DESIGN UNDEFINED: Q&A WITH MAX FRASER

There’s nothing more fascinating than the art of attachment. From hoarders to minimalists, we project varying degrees of relevance onto objects that appear in our everyday lives based on emotional instigation and the desire to relive memories and moments via a tactile medium.

As a contemporary design destination, we are keen to explore the heart and soul behind our business and customers. Later this month, during Clerkenwell Design Week, curator, writer and editor of the London Design Guide Max Fraser will join our list of exhibitors at Design Undefined. Having selected 24 participants to be involved in his slice of the exhibition, Max will occupy our Wine Keep with a display of objects, chosen by each individual, that tell a range of stories bound by emotional profundity.

With the exhibition drawing closer, we spoke to Max about breaking convention and one of the most exciting weeks of the year.

Design Undefined is a celebration of upturned conventions and breaking the rules. Why is this important?
Rules, by their very nature, are there to be broken or at least stretched. Their parameters can cause complacency and laziness that should always be challenged. This is how we push ourselves and carry our output forward.

How do you think the emotional relationships we have with products impacts the way we interact with them and what we buy?
Products, particularly at the high-end, have to garner some sort of an emotional reaction for us to buy them. Of course, it’s not easy to achieve this reaction at the point of purchase and often our connections to things mature over time. That said, the design industry has woken up to the importance of telling stories and showing the process as a way of making a better connection between customer and object.

What do you hope people take away from your section of Design Undefined?
I like to think that my exhibition will make people think a bit more about the objects they already have in their own lives. We’re sort of trained to pursue new stuff and that which we don’t have already but actually, we have plenty already. It will hopefully give an insight into what makes us really emotionally tick in relation to our surroundings.

What is your top tip for anyone visiting CDW16?
The area is relatively small so grab a map and walk around the streets, encountering the design activities in your path.

Visitors to Clerkenwell Design Week will be able to view Max’s exhibition in the Wine Keep at Clerkenwell London 7.30am-10.30pm, 24-26 May.

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