The Log-O-Rhithmic Slide Rule
– 7 December 2018
A retrospective covering more than 50 years of collaboration and showcasing the numerous projects by the Swiss architecture and design duo Trix and Robert Haussmann currently runs at ETH Zürich.
Curated by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen, the exhibition at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture showcases the most influential works of the past decades by the design duo. The exhibits were selected from over 650 joint projects, including new productions, architectural designs, furniture, realised projects, and illusionistic mirror objects.
The works on display illustrate the pioneering role played to this day by Trix and Robert Haussmann in their reinterpretation of classical modernism and its structures. The nonconformist works break with the dogmas of the contemporary design landscape and challenge the standards of functionalism – this is how they decisively influenced anti-functionalism. The Anti-Chair project is symbolic of this. A luminous chair made of neon tubes that cannot withstand any weight is all about aesthetics over technology. The duo’s individual style is characterised by architectural-historical and illusionistic influences, which was also reflected in the concept of the 1981 exhibition “Manierismo Critico” – a critical mannerism. Here, they took a critical stance on the contemporary discourse on art and design at the time, and on rigid classicism. The current exhibition in Zurich takes its name from an experimental design instrument called the Log-O-Rithmic Slide Rule, which can be understood as a scale that combines terms from contemporary discourse. It is intended to encourage people to combine word pairs that can enrich and positively influence the variety of styles in architecture and design.