Designer Maker User has been designed by Studio Myerscough and curated by Alex Newson, with the aim of creating a space that explores the reciprocal relationship between designers and consumers.
Studio Myerscough has worked with exhibition curator Alex Newson for the last five years on the permanent exhibition space, which features a hand-picked selection of the Design Museum’s 8,000-strong product archive. The consultancy was chosen to complete the project after winning a competitive pitch.
The space also features a crowd-sourced wall of selected designs submitted by visitors and Design Museum fans through social media, which aims to break down boundaries between designer and consumer, says Newson. This wall will alternate products frequently, as more people submit their ideas.
Product exhibits include objects such as the London 2012 Olympic Torch, the Walkman, iPhone models and Valentine typewriters.
It also includes a look at London’s transport systems and accompanying wayfinding systems, and aims to include more abstract design concepts which challenge the idea of what design is.
Rather than being split into sectors such as graphics, furniture and product design, the exhibition is divided into three sections – designer, user and maker. The space has not been split into very distinctive or separate sections, but is “layered”, says Myerscough, so that visitors can see through into other spaces and exhibits wherever they stand.
“The spaces make connections with each other – you can look at a computer, then there’ll be another thing behind it, and another thing behind that,” she says. “But you can also look at each thing in isolation.”
The Designer segment looks at the thought processes of the designer, while Maker looks at the evolution of manufacturing products and User explores the interaction between consumers and the designs they experience in everyday life.
The ‘Designer’ segment of the exhibition is based on the phrase by the Italian architect Ernesto Rogers: from the spoon to the city. It explores the ways in which the thought-process of the designer informs projects at every scale, from the smallest to the largest. David Mellor’s traffic light, Kinneir and Calvert’s British road signage system and a 1:1 scale prototype for the new London tube train designed by PriestmanGoode will be on show.
In the ‘Maker’ section, the exhibition traces the evolution of manufacturing, from Thonet bentwood cafe chairs and Model T Ford cars to robotic arms, mass customisation and 3D printing. Everyday objects such as tennis balls as well as notable designs including the London 2012 Olympic Torch are presented at different stages of production.
A display on the ‘User’ explores the interaction between people and brands that have come to define the modern world. Features include a vinyl player from Dieter Rams, landmark pieces from Sony including the Walkman and the Minidisc, the Apple iPhone and the Olivetti Valentine typewriter; all demonstrating how design has changed how we communicate.