Opened late last year and running until 9 February, Pop Art Design at the Barbican is an exhibition exploring how commercial design influenced the art of the 50s and 60s and how that art in turn influenced design. If it's a period of art and design you're unfamiliar with the exhibition provides a really nice introduction, while there are a couple of things on show that might be new to the already initiated. One such revelation to me was the work of Alexander Girard, an architect who trained in Italy and Britain before moving to New York and beginning to work across architecture, interior and exhibition design, typography, furniture and fabrics. He became Director of the Fabric Division at Hermann Millar in the 1950s and most of his best work was done for them. Pop Art Design includes some of his wallpaper patterns, ceramic objects and mural designs while a little look online brings up a whole host of brightly-coloured playful patterns for fabric and other applications. Girard's work is fun and frivolous and I can't believe I'm only finding out about it now! Though I realise as I've looked through his archive of work, some of his stuff (such as the wooden Vitra dolls pictured at the bottom) is familiar, I just never knew the designer behind it. I'm certainly glad that now I do...
Monday, 27 January 2014
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Late last year I began working in the Students' Unions at both the University of the Arts London and London School of Economics and Political Science. While the former might seem like a more obvious choice of employment for a design nerd like me, you're about to find out why working at LSESU is just as attractive: at the beginning of this term we moved into a brand spanking new Irish-designed architectural icon! The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (or simply the Students' Union building, as my colleagues and I would much rather call it) is the latest red brick behemoth to come from O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects. It's their second building in the city (The Photographers' Gallery is their first) and houses activity spaces, a bar and cafes, a fully kitted-out gym, various student services and a massive basement venue, all for the students of LSE.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Last week I went along to the opening of Tom Eckersley: Master of the Poster at London College of Communication. Running until 29 January, this exhibition explores the work of graphic designer and educator Tom Eckersley and shows a range of his work for London Transport, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the United Nations and the College itself (formerly London College of Printing). In fact, LCC is home to a substantial archive of Eckersley's work, as he founded the College's graphic design undergraduate programme, the first of its kind in the UK.
Sunday, 12 January 2014
Welcome to the latest edition of Here's the Heads Up, giving you a quick rundown of the events and exhibitions I hope to go to in London over the next month or so and the ones I wish I was around for in Dublin right now. Enjoy!
Friday, 27 December 2013
In the relatively short time that I've been in London, I've done what I can to explore and learn about this massive city. Though I've only scratched the surface, I'm certain I've found a place that will remain one of the city's highlights for me, no matter how long or short a time I live here. The Barbican in the City of London (London's financial and commercial centre, within ancient boundaries, is a city within a city) is an area with a long and complex history and is now the site of a brutalist complex of residential buildings, amenities and The Barbican Centre, a massive and wonderful arts venue. As a recent convert to brutalism and a long-standing fan of the arts, this place is heaven for me...
Monday, 23 December 2013
This article was first published in Architecture Ireland #272
One of the first columns I wrote for Architecture Ireland, two years ago, took a look at some of the new stores being opened up around Dublin by passionate (and intrepid) design enthusiasts. It was called Dublin Design Retailers and has become by far the most popular post on this blog. Since then they've been joined by other design shops and online ventures and I thought it was high time to take another look at those selling design in Ireland, selling Irish design online and everything in between.
Thursday, 31 October 2013
This article was first published in Architecture Ireland #271.
From 14 to 22 September the 11th edition of London Design Festival proclaimed that 'Design is Everywhere' and it certainly seemed that for those 9 days it was. While in a showcase the size of LDF there is a myriad of projects, products and trends to be seen (here's a post about one of the highlights), one thing that struck me about a number of the exhibitions and products I saw was a reimagining of tradition, in terms of process, material or aesthetic. A number of designers and curators presented work which stemmed from, revisited or played with the notion of the traditional, whether it was taking traditional forms or aesthetics and playing with them or engaging with traditional materials and processes. At a time when technology and its advances seem to be at the centre of so much of what we do, many of us keep coming back to our past.