17.12.12 – Trip to Design Museum

The final trip of the year before the Christmas break was to the Design Museum in London, in order to see a couple of exhibitions, one of which (Unexpected Pleasures) will directly relate to a future project in 2013; the Design Factory. The other exhibition, Digital Crystal, was worth a visit as I was there as it just all adds to my design knowledge and aids inspiration for projects. Below is a write-up of my thoughts from the day with a few images to complement:

Photo Library: I have decided to take photographs of things that backgrounds could be made from, without having to worry about copyright etc. The below image is an example of this, as I was walking along the Embankment, looking at the River Thames, and felt this could be a good image to have.


Interesting Typography: Also I have decided to take photographs of typography that interests me, like the image below where the type is set on the base of a lamp post along the Embankment.


Interesting sights and scenes: Despite not being a professional photographer by any means, and only using a compact digital camera, I do enjoy taking photos along the way. Below are a few photos of things that intrigued me.


Unexpected Pleasures: “Unexpected Pleasures celebrates the work of contemporary jewellers who have challenged the conventions of jewellery design.” (Design Museum)

For the Design Factory project I will do some more in-depth writing into some of these pieces and explore the materials used etc. but for now I shall save my notes for what I liked, as a lot of the exhibition was not to my taste. One observation to start with that I agreed upon with the people I went on the trip with was that a lot of the pieces in the exhibition seemed to work better when viewed as objects of art, rather than jewellery, as they did not seem best suited to this. I guess that I prefer conventional jewellery then!

The interlocking honeycomb like structure of Doug Bucci’s Trans-Hematopoietic neckpiece made out of 3D printed resin acrylic really caught my eye, with the interlocking honeycomb like structure and colour change from white to red. Clicking on the above link shows a brief video from Doug Bucci explaining the full meaning of the piece and how it is constructed etc, which is well worth a look if you have an interest in this piece. Combining the meaning of the piece with the design made this my favourite piece of the exhibition.


A wooden watch bangle by Bless, which is made from Ebony wood, made me think in a wider sense from the bangle to an actual wooden watch, and how this contrast between the natural element of the wood would work with the mechanical elements of a watch. I think it would work rather well.

IMG_2988I noticed and liked this artwork on the wall of the exhibition while walking around but was not entirely sure as to the meaning of the piece, until I read about it here. Well to be honest if I had a piece of ‘jewellery’ like that, I would want it to be either recognisable as from a Mercedes or be from something extremely exotic like a Formula 1 car or something, so I don’t really get the point here… a good piece of abstract art though.

Seeing this Interchangeable Pendant System by Johannes Kuhnen, I am a fan of the anodised finish of the piece. It reminds me of the current finishes to the Apple iPod range. The thought of having a interchangeable system will appeal to people I think, as it gives potential for the design to change such as to match an outfit, or just to change with the owner’s personal tastes.

IMG_2994Looking at the Nespresso Collier by Beverley Price, it is interesting to see the use of an anodised finish again. However, because the design is constructed mainly out of coffee capsules, with a different, rougher surface, the finish looks very different to the pendant above which is very smooth. This piece is an example of recycling materials and turning them into something beautiful, which is a good way of practicing sustainability.


I was very interested in the Ribbonesia design by Toru Yoshikawa, which in my opinion looks great and is a way of achieving a complex design through a simple ribbon. More about the art of Ribbonesia can be read here if you are interested.

IMG_3038The design below, named Bling Bling by Tjep is very interesting in my opinion, made out of 100 brand logos, with the thought that “the world of capital loves to wrap itself in the illusion of timeless beauty.” (Louise Schouwenberg) I must say I took my time to work out as many of the logos as possible from the piece when you can only see a small section, and was surprised at just how many are so instantly recognisable. This is definitely a sign that brand logos such as these are successful, and shows how aware society is of them.

Digital Crystal: For this exhibition I was very unsure as to what to expect, but here’s a brief summary: “For this exhibition, the Design Museum and Swarovski are collaborating to challenge designers to explore the future of memory in the fast developing digital age. The result is 15 unique installations giving you a glimpse of the future of memory.” 

My favourite piece from this exhibition was Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard. The way that the two thousand crystals capture the light and reflect it around made it look like a chandelier but without using a single shining light. As well as the coloured light that is visible through the structure of each crystal, it also throws out some interesting shadows.

IMG_3056 IMG_3076IMG_3073

Maarten Bass’ Thought Cloud took a while for me to work out the ‘smoke’ (made from crystals) coming out of a chimney is not created by log fire, but from the “thoughts and memories of a human head. I really like the look of it, and it contains a strong juxtaposition between the “dark scenario” and “the clear sparkling crystal”, the meaning of which can be read by following the link.

IMG_3089Marcus Tremonto’s HOLO Center Table is a three-dimensional holographic print which as you move around it and view it from different angles appears and disappears. I find this sort of thing very interesting, before I read into the meaning of the juxtapositions between digital techniques and analogue inputs in order to be viewed.

IMG_3062Hye-Yeon Park’s Unfamiliar Mass is a crystal ring that takes on the appearance of a polar bear and I think is a great display piece. It is the sort of thing that I would be happy to have as an ornament. The meaning of the polar bear being hidden is as follows:“By concealing the bear within an unrecognisable form, Unfamiliar Mass highlights the illusory nature of memories that are shaped only by our wishful imagination and impressions gleaned from two-dimensional visual media.” (Design Museum)


Overall, it was a worthwhile trip, and one that has provided me with some inspiration and increased my knowledge as to the use of materials and what effects can be gained from their properties.


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