Tag: On Design

Studio Sudi Installation

Designersblock 15

Reviews/Reports 23.09.12

Studio Sudi Installation

Studio Sudi Installation

Studio Sudi Installation

Studio Sudi Installation

Coir & reclaimed timber hexagonal flooring tiles

Coir fibre and reclaimed timber floor tiles

Fauzy Prasetya Terracotta Ceramics

Fauzy Prasetya Ceramics

Esther Khang Tiles

Esther Khang

Mai Hirooka Ceramics

Mai Hirooka

Tortie Hoare boiled leather & wood desk

Tortie Hoare

Yi Ying Lin Stalactites

Kingston Graduate Yi Ying Lin

Bodging Milano 2 Installation

Bodging Milano 2

Koji Katsuragi greenwood chair

Koji Katsuragi

British Design

Reviews/Reports 27.05.12

1951 Festival of Britain Poster

As news breaks that the UK economy is now officially back in recession, and London continues to build towards the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, the V&A’s new exhibition, ‘British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age’ seems all the more timely. The exhibition takes as its start the 1948 ‘Austerity Games’, an Olympics held in London under the shadow of the post-WWII reconstruction, closely followed by the 1951 Festival of Britain, and the 1953 Coronation. Indeed, designs from great events staged under difficult economic circumstances bookend the exhibition. An equally strong thread, though, is the ongoing tension between a relentless drive towards modernity, and a deeply embedded desire to celebrate British traditions.

The Font at Coventry Cathedral
The Font at Coventry Cathedral, Backed by a window by John Piper, a model of which features in the V&A Exhibition.

Channelling this drive towards modernity, embodying the reconstruction architect par excellence, and consequently featuring heavily in the first sections of the show, is Sir Basil Spence. Spence’s masterwork, which propelled him to international prominence, was his new design for the destroyed Coventry Cathedral, and the V&A show includes some beautiful pieces of work from the project, including several maquettes and drawings for stained glass, furniture, tapestries and objects. These serve, beautifully, to illustrate Spence’s success in assembling an incredible orchestra of contemporary artists, designers and craftspeople to fulfill his vision for a cathedral which would stand, beside a ruin symbolising the sacrifice, as a twin symbol of the resurrection.

Preliminary sketch of the Sea & Ships Pavilion, 1949
Preliminary Sketches for the Sea and Ships Pavilion, Sir Basil Spence, 1949.

Another featured project which benefited from Spence’s oversight was the 1951 Festival of Britain. A surviving scale model of his Sea and Ships Pavilion illustrates further his use of contemporary art and design in harmony with architecture to fully realise rich and multi-layered projects.

Trimphone, Martyn Rowlands, 1965 (one of which occupies pride of place in the Maynard studio).

While the explosion of modernity during the reconstruction provides an inspiring beginning to the show, it doesn’t drop off from there. The narrative winds through the decades, brilliantly illustrating the life and times of Britons through fashion, furniture, architecture, jewellery, products & media. On exiting the show I felt that I had not only been afforded a close-up view of an incredible amount of design eye-candy, but had also been given a greater understanding of the connecting tissue between the discrete styles under which design is so often categorised.

British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
31 March – 12 August 2012
Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington


Review written for Maynard Design Consultancy under the title ‘British Design at the V&A’ in April 2012. http://www.maynard-design.com/blog/british-design/


Work 21.05.10

Cotton Knit, Bronze Wire.
Quotidian Exhibition Text:

My relationship with objects is a fraught one, as around them I am almost always distracted.  Take carpet for instance. We commonly lay this form of cloth at our feet and after a lifetime of daily engagement with this quotidian object, as a designer I now begin to reconsider the role of carpet in my life.

The writer Angeli Sachs argues that in times of societal crisis, design begins to reflect a stronger link with the natural world. Sachs contends that “forms inspired by nature become topical when modern society finds itself in crisis”1 and then suggests “the use of organic forms is intended to bring about harmonization and reconciliation with an external world perceived as inhospitable or hostile.” I am intrigued by the automatic correlation Sachs makes between organic forms and historical crisis points. In contrast to Sachs’ statements however, what I regularly see occurring around me – particularly in response to the current economic and ecological crises – is a tendency towards ‘distraction’ rather than as Sachs’ statement implies, a collective yearning for the pastoral. My feeling is simply that we furnish our houses with carpet, rugs, drapes and throws to distract ourselves from the external world. To this end, something that fascinates me as a designer is the deliberate use of textile to function as both a buffer and a distraction inside the home. The use and manipulation of textiles is a growing interest both personally and within my practice. I am particularly interested in investigating production techniques and capabilities. My most recent work, the Cut and Sew Lamp, for instance attempts to replicate and exaggerate this idea of distraction, mimicking the soft ‘reconciliation’ of the carpet in the gentle bell curvature of the frame and the ease of the draping fabric. An additional ‘distraction’ is that these lamps can be manipulated in length to become, like our carpet choices, more – or less – obtrusive in the domestic environment.

1.Angeli Sachs, Paradise Lost? Contemporary Strategies of Nature Design, From Inspiration to Innovation Nature Design, ed. Angeli Sachs, Lars Muller Publishers, Zurich, 2007. (pp266)


Reviews/Reports 10.05.10

Chuffed to be participating in this show, curated by Matt Blomeley for Objectspace.

From the press release:

“Quotidian (def: everyday, commonplace) invites 11 New Zealand designers to talk about examples of everyday design, uncovering how design ideas are recycled, leveraged, refined and can in turn inspire new design. Using the exhibition as a forum for designers to think globally while advancing local design discourse, each participant will showcase an everyday design object alongside an object of their own design and write about their understandings – and discoveries – brought about through considering the vices and virtues of “everyday” objects.”

Jamie Mclellan at Objectspace

Reviews/Reports 24.11.09

Twig Coatstand by Jamie Mclellan, image credit Flash Studios.

I recently finished working with Matt Blomeley to set up an exhibition for Jamie Mclellan in the Vault at Objectspace gallery.  The show features some of his work for Tom Dixon as well as recent work for Fletcher Systems and Simon James’ new label Resident.

From The Media Release:

Designer Jamie McLellan says “over the years I have learned to live with and celebrate my inner engineer. More and more I am finding the beauty of an object lies in its engineering, how it’s put together. I find both a purity in exposing this and at the same time a higher a level of detail being possible without the need for anything superflous.”

More here: Offshore: Jamie Mclellan

What: Offshore: Jamie McLellan
Where: Objectspace, 8 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland.
When: Exhibition runs until 19 December 2009.
Gallery hours: Tues – Sat, 10am – 5pm. Free admission.