I went to the London Design Museum last week, and you can see by the picture below I really chose the best day to go – I mean, everyone loves forgetting an umbrella on the one day of the week it rains right? I had seen posters for the Women Fashion Power exhibition, and I’d heard a lot about the Design Museum being good, so I decided to take a look. The entry price is a bit steep, at about £12 without any concessions, but if you’re passionate about design, I would definitely recommend it. When I went there were two main exhibtions on, the Women Fashion Power and the Designers In Residence 2014, who had worked with the theme of Disruption.
The Women Fashion Power, curated by Donna Loveday, was really interesting. I’m no boffin about fashion design, but it crazy interesting to see how fashion has evolved over time, and the displays took you from corsets to mini skirts, feauturing pictures, videos and pieces of clothing on display. The exhibition looked at how power dressing meant different things at different times, and how women’s fashion evolved from dressing for men to dressing to show individuality and empowerment. My favorite item was an amazing coat which I don’t have a photo of (bad lighting) but was absolutely incredible, with black feathered wing-like elements and strips of fabric that created the main bodice. It was worn by Skin, Musician and lead vocalist of Skunk Anansie and I believe it was designed by Kek0 Halinswhede (?) but I might be wrong. There was an interesting look at how power dressing has changed over the years, from Boudicca and Cleopatra, to Michelle Obama, to name a few of the examples looked at. I found it such a good exhibtion, and it’s on until 26 April 2015, so if you’re in London you should go and check it out!
“Clothes must be architectural, body must not be forgotten and must be used as a frame is used in a building” – Elsa Schiaparelli
Upstairs there were two exhibtions. The first one, Collections lab was smaller, and took a look at design in everyday life. It looked at the development of things like computer and the designs of tea pots. It also featured designs that were being created to fufill purposes, like a chair designed for the classroom which was designed to support the back and allow for comfort but also increase concentration levels. I particulary liked the calender pictured below, which is called the Imbroglio Calender, by Jean-Pierre Vitrae, and it appears a random pattern until the viewfinder is placed over the number to reveal the date. It was really simple, but effective. The 2012 London Olympic torch that was run through the streets by the runners was on diplay as well, as well as details on how it was designed and made, amongst other things.
The Designers in Residence 2014 exhibition was amazing. There were four designer’s work on display, and each showed a very different and interesting look at design.
- Torsten Sherwood created a building tool made of cardboard – a shape that fitted together in a so many ways that it was possible to create flat planes, corners and build quite substantial structures out of cicles of cardboard. His display was very interactive, and you had the chance to build your own structure, whether it was a chair or an entire fortress.
- Patrick Stevenson-Keating created probably my favorite exhibtion, idea-wise. The designs involved a fictional Reciprociti Bank that had all sort of different and obscure ideas. The ideas ranged from a Weight Loss Current Account, an account to help you lose pounds and another that offered Social Media Insurance. I loved the card designs which had bank cards of all different designs and shapes to allow you to pay in different pays – one being a very long ruler-like card, with monetary amounts displayed where the measurments on a ruler would go, with the idea being that you would insert the card up to the amount that you wanted to pay instead of entering the number into the machine manually. The ideas were all a bit crazy and unrealistic to implement, but they were still pretty amazing.
- Ilona Gaynor looked at the staging and inner workings of court rooms, which led to some interesting film set/court room cross over models and amazing photographs – these all looked, as explained by the curator, Pollyanna Clayton Smith, at “a conspiracy to highlight loopholes in our judicial system.”
- James Christian looked at a new approach to a failed housing system. He created beautiful 3D printed houses and street facades, that are designed to fit into dilapidated and empty areas of a city. He looked at where other building plans had failed and designed two designs that would fit into areas like these where normal buildings have been condemmed. I loved the idea that the buildings would be created minimally, with the outside built to fit in with the surrounding buildinds but the insides left as empty as possible, to be completely customised by the occupants. As part of the exhibtion the models on the display will be added to, to recreate the fake lives of some people and how they would customise their lives.
The Designers In Residence exhibtion is on until 8 March 2015. I would definitely recommend taking a look if you have a chance. Also, if nothing else, the Design Museum has the most amazing shop, featuring loads of books on design and so many items designed by some great designers. It took a look of will power not to hand over my card and buy the shop!
“I’m interested in looking for design inspiration in the wrong places. I think that’s innately disruptive.” – James Christian