Gruppe Pentagon, Café „Casino“, documenta 8, 1987, © Picture: Bernhard Schaub

Pentagon: Design or not? Exhibition in Cologne

The Gruppe Pentagon (the Pentagon Group), founded in1985, was a fundamental part of the Neues deutsches Design (New German Design) movement of the 1980s and 1990s, which is now recognised as a truly innovative development in design history. The thinking was postmodern; the aim was to revolutionise the functional understanding of design, and to build a bridge to music and art. In order to be recognised as the complete opposite of then-current design solutions, Pentagon’s furniture designs and interior solutions appeared to be deliberately harsh, sometimes even brutal. Their preferred materials were steel and plexiglass, which they combined with stone, rubber or leather, and also with items used in every-day life. In 1987 the group was invited to participate in the documenta 8 exhibition, for which they designed and furnished the legendary Café Casino. When New German Design was superseded by other approaches to design, Gerd Arens, Wolfgang Laubersheimer, Detlef Meyer-Voggenreiter, Reinhard Müller and Ralph Sommer looked for new challenges elsewhere. To coincide with the imm Cologne trade fair and Passagen Interior Design Week, the MAKK is exhibiting the first ever retrospective for the group, under the title Design Gruppe Pentagon” – on display from 13 January to 26 April. This exhibition places furniture and objects, and also the Group’s approach to design, in the context of their time, and takes a look at their subsequent influence.

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