On the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish Furniture Makers’ Association (SFMA), the Adjust/Adapt members exhibition was to take place at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh from 27 March – 24 April. It has instead moved online with a digital exhibition presented via the City Art Centre website and the stunning new SFMA website.
Adjust/Adapt highlights a shift in emphasis that’s been accelerated by the prolonged lockdown. As we take on the challenges brought by Covid19, mass consumerist culture takes a break. Many of us can appreciate even more how creativity enriches our lives. There’s a greater need to make changes and shift thinking about waste and consumption whilst we face an impending climate crisis.
This online exhibition concept, in collaboration with Visual Arts Scotland members, showcases the best of Scottish contemporary furniture makers to a much wider reach of audience. Here you’ll find single bespoke works from SFMA members, presented as a group of five curated ‘still life’ furniture collections complemented by contemporary fine art and applied-arts works.
The exhibition is presented as a re-imagining of our personal space at home where many of us have now combined work and living space. Add homeschooling, workout and dining spaces and our homes and furniture have become multifunctional. The exhibition sparks our imaginations and brings a fresh way of enjoying and enhancing our home space with natural, sustainable, tactile materials. Using locally-sourced and re-purposed materials adds resonance as we look for ways to be more carbon-neutral.
These collections are curated and presented online using the backdrop of Leith Theatre. This beloved building is symbolic of the rewards of repurposing and cherishing discarded local resources. The impeccable designs set against the heritage features of the Theatre are mutually enhancing. There’s a museum-like feel to the exhibits thanks to the curation and lay-out of the set pieces on plinths with impressive photography from Gabriela Silveira.
Don’t miss the short films to accompany the works. They have a dream-like quality, floating enchantingly around the theatre and the works, exploring each design detail or practical feature. All this is set to the music of sound artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Kim Moore. The films personalise and complete the blend of form and function in these works. These will inspire and connect you to the details and practical elements. You can easily visualise using them in your home.
There’s a mix of historical design influences here: mid-century forms and patterns, Arts & Crafts workshop, CR Mackintosh and Secessionist styles, all blended with contemporary form and function. Each work enriches the concept of repurposing and upcycling in design to create bespoke pieces. Many use sustainable materials with a low to no-waste ethos. Rob Elliot’s Flow Desk and Chair, a sumptuously warm wood workstation with echoes of Art Nouveau, would enhance any ‘WFH’ day. You can’t help but browse the SFMA website directory to put faces to names and find out more about Scottish-based designers and craft makers.
Anyone looking to get involved in professional furniture-making and design can find out more at the live events programme. Throughout April, join the live digital talks and discussions on the industry, sustainability, skills, sales and resources. Sign up at Eventbrite for a free invitation. Look out too for the hashtag #ADJUSTADAPT21 on social media.
Adjust/Adapt online exhibition is supported by Scottish Forestry, City Art Centre and Leith Theatre.
With thanks to Julie Boyne for this review.