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Designs That Protect Body and Mind
Amanda Knox (American, born 1975), Kim Hoffmann (American born 1975), and Sara Shaughnessy (American, born 1979) of RedStart Design, LLC (USA, est. 2004). Subtle Safety Defensive Ring. 2003. Sterling silver and stainless steel, 1 x 1 x 1/2" (2.5 x 2.5 x 1 cm). Manufacturer: RedStart Design, LLC, USA (2004). Photo by RedStart Design, LLC and Eric Cheng.

NEW YORK.-Content: Safe: Design Takes On Risk, the first major design exhibition at MoMA since its reopening in November 2004, will present more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed for a variety of reasons: to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances; respond to emergencies; ensure clarity of information; and provide a sense of comfort and security. The objects will be displayed in the exhibition to address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of earthquakes and terrorist attacks, to those of darkness and loneliness.

Safety is an instinctive need that has guided human choices throughout history and has in recent years become a focus, even an obsession. Risk, on the other hand, is mankind’s propelling fuel. Humankind craves discovery, innovation, and inspiration, no matter how dangerous. Designers are trained to balance risk with protection and to mediate between disruptive change and normalcy. Good design goes hand in hand with personal needs, providing protection and security without sacrificing innovation and invention.

In the tradition of such influential MoMA exhibitions as Machine Art (1934), Modern Masks and Helmets (1991), and Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995), SAFE redirects the pursuit of beauty toward the appreciation of economy of function and technology. The exhibition covers all forms of design, from manufactured products to information architecture. The products will range from refugee shelters to baby strollers, from demining equipment to nutritional information, from protective sports gear, to toys that help children with psychological impairments regain a sense of self and of the world surrounding them. A life-saving station will be installed in the MoMA lot adjacent to the American Folk Art Museum and will be visible from the street.

The curators: Paola Antonelli, Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994. Her first major exhibition at the Museum was Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995), followed by Contemporary Design from the Netherlands (1996), Achille Castiglioni: Design! (1997), Projects 66: Campana/Ingo Maurer (1998–1999), and most recently Workspheres (2001) and Humble Masterpieces (2004). Ms. Antonelli has lectured widely on design and architecture in Europe and the United States and has served on several international architecture and design juries. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Van Alen Institute and of The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). She lectured on design history and theory at the University of California, Los Angeles (1991-93) and at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University (2003-present). Born in Sassari, Italy, Ms. Antonelli graduated with a master’s degree in architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1990.

Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini, Curatorial Assistant, joined The Museum of Modern Art in February 2004 to work on Paola Antonelli’s exhibition Humble Masterpieces. Born in Mallorca, Spain, she graduated with a master’s degree in architecture from the School of Architecture in Barcelona (1996) and holds a PhD in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (2002). As an architect she has worked at Carme Pinós’ studio in Barcelona (1997-1998) and has been a teaching assistant at the School of Architecture in Barcelona from 1998 to 2000 and at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University in 2003.

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