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London’s New Design Museum ...

6th July, 2017 by Katie

London's Design Museum has moved to a new location right next to Holland Park in Kensington. The £83 million transformation of the old Commonwealth Institute building was led by interior designer John Pawson and Dutch architecture company OMA. It’s now an impressive structure, extremely open with a unique ceiling and a huge colourful piece on the top floor that rotates between the words ‘Designer’ ‘Maker’ ‘User’ – the name of the free, permanent exhibition there.

The ‘Designer Maker User’ exhibition starts with an impressive (and almost unsettling) wall display of items varying from original Braun Radios and heavy typewriters to large wall clocks, all scaling down to the central object – an iPhone – illustrating that ALL of those previously substantial items can now be accessed from your tiny device.

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The exhibition goes on to display design from engineering to graphic, including the nostalgic evolution of iconic identities like Apple and Braun. It aims to showcase the development of modern design through the necessary connection between the designer, user and maker. There was a huge quote on the wall by El Lissitzky which read ‘The words on a printed surface are taken in by seeing, not by hearing’, acknowledging a designers typographic choice and the user’s interaction with it. The designer’s thought process gets the ball rolling on a new venture, then the maker manufactures the design (we were shown the stages of creation such as that of a tennis ball). Finally the user engages with the end product, for example the London Underground map. It’s the combination of these three that determines the success of the item.

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Another wall that sat just outside the permanent exhibition space was crowdsourced. The general public chose more than 200 items that they felt were the most important to be featured – these ranged from a jar of Marmite to a pair of flip-flops to a plastic garden chair. It was the successful combination of their design, creation and usability that led to them becoming iconic items for the general public.
We had time to quickly pop into the ‘Cartier in Motion’ exhibition. This was a delve into the archives, hidden research and work of the designers at Cartier – including the introduction of the modern wristwatch and the evolution of society at the turn of the 20th Century. I don’t want to give the contents of the exhibition away too much as it’s quite spectacular and filled with some incredible Cartier pieces, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you have a chance! (On until the the 28 July).
I certainly intend to go back!

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