Monday, 14 April 2014

Grunge and 90s Fashion

Back in February I took a short course in History of Fashion at London College of Fashion. I spent four Saturdays in LCF's campus just off Oxford Street getting an introduction to the history of fashion from the 1850s to the present day, with a particular focus on British fashion. If you're based in London and have a little interest in fashion I totally recommend it. You'll have to hand over about £300 to do it but if you're willing to do that you get an awful lot in return. While I don't tend to cover fashion here that often, I do think it's a really interesting area of design. Of all design categories, fashion's the one that we tend to have the closest relationship to, and the one we make the most conscious decisions about. While we don't always get to choose all of the spaces we occupy or objects we use each day, and while we don't always choose the stuff that surrounds us based on how it's designed (sometimes cost, convenience or apparent lack of choice can be much bigger factors), we tend to be far more discerning about what we wear. We know what we like, we choose garments based on how they look, what they're made from and sometimes even who designed them. While cost, convenience and other factors can come into it, for an awful lot of us personal preference comes into play with regard to fashion far more than with the other designed objects we come into contact with. Fashion is a key way for us to identify ourselves and - when you consider fashion as a historical artefact - how nations, cultures and generations have identified themselves.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Shape - A Film About Design

Shape, a film about design

Recently launched by Pivot Dublin and Dublin City Council and made by Scott Burnett and Johnny Kelly, Shape is a short animated film about design aimed at young people. It poses the question 'If, for one day, you had the power to make your world work better, what would you change?' and shows how changing the look, feel, size or form of something - or replacing it with something entirely different - can change your experience of the object itself and maybe even improve your day, your surroundings or your life a little bit. It makes the point that design is everywhere and that it can make a big impact.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

If Artists were Architects...

Barcelona-based illustrator Federico Babina has something of a preoccupation with architecture, creating series of illustrations on architectural alphabets, the architecture of cinema and more. I recently stumbled upon this one, named Archists, which imagines a city of buildings designed by famous artists in their trademark styles. A simple concept which is delivered in Babina's trademark charming style, click through to see some of my favourites.

Friday, 28 March 2014

danishdesign MAKERS

Blind lights by Johansen Faurschou, danishdesign MAKERS

Back in January Danish collective danishdesign MAKERS brought a range of furniture to IMM Cologne, featured on MocoLoco. Entitled Please Do Touch, their display of work was inspired by the hands-on nature of both designing and enjoying design. Echoing the purity and honesty of Danish design culture, they showed some really simple and charming pieces. My favourites are as follows: Blind by Johansen Faurschou, pictured above, is a light which you push up within its shade to reduce light emission or pull it out to increase it; great industrial-looking clocks by Birgitte Due Madsen and Jonas Trampedach (below); Coffee N Rest tables by Thomas Albertsen (pictured third) and table-cum-trays by Signe Hytte (pictured bottom). Click through to find your own favourite!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sensing Spaces

Grafton Architects, part of Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, curated by Kate Goodwin at the Royal Academy in London, runs until 6 April and is an ambitious exploration not just of contemporary international architecture but of how architecture can be exhibited. Taking the form of a series of site-specific responses to the Royal Academy's lush Beaux Arts interiors by seven architectural practices from around the world (including Grafton Architects from Ireland, pictured above and Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura from Portugal), the exhibition brings a slice of an international biennale or triennale to one of London's major art galleries.