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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Royal Approval

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 at 18:13

Having become interested in the issue of status in the design profession, a trip to the RSA archive seemed like an obvious place to do some research. I was there last week, researching the Royal Designer for Industry award and was able to look through the boxes from some CSD members who achieved the status of RDI.

Although all of the information stored in these boxes shed some light on what the status of RDI means in the design profession, the box of Milner Gray was particularly enlightening. Of the work included in Gray’s box, there was a noticeable emphasis on Royal iconography. Perhaps it was the revival of such objects with the impending Royal wedding that brought my attention to this picture, but it seemed to me to be a striking example of the importance Royal status and approval has played in the design profession, both through the RSA and the CSD.

The caption to this photo read, ‘Coronation Souvenir loving cup’, ‘a souvenir loving cup to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, designed for Courage and Co Ltd., the old-established London Brewers, by Milner Gray RDI., FSIA, of Design Research Unit and made by Doulton &Co. Ltd. The cup is in off-white glazed earthenware with ‘ a one colour litho transfer’ decoration in black with the addition of a deep pink applied by hand. The design illustrates on the abverse an equestrian portrait of the Queen with the loyal message ‘Here’s & Health Unto Her Majesty’ and the date 1953; on the reverse the Royal Arms, Crown and Cypher. The courage cockerel trade-mark appears on the base together with the Royal Doulton mark.’

It made me wonder who might design todays ‘loving cups’ to celebrate the marriage of Kate and Wills? Is Royal patronage still an important concept to members of the design profession?

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Brit Design Awards

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2011 at 11:05

Last night I attended a preview of the Brit Insurance Design Awards, 2011, at the Design Museum. The range of designs selected for this year’s award is truly exciting. Some of the stand-outs for me were:

MELONIA SHOE
NAIM JOSEFI and SOUZAN YOUSSOUF

SPUN
HEATHERWICK STUDIO // Manufactured by MAGIS

OPEN-AIR-LIBRARY MAGDEBURG
KARO ARCHITEKTEN // ARCHITEKTUR+NETZWERK // Client: LANDESHAUPSTADT MAGDEBURG

IN-BETWEENING CLOCK
HYE-YEON PARK

YIKEBIKE
GRANT RYAN

PLAYING WITH LEGO BLOCKS AND PAPER
MUJI // LEGO

PAVEGEN
PAVEGEN SYSTEMS LTD

Deyan Sudjic, the director of the Design Museum who was leading a tour of the exhibition, made special reference to the ‘network of design spotters we have around the world’ who select and nominate these designs each year. This comment was obviously a poignant one for my project, which hopes to map these networks.

I found the exhibition as a whole extremely stimulating and exciting, seeing it as a visual distillation of the global design network. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ‘categorising’ of the objects according to discipline was not restrictive, being presented in quite a fluid way. It’s great that the exhibition gives some time to celebrate everything on display before the winner is announced.