Saturday, 21 April 2012

Out & About: British Design 1948-2012 at the V&A

Last week I popped along to the V&A to check out their new British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age Exhibition.

It's an "homage to the creative spirit of Britain's design story over the past 60 years. Using the 1948 London ‘Austerity Olympics’ (the scaled-back post war games) as its starting hook, the show's buoyant, can-do attitude echoes the spirit of current Olympic anticipation.

This is the first time the subject of British post-war design and art has been tackled on such a scale. The narrative, bolstered by over 350 objects (250 harvested from the V&A’s archive collection) looks at some of the country's key design innovations, spanning everything from fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography and ceramics, to architecture and industrial products."

Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take photos while in the exhibition so I'll have to make do with ones borrowed from le interwebs.

On that note, before I continue - I think it's horribly archaic to ban photos from exhibitions these days. SLRs, ok, fine, I can understand because of copying/copyright issues as they are such high res, but tiny digitals and camera phones? Please. This is the age of the internet, of sharing, and the way in which the exhibition staff pounced on me as I got my phone out of my pocket was disgusting. "You can't take photos!!!" they yelled (loudly) "Yes, I know, I'm texting...?" (which I actually was) "Yes, well, you can't take photos in here!" What the actual frog? Seriously. It made me extremely uncomfortable. Most people have blogs or tumblrs these days, and want to post their thoughts on exhibitions etc - it's not 'revenue protection', it's out of touch and it's wrong.

So anyway, the exhibition starts in 1948, just after the war and before the coronation of Elizabeth II and the Festival of Britain. It continues chronologically, depicting most major British design successes in a fairly comprehensible layout.

 Ah, David Bowie. How we love thee.

The punk era section was one of my favourites I think. As was the Factory Records/Hacienda-esque corner, too. Nice originals from Peter Saville for great record covers from New Order and Joy Division.

 Lots of beautiful examples of great British textile designs too - we often forget we were once the world leaders in textile design and manufacturing.

 Some amazingly well preserved Mary Quant and Cecil Beaton dresses.

 V&A British Design 1948-2012 Exhibition Print Collateral by Barnbrook Design - the collage image was enough in itself to make me want to go!

I came out of the exhibition feeling thoroughly proud of this country's design heritage - everything from Grand Theft Auto (yes, a british made game) to Alexander McQueen, Jamie Reid to Concorde - it really makes you think about how much this country has done. I thoroughly recommend spending a couple of hours here. Amazing.


Kayleigh said...

Fab - would really like to go and see this.

Rachel Lewis Illustration said...

You definitely should! It's on til Sept so plenty of time :) x

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