Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Design Museum London

My place of work conveniently closes down for two weeks at Christmas time, traditionally from the weekend before Christmas to the weekend after New Year. It gives everyone a chance to unwind properly, breathe deeply, safe in the knowledge that other organisations we collborate with may be open but not really functioning. So anyway, this year I decided to be a London tourist once again and made a list of museums and interesting places I wanted to visit/re-visit. First up was the Design museum.

On a cloudy December morning 2 friends and I set off for the Design Museum. It's location is perfect - a few minutes walk from the magnificant Tower Bridge, nestled among very swanky building, this white box-like building is home to design in London in its many forms. It's a rather compact museum spread over 2 floors (+ the ground floor which house the cafe, reception and shop) and was showcasing the design of Mark Newson. His design is mainly futuristic, sleek with clean, bold colours and lines. The more functional designs were appealing (like Nike shoes, watches, chairs)but others were just plain bizzarre (Kelvin 40 - a plane of some kind). Overall appealing but not extraordinary.

The second floor had an exhibit on car design and another on seating through the years. The car design exhibit was appallingly small and not at all well thought through - they had just bought different (mainly vintage) cars and lined them up. The seating exhibition was also disappointing in its application (looked more like a furniture stall) although the variety of chairs was admitedly wide.

The last exhibit made all the other mediocrity seem worth getting through - Under a Tenner. This exhibition featured what 14 different people, all from different parts of the world, had picked as good design costing under £10. Not only was the idea brilliant, it was well executed and a joy to go through. What amazing things people had picked - chopsticks, steamers, egg cups....The public was invited to join the fray by commention on the collectors choice and add their own examples of good design to a post-it note wall. Sadly, this exhibit is only on till the 27th of February 2005. It is a gem of an exhibition and happily made design seem less lofty and formidable, more approachable and it's understanding so within the layman's grasp.

It was a good choice of museum to begin the holiday with....

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