near Milan where the crisis has hit hard and many people are unemployed. “A whole community of people can get together to produce this,” he explains. “Arm knitting is really easy.”
For this current series, Brena booked a ticket for him mum to fly to Berlin and they locked themselves in his studio for one week to construct the pieces.
“This is more then just an idea to me,” Brena says. “I wanted to find a concept that could start simply – in this case, a technique and materials – and become richer through production.”
"Knitted Army" will be also shown at the Bauhaus Archive Museum Fur Gestaltung in Berlin from September 12 to October 15.
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