British Design 1948-2012 at the V&A: Innovation in the Modern Age

It’s been open since the end of March, but I finally got a chance to finally visit the V&A’s British Design exhibition last week. And, needless to say, it’s fascinating.

Boasting over 300 of the various design triumphs that Britain has produced in the last sixty or so years, this eclectic collection covers everything from fashion (including a very cool LED dress) and wallpaper to jumbo jets and traffic signs. And you can even get your face drawn by a laser.

Alexander McQueen gown – a twist on houndstooth (note how the pattern more closely resembles birds…)
I. Want. This. Car.

The date range – 1948-2012 – relates to the Olympics. In 1948, a still war-ravaged London was the first city to host the Olympics post-WW2. During this period of intense austerity – where rationing was still in full effect – designers, artists and creatives began to think about how they could bring homes across the country back to life.

Antelope Bench by Ernest Race
The age of punk…

Ranging from the functional (pretty Laura Ashley fabrics and innovative wall-units) to the downright bizarre (the incredible wallpaper designed by Damien Hirst to decorate his restaurant Pharmacy; the paper is decorated with images of various pills and medicines matched with Bible quotes).

The kind of home furnishings you would have seen in the 1960s and 70s

Split in to three sections (Tradition & Modernity; Subversion; Innovation & Creativity), the exhibition whizzes through the decades, delivering a delightfully informative and colourful (and – if you have no sense of direction like me – slightly difficult to navigate) tour through the designs that made us what we are today. Straight-up magic.

How stunning is this? The Hare Jewel from Masquerade by Kit Williams

The exhibition is open at the Victoria and Albert museum until the 12th of August 2012.  Tickets are £12 at full-price or £8 for students. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.vam.ac.uk.

You might also like:

OUT AND ABOUT M&Ms world, Leicester Square
TYC @ Graduate Fashion Week 2012
Words Words Words @ Selfridges
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