MODERNism IN THE HOME - CONFERENCE
In July 2019 I am delivering a paper on the furniture designs of Margaret and Berthold Lubetkin for the penthouse Lubetkin and Tecton designed for Highpoint II in 1938. For a full programme go here.
Champagne Lamps by Salvador Dalí and Edward James
I had the pleasure of working on the acquisition of the Champagne Standard Lamps for the V&A Collection. Designed for Edward James’s Monkton House in the late 1930s, each standard lamp is made up of 10 champagne coupes executed in brass and stacked on top of one another. Like the Mae West Lips sofa (below) it was purchased with support from V&A Members and Art Fund, as well as the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Here is a news story on the acquisition.
Taking Liberties Sketch Tour
Workshop for Potential Design gave a number of sketch tours at the V&A for the London Design Festival, which I helped plan and facilitate. Tetsuo Mukai and myself also recorded a podcast about the experience, which was a really fun and insightful way of experiencing the museum collections.
CHART DESIGN 2018
For the second edition of Chart Design I was part of an advisory board of academics, writers and designers discussing the ideas and concepts for the fair that opened at Den Frie 31 August 2018. See more here.
ReVIEW in Disegno 17
I have a review of a photograph of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby snapped by Kevin Davies in 1998 in the Winter issue of Disegno. If that's tricky to imagine, pick up a copy here.
THE STORY OF TWO CHAIRS
For the London Design Festival 2017, I curated a small display in the Furniture Gallery at the V&A of two chair designs that were recently put into use in the museum. The 182 by Carmordy Groarke and 8mm by Amanda Levete Architects. Some more details here.
Alvar aalto's 403 chair
For the summer 2017 issue of the V&A Magazine I wrote a piece on Aalto's 403 chair for the Paimio Sanatorium, used in the new V&A Member's Room by Carmody Groake.
Conversation with Gadi Amit
For a V&A Friday Late the San Francisco-based designer Gadi Amit and I discussed his conceptual currency Scrip, Forbes covered it post-talk, here.
the Disegno redesign
In 2016 Disegno worked with Munich-based designers Studio AKFB on a redesign. The journal also went quarterly and is now released in March, June, September and December. There is an interview about the redesign process here.
At the end of March 2015, Disegno launched its eight issue with a residency by Viktor&Rolf on the death of conceptualism in fashion. For this issue I interviewed Viktor&Rolf and also wrote a profile on designer Jasper Morrison as well as reported on the development of the Tipsy glass by Loris&Livia. The magazine is on all good news stands and can be purchased here.
During the London Design Festival in September 2014, we launched the seventh issue of Disegno with a residency courtesy of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Apart from editing the issue I also have some writing in it, including a profile of Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, recently appointed art director at Artek. The magazine can be purchased here.
Will we be able to swim in the Thames? That was the topic of discussion at the Urban Plunge exhibition, curated by Jane Withers. I chaired a conversation between Withers, historian Caitlin Davies and architect Chris Romer Lee of Studio Octopion the occassion of the opening.
Z33 – Discourse and Critique
Z33 – the House of Contemporary Art in Hasselt hosted a series of debates in Palazzo Clerici during the Milan Furniture Fair in April 2014. I was part of the Discourse and Critique debate with Z33 director Jan Boelen and writer Tamar Shafrir. We discussed the role of the design magazine at a fair like iSaloni and whether critical discourse can play a part of such an event. The full film of the talk is available here.
I was invited to curate a new exhibition area at Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair in February 2014. Called Twelve, it incorporated 12 Nordic product and furniture designers showing work not yet in production. The exhibition was designed by TAF Arkitektkontor (image above). I am currently working on the theme and curation of a slightly different version of Twelve for February 2015.
In September 2013 Disegno turned two and with that the fifth issue was launched during the London Design Festival. It features a residency by fashion designer Paul Smith, a report from Kumbh Mela, the world's largest public gathering, and a visit to Donald Judd's Spring Street, among other things. As with all other issues of Disegno, I set the subjects for the features, commissioned the writing and worked with creative director Daren Ellis on commissioning the photography.
A Talk with Marialaura Irvine
Only a few months after British designer James Irvine passed away, his partner Marialaura Irvine and I were invited to have a conversation about his work by design brand Arper. It was an emotional and very heartfelt talk in which Marialuara shared anecdotes from hers and James' working life and how the studio will continue without him.
To celebrate Disegno's first birthday in the autumn of 2012, I worked on the launch of DisegnoDaily. The third issue was released at the same time and among other things I contributed a piece on the recent success of Italian furniture manufacturer Mattiazzi, charting its move from supplier to a design brand producing its own furniture.
Pecha Kucha on the history of the vibrator
My MA dissertation investigated the invention and development of the vibrator as a "sexul aid" and looked at what role design played in increasing awareness and acceptance around the practice of masturbation. I delivered a Pecha Kucha around some of the research.
Graduating Talent for the British Council
The British council asked med to write about graduating fashion students from the class of 2011. The full paper can be found here.
Carver Street Apartments by Michael Maltzan
By far the most memorable of job trips was this detour on my honeymoon to the rehabilitation home for homeless people in downtown LA by Michael Maltzan.
Mary QUant and INTERIOR DESIGN
For the book on Mary Quant accompanying the Quant exhibition at the V&A (April 2019 - Feruary 2020), I wrote an essay on how the Quant brand expanded into interior design and how Quant’s own home embodied a new and freer lifestyle in post-war England. The book is edited by Jenny Lister and can be purchased here.
Orbits - Installation and conversation
In autumn 2018 the fashion brand COS opened a multifunctional platform to host the work of established and emerging artists in Coal Drops Yard in London. For the opening of the new space I was invited to host a discussion with artist and designer Paul Cocksedge about his installation Orbits.
ECAL DIGITAL MARKET
For the London Design Festival 2018, I worked with the Swiss design school to bring the 3D-printing farm and exhibit, first shown in Milan in April, to the Blavatnik Hall at the V&A. More details here.
Notes Concerning a studio on Schillerstraße 40
Over a period of a few months I worked with Konstantin Grcic, his former team at KGID and photographer Fabian Frinzel on documenting the process of closing the designer's Munich studio. Some of that process was published in Disegno #19 with an introduction by me reflecting on the studio's position as an agent in the production of the work of KGID and its function in framing the rituals of daily practice . The issue can be purchased here.
The Legacy Of Kare Klint
Anne-Louise Sommer, director of Design Museum Denmark, and Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Søn joined me for a talk on Danish designer Kare Klint - 'the father of Danish design'.
GLOBAL DESIGN FORUM
I chaired a series of talks for the Global Design Forum. Guests included Dieter Lubs from Braun, graphic designer Charlie Smith and textile designer Margrtehe Odgaard. Full programme is available here.
WHAT IT IS WHEN IT'S NOT
For Chart Art Fair 2017 I was invited to take part in a round-table on ambiguity as a resource for design. Fellow speakers were Marianne Zamecznik, Director of Oslo Open, Lina Marie Köppen from design studio Limako and Peter Lang, Professor Architectural Theory and History, Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.
REFLECTIONS on SPACE
I contributed a short reflection on OKAY Studio's move from 2 Belfast Road for issue 15 of Disegno. Photoessay by Max Creasy. The issue can be purchased here.
Starting at the V&A
An interview published on Dezeen about becoming a curator of twentieth century and contemporary furniture and product design at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Twelve 2015 – METHODS
The Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair invited me to curate the exhibition Twelve for the second year running. This time I worked closely with Swedish design studio Folkform on the concept and they also executed a beautiful design for the exhibition made from Ytong – an aerated concrete. The theme for the exhibition was Methods and I selected the 12 participants based on applications received by the fair. The picture above, is by Ola Bergengren, who photographed all images for the catalogue designed by Andrejs Ljunggren and Martin Frostner.
Seminar on design trends
When &tradition opened its new showroom in Copenhagen, I was invited to give a presentation on current design trends to an audience of buyers and press. The title of the presentation was All That Is Solid Melts Into Air and took inspiration from Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto.
For the launch issue of Dirty Furniture I contributed a piece of writing on the presence of mess in the imagery of contemporary design advertising, analysing the phenomenon and tying it back to Pierre Bordieu’s book Distinction from 1974. Dirty Furniture can be purchased here.
A British Fashion Education
During London Fashion Week in February 2014, I chaired a round table discussion exploring the legend of British fashion education with the tutors and heads of London's leading fashion schools, such as Frances Corner from London College of Fashion, Andrew Groves from University of Westminster, Ruby Hoette from Goldmsiths, Elinor Renfrew from Kingston University and Tristan Webber from the Royal College of Art.
The Age of the Carbunkle?
The Guardian asked me to contribute an op-ed on the winner of Building Design's Carbunkle Cup – the Stephen George and Partners' student housing designed for University College London on Caledonian Road.
The fourth issue of Disegno launched at a midnight dinner hosted together with Form Us With Love in Milan in April 2013. It was a wonderful occassion to introduce the magazine to visitors to the Milan Furniture Fair and to celebrate our friendship with the Swedish design studio. Apart from commissioning and editing the issue, I also contributed some writing on Herzog & de Meuron's Parrish Art Museum.
Behind the Scenes – Stories from the Design Industry
The book edited by Swedish design journalist and good friend Hanna Nova Beatrice launched in February 2013 and I contributed an essay on the increasing draw of contemporary design exhibitions at major museums.
Although it was by far the toughest issues of all in Disegno' history to put together, it is also the one I remember the most fondly. The wonderful contributions from writers and photographers made it all possible and the cover image by Iwan Baan is still my favourite. One of the main features in the issue is one that I wrote about Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec.
Issey Miyake for Icon
One of the last features I contributed to Icon while during my three years there was this feature on Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake as he launched new initiative 132 5.
The Knut Hamsun museum by Steven Holl
As the midnight sun stood high in the sky I ventured up to norhern Norway to visit a new museum dedicated to author Knut Hamsun, designed by Steven Holl.
Interview with Inga Sempé
While at Icon I contributed mainly fashion and design profiles, meeting many influential designers. Here is my feature and interview with French designer Inga Sempé.
A TALK With Frith Kerr
Ahead of the Curve invited contemporary artists and designers to respond to the collection of works by female artists at 2 Willow Road in London, the home of Ernö and Ursula Goldfinger. Curated a conceived by graphic designer Frith Kerr it presented a series of six new works within the setting of this historical house museum now belonging to the National Trust. To mark the closing of the project I interviewed Kerr in a public discussion hosted at 2 Willow Road.
In conversation with Martino Gamper
I spoke to the Italian furniture designer as part of the Project & Destiny series at the Italian Culture Institute in London. Not sure there is any record of it apart from the above image.
Mae West Lips sofa
In my work at curator of twentieth century and contemporary furniture and product design at the V&A I worked with the Keeper of Furniture, Textile, Fashion, Christopher Wilk, on the exciting acquisition of the Mae West Lips sofa by Salvador Dalí and Edward James. It was purchased with support from V&A Members, Art Fund and a bequest from Derek Woodman. The story of the sofa can be read here.
HEAD Geneve invited me to speak about writing as a tool in the design process as part of the MA in Space & Communication in the autumn term.
The London Salons
The London Salons Pamphlet designed by Irma Boom rounded up a year of salons on the furniture industry, organised by designer Ineke Hans. I edited and condensed the over ten salons to fit into the format of this A3 fold-out.
BIG ideas: Whitechapel Art Gallery
I was the respondent to curator and historian Glenn Adamson's Big Ideas lecture on Curating Art, Curating Design: Is there a Difference? talking about the role of the museum in the 21st century.
SECTION D LIVE
I appeared on a special live radio recording of Monocle's Section D Live in October 2016 together with Erik Spiekermann and Peter Murray. We were asked to consider London’s status as a design city and mull over that age-old question: what is good design?
In conversation with Konstantin Grcic
When the exhibition Panorama (on the work and philosophy of Konstantin Grcic) moved from the Vitra Design Museum to Arkitektur- och Designcentrum in Stockholm (ARKDES) I chaired a public conversation with the German designer.
As Pringle of Scoland launched its first knitwear collection incorporating 3D printing, I moderated a talk between Pringle’s creative director Massimo Nicosia, architect Richard Beckett and Head of Material Futures at Central Saint Martins Caroline Till. A video of the talk can be viewed here.
The sixth issue of Disegno launched at the end of March 2014. Artist and designer Nathalie Du Pasquier created the cover and the residency for this issue and to mark the occassion I worked with du Pasquier on an exhibition of her work, staged in her spectacular Milan studio, shared with partner George Sowden, during Milan Furniture Fair in April 2014.
Five by Okay Studio
The designers of London-based Okay Studio worked with American Hardwood Export Council on an exhibition for Clerkenwell Design Week in May 2014. I chaired a talk between the designers Peter Marigold, Amy Hunting, Oscar Narud, Mathias Hahn, Liliana Ovalle, Ed Swan and Andrew Haythornthwaite and AHEC's David Venables to discuss the making process and the value of such one-off gallery projects for designers.
The Tack Press Office
In summer of 2014 Disegno joined forces with Jocks&Nerds magazine in order to create the publishing house Tack Press. In order to make room for the growing number of staff, I worked with Felix De Pass to redesign the office on Kingsland Road and secured sponsorship by Danish flooring company Dinesen and additional support by lighting company Wästberg, furniture manufacturer Arper and cabinet maker Robert Culverhouse. The result was revealed during London Design Festival 2013 as part of the official LDF schedule.
The Delta Awards Jury 2013
I was invited to be in the jury of the Spanish Delta Awards in June 2013. After an intense day of deliberation and debate Santa & Cole's Headhat LED pendant (pictured above) won the Gold Delta with several Silver Deltas also being awarded. The jury was made up of designer Tomás Alonso, architect Valérie Bergeron, designer Jozeph Forakis, writer and curator Robert Punkenhofer, Flos representative Mike Zancan and design historian Viviana Narotzky.
Designs of the Year Jury 2013
The 2013 Designs of the Year Jury at the Design Museum was chaired by designer and former Elle Decoration editor Ilse Crawford. I was part of a jury made up of actor Griff Rhys Jones, architect Amanda Levete, designer Nicolas Roope, garden designer Sarah Raven and hotelier Olga Polizzi, that picked the website GOV.UK to be the overall winner.
Lodz Design Festival
Designer Nitzan Cohen and I were invited to talk about his work with Italian furniture manufacturer Mattiazzi at the Polish design festival in October 2013. While most manufacturers outsource and try to outsmart their rivals with lower costs and higher efficiency, Mattiazzi took a different turn. They decided to create their own design brand and produce everything in-house, with Cohen as its creative director.
The second issue of Disegno launched at an event at 10 Corso Como in Milan during the Furniture Fair in 2012. In this issue I have a piece on the first MA fashion graduates to graduate from Central Saint Martins' new campus at Granary Square.
Sofia Design Week 2011
My first appearance as editor of Disegno was during a talk at Sofia Design Week in the summer of 2011. I talked about the upcoming plans for Disegno, which was yet to launch and about the role of media in the design industry.
In the footsteps of Margiela
One of the most uncomforatble assigments I've ever taken on as a writer was when I tried to find out more about the identity of Martin Margiela – a fashion designer famous for his incognito image. My findings were published in Icon.