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Philipp Weber’s Composing Processes

In an exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin, the German designer digs into the hidden values of human involvement in the production of items often taken for granted

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Text by Rab Messina
Photography by courtesy of Philipp Weber

For more than two millennia, very few changes have been made to the glassblowing pipe, a steel pipe as long as a child. Watching Belgian glassblower Christophe Genard at work, designer Philipp Weber had an idea: How could the unconscious choreography of Genard’s blowing and holding and shifting and lifting, often invisible in the final product, be revealed in the instrument itself?

That’s the origin of A Strange Symphony, a project that rendered this process into a glass trumpet —an instrument linked to improvisation, rhythm and precise blowing. And this month, the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin celebrates Weber’s line of questioning with Composing Processes, a solo exhibition that examines the hidden values of human involvement in the production of items often taken for granted.

The exhibition is the third instalment of the institution’s Design Views series. In it, the Münster-born designer also includes From Below, the result of a research project on the production of fuel coke. Its large-scale extraction, often invisible to consumers, is heavily complex: coke is first lifted from bituminous coal and then reprocessed to iron sinter together with iron ore —the former is, in turn, the basis to produce iron. After analysing the process, Weber designed a coke oven in order to mould the product into geometrical shapes, looking to understand its plastic conditions.

“Both projects seek to find a meaning for craft in our digitalised and industrialised world,” explained the designer.

Composing Processes is on display until April 18

philipp weber
Part of the A Strange Symphony project
philipp weber
From A Strange Symphony Live
philipp weber
Part of the On Colours series
philipp weber
One of the five iterations of the From Below project
philipp weber
Part of the From Below project
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