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Crowd-sourced wall

Globally recognized objects nominated by the general public through an online survey.

The Design Museum

Interior view

Foldable London Underground Tube Map

Harry Beck, 1933. The map is representative of how graphic design can aid the general public.

Top: Anglepoise lamp by George Cawardine. Bottom: Moulton AM2 bicycle by Dr. Alex Moulton

The exhibition highlights how design permeates everyday life.

Shoe Lasts, Carreducker

Photography: John Adrian.

Top: Vespa Clubman (1946), Corradino d`Ascanio, Piaggio. Bottom: Valentine Typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King

One gains a broader understanding of design’s relationship with functionality, the evolution of design and the nostalgic appeal of dated design.

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Updates 11 May 2018

The permanent London exhibition “Designer Maker User” explores the contributions of design in daily life

The omnipresent role of twentieth and twenty-first century design is explored in Designer Maker User, a permanent exhibition at The Design Museum, London. It demonstrates how design has shaped behavioral, economical and cultural norms within societies. Spanning across a huge range of fields and disciplines, the exhibition doesn’t necessarily study the products of design but rather design as a tool for communication and functionality.

For any design to be considered a success, it must interact with designers, manufacturers and consumers, subsequently completing a product cycle. While the extent of the interaction can vary, it is essential that the design communicate with all three roles. Debuted on November 24th, 2016, Designer Maker User is a permanent and free exhibition featured in the The Design Museum in Kensington High Street, London.

The Exhibition

Open for most of the year, Designer Maker User explores the various objects and societal contributions of design through multiple perspectives. One gains a broader understanding of design’s relationship with functionality, the evolution of design, the nostalgic appeal of dated design such as typewriters, VCRs, Vinyl records, etc. And how design can be interpreted in very personal and individualistic ways. It covers a wide range of industries and fields that rely heavily on design such as engineering, fashion, graphics, digital platforms, etc.

The Experience

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors sight a crowd-sourced wall that consists of around 200 globally recognized objects nominated by the general public through an online survey. Suggestions and votes came in from 25 countries, further emphasizing the narrative that good design transcends language, geographical and cultural barriers. It also highlights the understated ways in which design permeates everyday life by featuring common items such as rubber gloves and a Coca-cola can.

Crowd-sourced wall

Globally recognized objects nominated by the general public through an online survey.

The Design Museum

Interior view

The “Designer” portion of the exhibition is inspired by the quote “From the spoon to the city” by Italian architect Ernesto Rogers. It pertains to the designer’s thought process regarding various scales, context and function (in cases such as product design to spacial or public design). It also features the works of Zaha Hadid including models and designs of her work. “Designer” also explores the role of design as a contributing factor in daily routine. This includes a look into the London train tube as well as underground and bicycle tubes. 

Foldable London Underground Tube Map

Harry Beck, 1933. The map is representative of how graphic design can aid the general public.

“Maker” focuses on the production or manufacturing process of a range of objects. These include everything from tennis balls to larger more industrial items like machinery and automobiles. This portion of the exhibition also delves into game changing features like mass customization and 3D printing.

Top: Anglepoise lamp by George Cawardine. Bottom: Moulton AM2 bicycle by Dr. Alex Moulton

The exhibition highlights how design permeates everyday life.

Shoe Lasts, Carreducker

Photography: John Adrian.

“Suggestions and votes came in from 25 countries, further emphasizing the narrative that good design transcends language, geographical and cultural barriers.”

The focal point of “User” is the relationship between the object and its consumers. These include design in daily ritual, entertainment and communication. The exhibition draws attention to the seamless ways people interact with design on a subconscious level. It also focuses on the socio-economic and political implications of design and brands and how they define “taste” as a concept (a luxury brand logo can alter how a product is perceived). Dieter Rams “ten principles of design” and their impact on vast ranges of products are also recorded.

Top: Vespa Clubman (1946), Corradino d`Ascanio, Piaggio. Bottom: Valentine Typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King

One gains a broader understanding of design’s relationship with functionality, the evolution of design and the nostalgic appeal of dated design.

The conclusion of the tour is marked by an interactive workshop that revolves around the positive impact design has had on the lives of people with disabilities, specifically the visually impaired.

For more information on the exhibition or to schedule a visit, you can go here.