Twenty-five years ago, Sir Terence Conran founded the Design Museum in London in hopes of encouraging everyone, no matter what his or her background, to appreciate the value of design. Now, the museum is set to celebrate this milestone with the opening of a new space and a series of exhibitions.
Design Museum London
Committed to exploring contemporary design and architecture, the Museum’s exhibitions and learning programs have celebrated recognized and emerging designers and nurtured new talent.
With the new Design Museum due to open in late 2015 at the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, creative innovators who have been involved with the Museum since its founding will be returning to talk about developing trends and the future of design. They include: Alberto Alessi, Ricky Burdett, Peter Cook, Rolf Fehlbaum, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick, Jacques Herzog, Brent Hoberman, Jonathan Ive, Martha Lane Fox, Amanda Levete, Ross Lovegrove, Javier Marsical, Morag Myerscough, Marc Newson, Peter Saville, Paul Smith and Alan Yentob.
From left: Thomas Heatherwick and Alberto Alessi (photo courtesy of the NY Times)
The speakers will reflect on what is next for design, as well as on the past 25 years in their field, be it interiors, fashion, product, technology or architecture.
The 2014 schedule of exhibitions is as follows:
In the Making, January 22 – May 4
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, award-winning designers of the London 2012 Olympic torch, have always had a technical curiosity and fascination in the making process. This exhibition draws on their interest, exploring the aesthetic of the unfinished and presenting objects mid manufacture. Barber and Osgerby have selected products that have an intriguing beauty or unexpected quality before assuming their final form. The show highlights the designers’ in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing process and how this can influence and inspire. This exhibition is guest curated by Edward.
Designs of the Year, March 26 – June 22
Now in its seventh year, this pioneering international award and exhibition celebrates design across seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Transport and Product. Shortlisted nominations are displayed at the Design Museum and a high profile judging panel decide a winner in each of the categories with one overall winner to be crowned Design of the Year 2014. A new public vote was launched last year and proved so popular that it will be repeated. Category award winners and the overall winner will be announced in May 2014.
Daniel Weil: The Art of Design, May 14 – August 31
Thirty-five years ago, Daniel Weil arrived from his native Argentina to study design at the Royal College of Art. His reaction to political and post-industrial freedom produced the seminal Bag Radio in 1981, followed by a continuous series of inventive objects, products and interiors. This exhibition focuses on the process of design, about how designers think and work. Weil, longstanding partner at Pentagram, former RCA professor of Industrial Design and Memphis participant, presents his experience and philosophy of design practice as a manifesto of “actions for designers,” exploring how Weil interprets sources, chooses projects, uses color and creates form.
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, July 9 – October 12
The American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the twentieth-century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism. This exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films. All of Kahn’s important projects are extensively documented from his early urban planning concepts and single-family houses to monumental late works such as the Roosevelt Memorial (1973-74), which was posthumously completed in October 2012. Highlights of the exhibition include a four-meter-high model of the spectacular City Tower designed for Philadelphia (1952-57), as well as previously unseen film footage shot by Kahn’s son Nathaniel Kahn, director of the film “My Architect.”
Designers in Residence, September 10 – February 1
The Design Museum’s annual Designers in Residence program provides a platform to celebrate emerging designers at an early stage in their career. Now in its seventh year, Designers in Residence is a core part of the exhibition calendar, demonstrating the Design Museum’s commitment to support and encourage new design talent. Recent alumni have included Giles Miller, Asif Khan, Bethan Laura Wood and Simon Hasan. The program offers the designers the opportunity to interact and engage with the design and business community, using this platform to test-bed ideas, innovations and future projects.
Women Fashion Power: A Celebration of Exceptional Women, October 29 – May 2015
A major exhibition exploring the politics of dressing for power and success, the show presents exceptional women on the world stage and their wardrobes, to show how fashion can be used as a powerful tool to build reputation, enhance careers and express modernity. Women that see clothes not as a frivolous indulgence, but as an important way to attract attention, announce presence, assert authority and guarantee notoriety. The exhibition will feature contemporary women working in politics, business, the creative arts and fashion from around the world, as well as looking back at influential women through history. Archive footage, interviews and photographs reveals each woman’s love of fashion, their favorite designers and stand out fashion moments. The exhibition is co-curated by Colin McDowell, one of the fashion industry’s most respected commentators, and Donna Loveday, head of curatorial at the Design Museum. The women to be featured in the exhibition will be announced in spring 2014.