The Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture exhibition CARGO CULT presents 10 containers and storage units by 19 furniture design master students designed for precious personal belongings and made out of various materials, including wood, steel, glass and stone. This exercise allows the students to practice the art of composition with surfaces and volumes and the construction of the storage furniture out of rigid sheet materials. It also requires careful study of the articulation between the supporting and supported elements of furniture. The prototypes have been made by the students themselves with the help of Aalto University workshop masters.
The task of designing and making a container for valuable personal belongings reminds us of the Melanesian “cargo cult”. According to received scholarships the post-colonial islanders believed that western manufactured goods could be received if the conditions of reception – such as airfields, harbours, radio-receivers, etc. – were right. In the same spirit you might believe that by constructing containers for storing valuable goods the “cargo” might arrive somehow from somewhere. How and where, we do not know. This is because the origin and the method of production of the western goods is obscure and difficult to retrace. Ultimately, furniture design as material culture is based on a belief that by improving the quality of our material goods we can affect our situation and attain a good life and happiness.
Martin Relander, Lecturer