Radical design: Creatives at the frontline for change

Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.’ I grew up surrounded by politics. Raised in Iran at the height of its turbulent years, it was impossible not to be. Later, as an adolescent cocooned in the sanctuary of Europe, I rejected it all for I saw my life in the creative world where politics, seemingly, had little relevance. Now, as Europe peddles into the deep dark waters of... Read More

Exploring the narrative of shopping

I try to shop locally, favouring smaller groceries, the butchers and fishmonger, fruit and veg markets, the independent bookstore and the few boutiques in my neighbourhood who support smaller designers. It involves a little more effort trekking from shop to shop and navigating crowded markets in the rain, but the experience is hugely rewarding. Each one of these establishments offers a very different experience, an unexpected find, fun conversation,... Read More

The new Design Museum opens in Kensington

‘Design is about optimism,’ offers sir Terence Conran, ‘and this friendly space is full of surprises. It is about love rather than fear. I hope we can educate and inspire generations to come,’ says the founder of the Design Museum. Heartfelt words in these politically dark times. We are being treated to a preview of the museum’s much anticipated new premise in Kensington, on the edge of Holland Park in west London, which will officially... Read More

London Design Biennale debuts with ‘Utopia By Design’

I’m sitting in the magnificent Somerset House courtyard overlooking Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s towering navy sculpture that moves ever-so-slowly to the nudge of the September wind. Forecast explores Britain’s rich maritime history and its involvement with the development of wind energy. Created by the local designer duo with the help of the V&A Museum and engineering firm Arup, it evokes the past and proposes a future powered by... Read More

BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce navigate the future

Speculating the future of the car is pretty fascinating territory. The automobile has essentially remained the same, evolving technically rather than conceptually since its birth well over a century ago. Now, as the car moves closer and closer to becoming a personal gadget with multiple faces and functions, its next life is open to all sorts of interpretations. It certainly is an exciting time to be involved in the vehicle design world. We’ve... Read More

Highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016

London is alive with creative energy and it is sometimes hard to keep up with the sheer volume of exhibitions and fairs celebrating visual culture. This week saw Clerkenwell Design Week celebrate its seventh year. The three-day event in May sees international brands, individual designers, and emerging young artists exhibit their latest creations in one of London’s oldest neighbourhoods – creating a striking contrast between the local... Read More

The World of Charles and Ray Eames

For designers context is destiny, writes Sam Jacobs half way through The World of Charles and Ray Eames. The time and place in which the designer happens to emerge is decisive in shaping their world, he argues. And in this context Charles and Ray Eames are intimately connected with mid-century California. It would be impossible to consider one without the other. Post war, California embodied the New World – the west coast became synonymous... Read More

Mobility examined at Milan Design Week

Up until a few years ago the automotive world came to Salone del Mobile Milano as spectators. The week is dedicated to product and industrial design; the venue acts as a platform for discourse on design and speculative debate. It isn’t meant to be a stage for showcasing new cars. With more and more car companies participating now, what is the right way, the correct etiquette, when it comes to exhibiting in Milan? Unveiling a car is definitely... Read More

Preview: 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale

Next week sees the start of the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated this year by the outspoken Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The chosen guiding topic is Fundamentals with all 66 national pavilions exhibiting responding to a theme. Koolhaas’ concern is that over the last century national characteristics in architecture have given way to a more universal language resulting in somewhat homogeneous architecture. At Venice he has asked countries... Read More

Book review: Speculative Everything

Should design purely concern itself with problem solving, or the aesthetics, making objects more beautiful, more usable… or should it also act as critique, agitate even? This is the premise behind an interesting book recently published by MIT Press, Speculative Everything. Authors Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, both professors at London’s Royal College of Art, have been proponents of ‘critical design’ – a term they coined in the mid 1990s... Read More

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