EOOS interview

On the exhibition at the MAK that celebrates the design studio's 20th anniversary
11 / 03 / 2015
Photography: © Udo Titz
© MAK/Nathan Murrell
© Paul Prader
© MAK/Georg Mayer 
The exhibition EOOS at the MAK museum in Vienna celebrates 20 years of work by the homonymous studio. Founded in Vienna in 1995 by Martin Bergmann, Gernot Bohmann and Harald Gruendl, the trio specialized in the development of several product and interior design projects, working closely with the industry and the most prestigious brands. Together, they developed what they call the poetical analytical creative process, that forms the base for the development of the projects they are involved with.

The show at the MAK is the first retrospective of all the work from the Viennese studio, and allows an historical context of the two decades of projects. We had the chance to get some impressions from one of the designers of EOOS, Harald Gruendl, expressed on the interview that follows. 
 
How did the idea for the EOOS exhibition at the MAK appeared?
We have been invited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, the MAK director. When he approached us with the idea of a presentation in the museum we told him that we would celebrate 20 years in 2015. So it became a bigger project, for both of us.

How was the process of developing the exhibition's concept?
We discussed the exhibition project with our curator Thomas Geisler who is responsible for the design collection. We both liked the idea of not displaying in a white cube but to use the context of the extraordinary MAK study collection, displayed in the MAK Design Lab to contextualize our work. The poetical analysis, the research strategy of EOOS, brings us also back into different times and cultures. So we looked our work by using the structure of the MAK Design Lab. There are topics which relate to everyday life like cooking, eating and drinking, sitting, decorating and so on. We looked at our work and chose projects for each of the topics. The presentation then was discussed together with all the curators of the MAK as all collections are part of the presentation concept.
 
Is this the moment to have an EOOS retrospective exhibition?
It happened by chance. We had not planned anything special for 2015 until we have been invited by the MAK for our first big solo exhibition. Now we are working to finish our first monograph, which will be co-published with the MAK. It became a window of opportunity to reflect on what happened in an organised and concentrated way, with the help of one of the most interesting design institutions in the world.

What can be seen about each of the projects presented?
We see our work within the tension of the archaic and high-tech. The exhibition poster shows our Lichtlüfter for Bulthaup, a lighted range hood like a UFO above an ancient three-legged pot from Northern Italy of the 15th century. This can be seen as a metaphor for our time, our dreams and fears, our history and future.
 
How is it to see 20 years of work displayed in a museum?
We are grateful for the opportunity that the MAK gave us to condense what we did and contextualize within design history. Our work is permanently displayed in showrooms around the world, so another approach had to be found for a presentation in a museum. At MAK, we show processes, associations, connections – things which you usually do not see in a show room. And with the installation EOOS transforms (check video below) we show the humans' influence in transforming and changing the meaning and function of our furniture: little robots are transforming several furniture objects to show one of our central design strategies. We never thought about putting a chair on a pedestal.

The exhibition runs until 17 May 2015 at the MAK in Vienna.