This is Design
Types of venues , Popular venues ,
Until Mon Oct 17 2011
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Tue Sep 6 2011
At first it's a stretch to consider a set of traffic lights as shaping, or even contributing to, the visual identity of our nation. Once contextualised, however, it's a pleasing revelation, the type of which punctuates this accessible exhibition. For when grouped with Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's 1936 red telephone box and Margaret Calvert & Jock Kinnear's road signage, the sort of which has furnished our roads and motorways since the 1960s, it becomes clear that David Mellor's archetypal stoplights of a similar time have been implemental in establishing Britain's visual identity.
Hinging on such penny-drop moments, this display of British product design is thematically arranged, with significant turning points such as the move from the handmade to the mass-produced, and the subsequent heralding of the design profession, effortlessly traced through the evolution of the chair. With similar success, digitalisation is brought to light as an epochal transformation through the presentation of a Japanese joystick arcade game from the late '70s, alongside Microsoft's recent Motor Sensor Control Kinect for Xbox360 – so much as breathe in its general direction and you're playing it. Other key exhibits with economic and cultural significance include the Anglepoise Lamp, Moulton Bike and Candlestick Telephone.
Representing the Design museum's first foray into its collection for five years, this is a timely self-examination for the organisation, soon set to move to much larger premises in Kensington. By impressively interrogating the boundaries and relevancies of collecting design, with this exhibition the museum firmly establishes its continued importance in examining the impact and influence of design on the modern world