Accidents Will Happen

Tom Dixon experimental chairs - 1985


Friedman Benda’s first exhibition of 2022 delves into a design period I’m quite fond of. Accidents Will Happen: Creative Salvage, 1981-1991 is the first international exhibit of dedicated to Creative Salvage furniture design. It is in essence DIY meets Mad Max, taking castoff industrial materials and repurposing them into design objects.

 The exhibit includes early work from Ron Arad, Mark Brazier-Jones, Tom Dixon, André Dubreuil, Danny Lane, Jon Mills and Deborah Thomas. Tom Dixon’s gestural wire chairs appear to show the shapes of traditional chairs decomposing away. The intricate Dressing Table by Mark Brazier-Jones replaces traditional hand-carved ornamentation precision machining.

I think the Accidents Will Happen part of the title isn’t that fitting of the show in the context of the time period. I see this fitting better with the rich experimental nature of the 80’s. This was the last decade free of the influence shadow cast by the internet and the beginning transition from an industrially driven society to a digital one. The individualistic energy of these pieces are refreshing compared with a lot of the category-bound design that’s done today.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter