Friday, July 6, 2012

Designing Britain

More meetings in the morning, then off to the V&A to see the big British Design exhibition, which we've been hoping will come to China, but that's another story...
It's impressive, from one Olympics to another with 64 years of cultural history in-between: the Festival of Britain, architecture & new towns, graphic design, fashion, Concorde, E-types and Minis... and, stretching it a bit: ads, music videos, computer games and interactive installations by the likes of Troika and UVA. 
In the 50s and 60s much of the stuff was made in Britain - in our home we had a Martyn Rowlands Deltaphone (1963), a Kenwood Chefette food mixer by Kenneth Grange (1966) and tableware by David Harman Powell (1968) - but the UK's manufacturing industry has of course largely disappeared, though the creative ideas haven't. 
One of the most recent things was Thomas Heatherwick's UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, which made a nice link to his own exhibition, Designing the Extraordinary, also on at the V&A. It was a bit cluttered but was pretty inspiring stuff, down to the ingenious crank-the-handle printed guide.
Hopped onto a Boris bike to see the Serpentine Pavilion by Herzog & De Meuron and Ai Weiwei which was a bit underwhelming, and then cycled through the West End (a joy, really) to meet Peter & Julie - equally enjoyable. 

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