03 January 2018
zed visits the Design Museum
Recently, zed held its annual away day at the Design Museum, based at its new, stunning location in Kensington. The Grade II listed building, previously home to the Commonwealth Institute, was given a stunning makeover by John Pawson and sits neatly in the area’s cultural quarter, joining the Royal College of Art, V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Serpentine Gallery.
The museum, which covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design was the perfect place to inspire our team before lunch at the Bluebird Café on the King’s Road.
Our highlights were:
Design icon wall
The entrance to the Design ‘Maker User’ exhibition is a crowdsourced wall of objects nominated from the question ‘What does design mean to you?’. This array of old and new brought an overwhelming sense of nostalgia: from the iconic blue IKEA shopping bag to the classic 70s Rubik’s Cube. This wall showed that design really does have an impact on everyone’s lives, regardless of how creative they are. My personal favourite was the ZX Spectrum, bringing back frustrated memories of the long wait for a game to load via a linked-up cassette deck.
Everyday road signs
Aiding us in moving around every single day, who knew that once upon-a-time two graphic designers – Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir – spent months designing the road signs you and I use daily. Creating two fonts from scratch; ‘Motorway’ and ‘Transport’ – these designs have truly fulfilled their function. One of the biggest decisions was to opt for a combination of upper and lower-case letters. Reading a city such as Birmingham on a motorway from a distance would be a struggle in all caps. A mixture of the two gave the word more shape and made it easier to read.
Ergonomic office chair
The Aeron Chair was designed by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf in 1994. At the height of web start-ups, these designers hit the nail on the head with this ergonomic office chair, suitable for all shapes and sizes. Some argue that it is because of its sheer comfort we as a nation spend such long hours in front of a computer. On the up side, this was the beginning of sustainable design becoming a hot topic, with 94% of the chair being recyclable.
We also had tickets to see the exhibition ‘California: Designing Freedom’, a colourful and interactive showcase of California’s impact on the design world. The first exhibition to examine California’s current global reach, our journey began from the 1960s counterculture all the way to Silicon Valley’s tech culture.
It’s safe to say we left the museum feeling sufficiently inspired, refreshed and excited to get back to the studio to start creating!