Scholarly biography and interest

Dr Jüri Kermik completed his design education at the Royal College of Art in 1998. His doctoral research focused on the history of plywood technology in furniture design. In 2002 Kermik was invited to contribute to Setting Pretty 1 & 2, a touring exhibition organised by Northern Arts, AHRB and English Heritage, held at Belsay Hall, Northumberland, and at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2002 – 2003. The exhibition involved seating installations from an international group of designers including Karim Rashid, Eley Kishimoto, David Linley, Claudio Silvestrin and EOOS. Kermik’s installation of 16 ÄKSI chairs explored relationships between craft and industrial production.

In 2002 Jüri published a monograph developed from his doctorate thesis ‘A. M. Luther 1877-1940: The Innovation of Form Arising from the Material’. This publication presented the history of the world leading plywood and furniture manufacturer with a particular emphasis on design and plywood technology. The publication received the Annual Culture Award 2003 from the Estonian Government.

In 2003, following the publication of the Luther monograph, Jüri was invited to curate an exhibition to showcase the company’s design legacy at the Museum of Estonian Architecture. The exhibition (2004) featured 50 plywood chairs to illustrate the development of industrial processing techniques and ideas from early standardisation to the application of modernist design principles.

A continuing international presence founded on expertise in materials technology and experimental design applications is providing additional context for Jüri's research projects in ecological design. He was among 24 designers invited to the EcoDesign 2009 in Helsinki. Kermik’s exhibit Randwall Eco Chair was developed through the synthesis of traditional and contemporary materials and techniques. In 2010, a theme of ecological lighting was introduced by Ingo Maurer who was guest-curating the exhibition. Kermik was invited back to contribute as part of the international group of designers which included Karim Rashid, Barber & Osgerby and Jacques Toussaint. Kermik’s design Weight-Light explored gravity to devise a mechanical operation of the light as an object as well as an installation to animate the space with light and shadows.

Dr Jüri Kermik's PhD supervisory interests are in the areas of interdisciplinary design education, materials technology and design process development, spatial and furniture design. As part of his academic leadership and interest in the interdisciplinary design, Kermik has also evolved a research profile in design pedagogy and curriculum design. 

As part of his academic leadership and commitment to values of interdisciplinary design, Kermik has also evolved a research profile in design pedagogy and curriculum design. His contributions to the design education discourse include articles and conference papers (Hong-Kong, DesignEd Asia, 2012; Brussels, Knowing by Designing, 2013; Tallinn, Dynamics of Theory and Practice, 2014).

Jüri Kermik maintains his active design research practice which feeds into and informs his academic profile. He engages with live projects, design innovation workshops and external collaborative initiatives to frame and resolve particular design problems and challenges by bringing together teams of international students and researchers, interdisciplinary knowhow and industry expertise. Recent examples include an international collaborative project with SILO (Brighton, Food Matters, 2014), the zero waste restaurant business concept, and New Materials – New Products (Kyoto Design Lab, 2015). Kermik has been invited to contribute to learning and teaching events and master classes internationally such as Plywood Innovation (Tallinn – Berlin, 2004). 

How I like to teach

I'm a practitioner, researcher and an academic - listed in that particular order because of the way my career has evolved … designer - thinker - teacher. However, through my ongoing engagement with different layers, elements and forms of education I have noticed that these three have pretty much merged into one.

I see myself as somebody who enjoys working with students - inspiring and passing on knowledge about design and design methods. This supports reciprocally my own conceptual development and growth, and my ability to articulate and refine the techniques I'm using as my design tools.

Because I’ve been involved in different types of design and craft education in different parts of the country, and internationally, I've been able to explore and experiment with different techniques and collaborative dynamics of teaching and learning. This includes working with different disciplinary cluster combinations, student and age groups.

Panorama of design studio and students taught by Jyri Kermik 

Behind that, hands-on and direct experience of the intensive project-based teaching has grown into something else which interests me: How does curriculum work? What is the structure and what is the system of education? Part of my research currently is to do with the shape of the curriculum, particularly in design.

But [as a practitioner] I still want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of designing and making, and increasingly I enjoy working with particular projects, which are very much defined areas of engagement with a certain length, size of student group.

Work within projects - each in very particular environments - means working in an intensive, immediate and direct way, working to a particular output type. These situations are really demanding but at the same time give you so much back. The collaborative element is such that we learn much more intensively. This brings new insights and discoveries, adding extra happiness and satisfaction to what we aspire to do in academia.

Featured works and projects

Randwall Eco Chair

Jüri Kermik was one of 24 international designers invited to join Finnish furniture designers to contribute to the EcoDesign 09 Exhibition in Helsinki

StandPoint

Multifunctional sustainable design

Weight-Light

Functioning as a self-contained lighting system the Weight-Light lamp produces its own energy to generate light

PlyFlax

Ecological material research and chair design

2 Ãksi chairs

The ÄKSI chair project

The Latvian chair has a potential and historic presence which continues to intrigue and challenge designers to develop new interpretations.

The History of Plywood

This study looked at the activities of A.M. Luther Woodworking Company of Estonia in the context of the regional and international plywood industry.

Research activity 

Repository holdings 

Number of items: 11.

Kermik, Jyri (2015) Thinking and Making Design Futures SISU-LINE, The Journal of Interior Architecture, 1 (1). pp. 68-91. ISSN 2382-9397

Kermik, Jyri (2013) Product Design In: Pelcl, Jiri, ed. DESIGN: Od myšlenky k návrhu: From idea towards realization. The Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague. ISBN 9788086863450

Kermik, Jyri (2012) Design and craft - a changing relationship at the heart of design education In: Design Education Asia Conference 2012, Hong Kong Design Institute, 4-5 December 2012.

Kermik, Jüri (2012) Bowler Hat Dialogues - Design and Circumstance In: Jüri Kermik, Bowler Hat Dialogues - Design and Czech Design – Independent, Free and Democratic?, 20 January 2012, Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, Brighton, UK. (Unpublished)

Kermik, Jyri (2012) A changing world and design education MAJA: Estonian Architectural Review, 71 (1). pp. 22-25. ISSN 1023-0742

Kermik, Jüri (2012) PlyFlax (working title) [Artefact]

Kermik, Jyri (2011) Novelty, examples of innovation from XX and XXI century Estonian design; IF: European Innovation Festival, 2011 [Exhibition]

Kermik, Jüri (2011) StandPoint [Artefact]

Kermik, Jüri (2010) Weight-Light [Artefact]

Kermik, Jüri (2009) Randwall Eco Chair, birch plywood and recycled plastic [Artefact]

Kermik, Jüri (2002) A. M. Luther 1877-1940: Materjalist võrsunud vormiuuendus Sild. ISBN 9985939883

This list was generated on Wed Sep 13 23:01:10 2017 BST.

Further professional and research activities

2015

  • Journal Article, ‘Thinking and Making Design Futures’, Dynamics of Theory and Practice, SISU-LINE, The Journal of Interior Architecture, No 1, Tallinn
  • ‘New Materials, New Products’, design innovation research and upcycling workshop,
  • Kyoto Design Lab (Kyoto Institute of Technology)

2014

  • Conference paper ‘Thinking and Making Design Futures’, Dynamics of Theory and Practice Conference, Tallinn

2013 

  • Conference paper, DesignEd Asia, Hong Kong [Taylor, Kermik, Peralta: Designing Design Futures]
  • Conference paper, Knowing (by) Designing [Kermik, Brooker, Magnusson, Wilson, Design Futures: The Grid – A Transdisciplinary Education] 

2012

  • Changing Relationship at the Heart of Design Education]
  • Conference paper, Czech Design – Independent, Free and Democratic, Brighton [Kermik, Bowler Hat Dialogues - Design and Circumstance
  • Book chapter ‘Product’, in (ed J. Pelcl) DESIGN: Od myšlenky k návrhu: From idea towards realization, Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture, Prague.
  • 'Plyflax', design innovation development, EcoDesign 2012, project & exhibition, invited international contributor to the ecological design exhibition, Helsinki, Sep 2012 

2011

  • 'StandPoint' design innovation development, EcoDesign 2011, project & exhibition, invited international contributor to the ecological design exhibition, Helsinki, Sep 2011

2010

  • Inter-cultural Chair Project, project leader with a responsibility to formulate research questions and themes for the collaborative research project between University of Brighton and Nagoya University of Arts, project launched in Brighton in Oct 2010
  • ‘Weight-Light’, design innovation development, EcoDesign 2010, project & exhibition, invited international contributor to the ecological lighting exhibition, Helsinki, Sep 2010

2009

  • Initiator-member of SCFI (South Coast Furniture Initiative), Oct 2009
  • ‘Randwall Eco Chair’, design development, materials testing and prototyping, EcoDesign 2010, Project & Exhibition, invited international contributor to the ecological chair design exhibition, Helsinki, Aug 2008 – Sep 2009
  • Lecture and masterclass: ‘Plywood Innovation’, Academy of Arts, Tallinn, April – May 2009

2006

  • Kermik, J, Never Too Close, Two Close Ones, conference paper, Tallinn International Applied Art Triennial Society, 2006, ISBN 9949-13-486-2
  • Kermik, J, Desirable Qualities of Things, MAJA (ISSN 1023-0742), 2 – 2006, pp 14-15. Review of the International Applied Art Triennial 2006 exhibition for the Estonian Architectural Review

2004

  • Kermik, J, The Luther Factory: Plywood and Furniture, Tallinn: The Museum of Estonian Architecture, 2004, ISBN 9985-9400-7-5

2002

  • Kermik, J, A M Luther 1877-1940: Materjalist võrsunud vormiuuendus (The innovation of form arising from the material), Tallinn: Sild, 2002, ISBN 9985-9398-8-3

2001

  • Kermik, J., Taidehalli – around and about, essay in I. Helkama (ed) Helsinki Interiors, Helsinki: Rakennustieto OY, 1996

Exhibitions

2012

  • Designing with Wood from Sustainable Resources, EcoDesign 2012, Project ‘Woven Wind’, invited international contributor, Helsinki
  • ‘Design Embassies, Common Roots: Design Map of Central Europe’, Holon Design Museum, Jerusalem.

2011

  • Design Innovation: Novelty, Estonian Museum of Design and Applied Arts
(selection of designs included in the permanent collection of the Estonian Museum of Design and Applied Arts)
  • Multifunction, EcoDesign 2011, curated by Konstantin Grcic, Project ‘StandPoint’, invited international contributor, Helsinki

2010

  • Ecological Lighting, EcoDesign 2010, curated by Ingo Maurer, Project ‘Weight-Light’, invited international contributor to the ecological lighting design exhibition, Helsinki

2009

  • EcoDesign 2009, curated by Yrjö Kukkapuro, Project & Exhibition, invited international contributor to the ecological chair design exhibition, Helsinki, Aug 2008 – Sep 2009
  • Faculty of Arts 150th Anniversary Exhibition, University of Brighton

2007

  • 2+2 Exhibition (J. Kermik + R. Kermik, J. Kermik, L. Kermik & J. Wilson), Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn, April-May 2007

2004

  • Curatorship of the Exhibition ‘The Luther Factory - Plywood and Furniture’, The Estonian Museum of Architecture, Tallinn

2002

  • Setting Pretty 1 & 2, Belsay Hall, Northumberland and Sainsbury Visual Arts Centre, Norwich

Conference Papers

2013: Knowing (by) Designing [Kermik, Brooker, Magnusson, Wilson, Design Futures: The Grid – A Transdisciplinary Education]

2012: DesignEd Asia, Hong Kong [Kermik, Design and Craft – A Changing Relationship at the Heart of Design Education]

Consultancy and masterclasses

Since 2004, Dr Jüri Kermik has been invited to take on lecturing and consultancy roles in the higher education where advice has been sought on academic review, validation and curriculum development.

2015

Ravensbourne, BA(Hons) Architecture & BA(Hons)Interior Design Environment Architectures (IDEAs), member of the validation panel

2010

KLC – International Interior Design Programme – member of the validation panel

2009

MA Design, Estonian Art Academy: Masterclasses in Plywood Innovation with Prof Masayo Ave (Tallinn-Berlin)

2004

Estonian Art Academy – Design Programmes: curriculum development

External examiner

  • 2014: PhD thesis external examiner, Design Education and Bauhaus, University of Tallinn
  • 2012 - 2015: 3D Design, BA(Hons), Manchester Metropolitan University
  • 2009: PhD thesis external examiner, University of Sheffield

Exhibitions 

Selection of works in museum collections and invited participation in major exhibitions

2012

Common Roots: Design Map of Central Europe, Holon Design Museum, Jerusalem

2011

Design Innovation: Novelty, Estonian Museum of Design and Applied Arts
Selection of designs included in the permanent collection of the Estonian Museum of Design and Applied Arts.

2010

Invited participation in the EcoDesign Exhibition, Helsinki

2009

Invited participation in the EcoDesign Exhibition, Helsinki

Grants and awards

2004

University of Brighton, Faculty Research Support Fund, grant for the development of the A. M. Luther exhibition in the Museum of Architecture, Tallinn

2003

Research grant from the Estonian Cultural Endowment, for the preparation of the A. M. Luther exhibition in the Museum of Architecture, Tallinn

2002

  • E. Pütsep Memorial Research Award, Sweden, for the monograph of A. M. Luther
  • Estonian Designers’ Annual Award, for 'Best Design Research Publication'
  • Architectural Foundation, Estonian Cultural Endowment Annual Award, for the monograph of A. M. Luther
  • Nomination for the Annual Award of the Estonian History Society, for archive-based research publication
  • Estonian National Culture Award, for the monograph of A. M. Luther

1994

British Steel Melchett Award, for the innovative use of steel in furniture design, Royal College of Art

1993

Darwin Scholarship, Royal College of Art

Juries, Committees, Editorial Boards

2013: Invited to join the DesignEd Asia Conference Review Committee, Hong Kong

Citations and reviews

Jüri Kermik’s practice-based and research work has been exhibited, published and reviewed nationally and internationally.

Ecological Lighting Design Exhibition, Helsinki, EcoDesign 2010

‘According to Ingo Maurer (curator of the exhibition) the overall quality of the EcoDesign exhibition with nearly one hundred exhibits was high and there was no lack of courageous innovative designs. For example, Dutch Joris Laarman’s Half Life – with its light source from a hamster’s ovary cell enriched with the fire fly’s luciferase gene and Estonian Jüri Kermik’s Weight-Light which utilises the gravity of two rocks to engage with a generator to produce light. One of the rocks is sourced from Saaremaa where Kermik was born and the other from Brighton where he now lives.’

(Eeva-Liisa Kiviniemi, ‘Light: The Highlight of Habitare’, Aamulehti – Finnish National Newspaper, 4 September 2010)

The 150th Anniversary Exhibition, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton, 2009

‘But if you’d asked this (What do you make?) of a student of the original Bauhaus in the 1920s, he or she would have replied: I make things, and I make them very well. If you ask this of a student at our new Bauhaus, he or she would probably say: I make a difference. And they’d be right. From Design and Craft to Design and Culture. This convergence is illustrated in the 150th anniversary exhibition by Naylor & Bell’s Polypropagate, Jüri Kermik’s Randwall Chair, the Sex Pistols Box Set and Julien Macdonald’s glamorous crystal dress.’

(Sir Christopher Frayling, ‘The New Bauhaus’, Art and Design Education for the 21st Century, Brighton University, February 2009)

The exhibition curatorship, ‘Luther Factory: Plywood and Furniture’, Tallinn: The Museum of Estonian Architecture, 2004

‘This is a useful and descriptive insight into radically transformed living environment of the early years of the last modernist century, which saw new types of minimum dwelling and efficiently organised offices, with changing attitudes towards spatial relationships and requirements for inexpensive and lightweight furniture products.’

(Ojari, T., ‘Furniture for everyone’, Eesti Päevaleht - Estonian National Newspaper], 19 June 2004)

ÄKSI Chair

‘Kermik has created a sign in its own way… It is a clear example of the tiny but essential dislocation that separates primitivity from genius. It is an example of the opportunities that the concentration and elaboration of an idea conceal within themselves.’

(Pärn M., [Prof Design, Estonian Art Academy], ‘A Letter from Pre-Design Estonia’, MAJA - Estonian Architectural Review, 1-2003)

ÄKSI chair installation, 'Setting Pretty 1 & 2', exhibition organised by Northern Arts, AHRB and English Heritage at Belsay Hall, Northumberland and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2002 – 2003

‘It is a rare thing to find an interactive exhibition of contemporary design, particularly concerning chairs … Definitive highlights include Jüri Kermik’s installation of 16 ÄKSI chairs and the imposing minimalism of Claudio Silvestrin’s G.A Chair.’


(Bhaskaran, L., 'Sitting Targets', Blueprint, August 2002)

‘Kermik has taken a traditional chair and reinvented it. Called ÄKSI, after an Estonian village, he makes the same design using various combinations of materials: timber, plywood, sheet metal, rubber, nylon string. The results are beautiful – each one the same but different, reinforcing the nature of craft production but updating it. And, like the exhibition itself, they prove that there’s more to heritage than meets the eye.’


(Rattray, F., ‘Country Seat’, The Independent Magazine – Design, 25 May 2002)

A. M. Luther 1877-1940. Materjalist võrsunud vormiuuendus (The innovation of form arising from the material), Tallinn: Sild, 2002

‘The A. M. Luther Factory reached the production of furniture which was informed by modernist aesthetics by the 1930s – as was the case with most large scale manufacturers in their field. The description of this journey forms the most original part of Kermik’s book and namely this is where he makes his contribution to Estonian and International design history discourse.’


(Kodres, K., Areen – Culture Supplement of the Estonian National Newspaper, 19 September 2002)

ON-Chair, Avarte, Finland, 1990-95

‘Kermik considers that there is a constant dialectical relationship between problems and their possible solutions. The ON-chair is a product of notable quality, both for its careful finish and its good aesthetic taste.’


(Cerver, F. A. [ed], ‘European Masters’, Ediciones Atrium SA, 1991)

Reviews

Paulus, K., ‘Common Nominator – Kermik & Design’, Areen, Ekspress, 19 April 2007
Alari, A., 'The Legendary Luther Factory', Lennuk: Journal of the British Estonian Association, Volume 1/7 2005-6
         
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