Last week my UX team colleagues and I travelled to the V&A exhibition, British Design 1948-2012: Innovation In The Modern Age.
Charting how British designers have shaped our lives, we found the retrospective to be a fascinating yet somewhat disorientating experience as we worked our way through the exhibits, mostly around the chairs.
And there were a lot of them. I thought this was great – what better way to chart design changes than with a congregation of chairs? Not everyone agreed with me, but from Ernest Race’s Antelope Bench to Ron Arad’s Little Heavy, there was certainly one for everyone.
Next, we admired the work of the Design Research Unit. Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert’s iconic road signage, plus the National Rail logo, superbly demonstrated how great design can really stand the test of time.
We also explored the close ties between design and music. Particularly eye-catching exhibits included original album artwork for The Rolling Stones and a knitted stage outfit for David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, which looked amazing… but itchy.
We finished the day in one amazing, trippy room, exploring the already massive British gaming industry, and a showcase of modern British architecture, including the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boatlift (which has to be seen to be believed).
In short, we found ourselves coming over all patriotic when confronted by Britain’s consistent leadership in design innovation.
Go see it. But be warned – there’s loads to take in. I’m already working out when to go back.