21 April 2018 – 27 January 2019, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Curator: Edwina Ehrmanr
Fashioned from Nature explores the fabric of fashion - from flowers and insects embroidered on fine linen and sumptuous silks glinting with metal threads to textured rayon animal prints and fascinating new materials made from waste. It celebrates fashion’s innovation and creativity, and the inspiration it finds in nature, but draws attention to its heavy footprint on the planet. Fashion’s processes and insatiable demand for raw materials come at considerable environmental cost, contributing to air and water pollution and the loss of flora and fauna across the globe. Spanning 400 years Fashioned from Nature shows how and why this has happened and the ways in which today’s fashion designers are rising to the challenge to create a better industry that respects and protects the earth and all its inhabitants.
The exhibition tells this story through dress and accessories drawn from the V&A’s collection and loans from leading designers such as Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon and Ermenegildo Zegna. Natural history specimens, taxidermy, film and images add context. A specially commissioned soundscape brings nature into the exhibition space in another way gradually merging birdsong with the sounds of machinery to suggest the increasing impact of human activity as technology advanced and the population grew.
Throughout, Fashioned from Nature highlights the role of campaigners in raising awareness of the negative impact of fashion, from the founding members of the Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds to Katharine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood. Importantly, it focuses on solutions and draws attention to the exciting interdisciplinary research taking place today which is driving the development of cleaner, less wasteful processes and materials.
At a time when environmental protection and the use and disposal of precious resources are hotly debated topics, the exhibition provides a forum for discussion. Fashioned from Nature asks what we can learn from the past in order to design a better fashion industry for the future. It not only challenges designers to create clothes that are both beautiful and responsible, but also encourages us all to consider more carefully our own clothes.
Designing Craft Crafting Design began with a 4 day workshop held at Werkraum Bregenzerwald, bringing together students from the Royal College of Art, London and craftspeople working in this alpine region. The project explores the collaborative relationship between craftsperson and designer and the shared processes of craft and design.The students at Royal College of Art have been urged to reflect on their position as designers in an urban context, in relation to and often in contrast with, the practices of their collaborators at Werkraum Bregenzerwald, who work within a regional craft community.
The intersection of these young designers and master craftspeople, and the experiences of the Designing Craft Crafting Design team, are told through a journey-led exhibition. Visitors are prompted to relive experiences shared by the designers and curators in Bregenzerwald, shown through the collaborative outcomes, in three thematic stages. Beginning with pieces inspired by the imposing landscape of Bregenzerwald and the region's rich material culture, the visitors will then be introduced to works that explore the philosophy behind the makers’ craft. As understanding between the collaborators grew, visitors will witness, how they challenged and reimagines each other's work through new processes and outcomes.
Craftspeople of Werkraum: Tischlerei Bereuter, Felder Metall, Mohr Polster, Strolz Leuchten, Claus Schwarzmann, Oberhauser & Schedler and Figer Metall.
Designers: Adriaan De Groot, Drew Richards, Felix Pöttinger, Francesco Luigi Feltrin, Heather Kim, Hyunjin Son, Keren Wang, Milo Mcloughlin-Greening, Oliver Burgess, Philipp Schenk-Mischke & Sara Pagani Periti
Exhibition Design: Daniel Nikolovski
Graphic Design: Daniel Kozma
Organisers: Lucas Breuer, Daniel Kozma and Felix Pöttinger of Diaméter Collective
Film and Visuals: Barnabas Toth-Justh and Bálint Bíró
Exhibition partners: Thomas Geisler / Werkraum Bregenzerwald, Diaméter Collective and Royal College of Art
Hello Tomorrow Summit at CentQuatre, Paris, October 2017
ff Food Futures - BioDesign Challenge, White City Place, London, June 2017
An immersive sensorial experience that provides a new possibility in understanding alimentary bioavailability. By sonifying spectral data collected through molecular spectroscopy, infrared imaging and analytical chemistry, Food Symphony reveals the internal life of food.
Our design aims to bring new possibilities to sonify the internal life of food, such that people will be able to sense the energy of food, beyond their common usage of the sight, smell, and taste, in a range of audible experience rooted in scientific innovation.
Through molecular spectroscopy, infrared imaging and analytical chemistry, nutritional components could be decoded for each individual food object by placing it on our scanner plate. The data will then be re-interpreted into sound to reveal bioavailability in the specific food object in a consistent, music-like affair.
In the near future, we envision Food Symphony to be experienced in a public social setting, at which a table full of scanner plates could be used to reveal the importance of both biodiversity and bioavailability in food. It will be an engaging, shared experience between the participants through the discussion of their sonic discovery and the creation of their own symphony reflective of their choices of food.
The presence of Chinese women in the discourse around London urban and cultural history is readily neglected, often assumed to be restricted to theatrical and circus performers, or wives of working labour in Limehouse; but in fact, pioneering Chinese female architects, diplomats, activists, feminist writers, and doctors had resided in London as early as the interwar period, and led active social life in the public sphere. Fashion choices of these Chinese women have not been studied in great length, giving rise to a stereotyped racial filter to mainstream perception of Chinese bodies and dresses, both in the historiography of Chinese in London as well as how Chinese were perceived in the first few decades of the twentieth century. By investigating how these women negotiated their identities through cultural cross-dressing and portrait photography in a displaced urban environment, this research utilises design history to re-examine and reconstruct the currently ambiguous existence of Chinese elite women in London during the interwar period, reclaiming their place in the urban landscape.
Visual representation of photographs cannot be taken at face value as it is often performed with various agenda to achieve both westernisation and self-orientalisation, resistance to orientalism, or self-identification. The class and ethnic background and diasporic experience of the protagonists in the photographs, and their way of cultural cross-dressing pre-migration are inquired into, deconstructing the complexity of being 'modern Chinese women' in the Nanjing decade. The three thorough case studies of Madame Wellington Koo, Lu Bi-cheng, and Phyllis Lin’s act of cultural cross-dressing will be argued as a tool of rebellion against the stereotypical perception of Chinese women in London. Through fashion and portrait photography, they continually reinvented their de-ethnicised, transnational identities. Their way of taking ownership over their bodies and their existence in a foreign metropolis not only defied the expectations at the time, but also supplied an alternative imagination of local/global cultural exchange in a momentous narrative of history.
David Parr House - The Muse
Design Concept and Exhibition
David Parr House, Cambridge
The design of the bike surrounds the idea of palimpsest - material memory that has been superimposed and rewritten over and over. It embodies the threefold significance of the house: the design and craft of David Parr, generations of lived familial experiences, and its connection to the wider Cambridge community. With clear references to the house’s exterior, interior, and furniture, as well as the lived traces of Elsie and Alfred, the immersive, multi-layer nature of the house is transferred to the bike to be seen, heard, felt, revealed, and reproduced by people of all ages and backgrounds.