V&A Dundee

Sustainable design showcase unveiled today at V&A Dundee

Seven innovative material design solutions go on show for a new free display, Design for Our Times, which opens today at V&A Dundee

Design for Our Times is a showcase of material innovation that offers inspiring, practical and desirable solutions to issues of re-sourcing, repurposing and reuse.

The selected design initiatives represent distinct practices working today in Scotland in the fields of product design, interior design, environmental design and construction. From established designers to recent graduates, these ingenious projects demonstrate the enormous creativity on our doorstep.

The featured materials range from repurposed waste, such as K-Briq, a building brick made from over 90% construction and demolition waste; and Draff, a material made of spent grain from local distilleries and breweries; to less familiar substances such as mycelium, derived from fungus; and Mirrl, a hardwearing surface material inspired by Japanese lacquerware.

Susanna Beaumont, founder of Design Exhibition Scotland and curator of Design for Our Times, said: “We intend this exhibition to stimulate discussion and raise awareness of how adventurously and playfully working with materials has the potential to create a more sustainable world in which we want to live.”

The exhibition will showcase a variety of installations and objects from each designer, exploring sustainable solutions to overconsumption and material waste.

Terrace, a sculptural seating installation by Andrew Miller, a Glasgow-based artist, is shown alongside pendant lights made of glass vases found in charity shops. Two stools by Fife-based Chalk Plaster explore the possibilities of gypsum, some of which is culled from waste plasterboard, as a new durable material.

Each design is explored through design drawings, prototypes and interviews with the designers, highlighting how these materials present positive changes in how we consume and behave. The exhibition illuminates the design process, from incubating an initial idea, through the trial and error of prototype development, towards production and potential applications in the wider world.

The modular aluminium exhibition design by emerging design practice Future Practical has also been developed to be environmentally sensitive in both process and material selection, as well as reusable and ultimately recyclable.

Aymeric Renoud of Draff said: "I am thrilled to have my work shown at V&A Dundee. For me, this museum was a big part of my decision to stay in Scotland after studying at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. Dundee is a wonderful city to be working in design, particularly when thinking about bringing together traditional furniture design with the future of sustainable materials."

Francesca Bibby, Assistant Curator at V&A Dundee, said: “It has been great to collaborate with Design Exhibition Scotland to realise this exhibition and we're excited to showcase the huge potential of these seven design practices, all working right on our doorstep. We hope visitors are inspired by the innovative ways in which designers are rethinking waste materials and considering more environmentally sensitive processes.”

Design for Our Times is displayed in V&A Dundee’s Michelin Design Gallery, a free exhibition and project space on the upper floor of the museum, from 3 December 2021 to 19 June 2022.

The exhibition is curated by Susanna Beaumont of Design Exhibition Scotland, a pioneering project that celebrates, supports and showcases exceptional designers and their work. Launched in 2018, Design Exhibition Scotland nurtures experimentation and exploration, championing design innovation for everyday living. Through exhibitions, events & public advocacy both in the physical and digital sphere, Design Exhibition Scotland makes visible to a wide audience the energy, brilliance and ingenuity of designers working across Scotland today.

A distilled version of Design for Our Times was exhibited at this year’s London Design Festival as part of Brompton Design District from 18 – 26 September 2021.

Design Exhibition Scotland is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.