Monthly Archives: May 2009

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Retreat and Refuge

Hello – and welcome to the first entry of the '1:1 – Architects Build Small Spaces' blog. Over this coming year, I'll be sharing with you some of the thoughts and discussions that we'll be having at the V&Aas we develop this exhibition. We want the blog to be a forum in which we can offer an insight into key moments of the exhibition's lifespan:the research, the shortlisting of architects, and the various stages of design development – from concept through to detailed design and final construction at the V&A. It would be great to get your own reflections on …

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Draw a Line and Follow It

One of my favorite art works is called "Zen for Head,"a performance piece by Nam Jun Paik. It is an interpretation of a 'score' by another artist, LaMonte Young, who was associated with the Fluxus movement of the 1950s and '60s. This group was interested in putting the possibility of artmaking in the hands of ordinary people. Young's "Composition 1960 No. 10" consisted entirely of the instruction:"draw a straight line and follow it."A couple of years later, Paik did just that, dunking his head in a bowl of ink and dragging his hair like a giant brush along a scroll …

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Out on the Tiles

A quiet but marvellous exhibition about Owen Jones, the great 19th century pattern designer best known for the compendium Grammar of Ornament (1856), has recently opened here at the V&A. Curated by my colleague (and future fellow blogger – watch this space!) Abraham Thomas, the show is a wonder – filled with exquisitely rendered patterns that attest to his sensitivity to the design ideas of Islamic and other cultures. The show also reminded me that while our blog is called "From Sketch to Product,"the design process is anything but a one way street. Jones' most marvelous works are not his …

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Keep learning and practice

It’s been a great experience to be HSBC Designer in Residence at the V&A. I learned a lot from the varied collections in the V&A and other museums in London. It makes me understand more about others cultures and styles. And by learning more about others I’ve come to understand my own culture and style more clearly. Six months is a short time for me to learn everything that I want to learn so I’m continuing to learn now I’m back to China. The experience at V&A will affect my design for a long time.

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A Game of Two Halves

If you haven't seen the terrific little show at the Courtauld called "Design Drawings from Renaissance Italy," you're too late:it closed on May 17. Icaught the exhibition just before that, and it inspired me to write a quick post on very early design drawings. Many people think that professional design didn't begin until the nineteenth century; England's own Christopher Dresser is often called the first industrial designer. But eminent artists like Michelangelo, Hans Holbein, and Albrecht Durer created designs for decorative objects. (Holbein's drawings for metalwork and jewelry were a highlight of the recent exhibition on his work at Tate …

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Feat of clay

Here's the most amazing design model I've seen in a long time. I spotted it at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, a temple for motorcycle lovers everywhere.I'm not one of those, but I still love this object. As you can see, it features a combination of "real" elements such as the wheels, engine, handlebars and rearview mirrors, blended with clay elements that indicate the shape of the bodywork, which will eventually be manufactured in aluminium. Obviously metal is difficult to work and rework (that's especially true of aluminium), so unfired ceramic is used instead. This is a long tradition …

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On Twitter…

Get Tweeting and follow the progress of my work and the psychic workshop results on http://twitter.com/MuseumPsychic Or check back here regularly for a more in-depth discussion.

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In two weeks……

So, now that you know a bit more about my proposal concept and what it is I'm trying to achieve, (and if you don't then read the post below), you'll see that actually, I've made my life a bit difficult for myself. Yaay. In the past week, panic-stricken and aging exponentially, I sent off a large number of emails to a selection of curators, asking very politely and officially for their help. The psychic workshops I hope to conduct are drawing ever closer (now in 2 weeks time) and this time last week I was still objectless – i.e I …

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At the Royal Geographical Society

The themes of this exhibition concern the mobility of ornament between Britain and South Asia in both colonial and post colonial times in Britain. To convey some of this, the exhibition exploits ideas of framing. Frames isolate the thing framed, and speak of its status. Even buildings can act as â??framesâ?? for the work or people or things within.

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Picturing the Past

 By Stuart Frost A major milestone was reached last month when the gallery space that will become The Renaissance City 1350-1600 was handed back to the V&A by the contractors. With the opening of the galleries a little over six months away everyone who is working on the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries is working at a formidable […]

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