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    Design Museum's Objects of Desire exhibition explores “what surrealism is and why it matters now”

    Curator Kathryn Johnson explains the story behind surrealism and its impact on design in this video Dezeen produced for the Design Museum about its latest exhibition.

    Titled Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today, the exhibition features almost 350 surrealist objects spanning fashion, furniture and film.
    The exhibition, which was curated by Johnson, explores the conception of the surrealist movement in the 1920s and the impact it has had on the design world ever since.
    The exhibition features nearly 350 pieces of art, design, photography, fashion and filmIt features some of the most recognised surrealist paintings and sculptures, including pieces by Salvador Dalí, Man Ray and Leonora Carrington, as well as work from contemporary artists and designers such as Dior and Björk.
    “Surrealism was born out of the horrors of the first world war, in a period of conflict and uncertainty, and it was a creative response to that chaos,” Johnson said in the video.

    “It saw in the fracturing of the world an opportunity to shake things up, to do things differently, to think differently, and to acknowledge the subconscious and its importance for our everyday lives.”
    The exhibition explores the beginnings of the surrealist movement in the 1920sThe exhibition explores surrealism’s impact on contemporary design, with nearly a third of the objects on show dating from the past 50 years.
    “We want to start a conversation about what surrealism is and why it matters now,” Johnson said.
    The name of the exhibition references the importance of the concept of desire within the movement. In the video, Johnson explained that the surrealist movement began with poetry, with French poet and author André Breton penning the first surrealist manifesto.
    Breton described desire as “being the sole motivating force in the world” and “the only master humans should recognise.”
    The exhibition’s name refers to the importance of the concept of desire within the movementThe exhibition is segmented into four themes. It begins with an introduction to surrealism from the 1920s and explores the influence of the movement on everyday objects, as well as its pivotal role in the evolution of design throughout the twentieth century.
    Another part of the exhibition explores surrealism and interior design, since early protagonists of the movement were interested in capturing the aura or mystery of everyday household objects.
    Objects on display include Marcel Duchamp’s Porte-Bouteilles, a sculpture made from bottle racks, and Man Ray’s Cadeau/Audace, a traditional flat iron with a single row of 14 nails.
    Early surrealists were interested in capturing the mystery of ordinary household objectsThe exhibition moves along to the 1940s, where designers started using surrealist art for ideas to create surprising and humorous objects. Items borne from this include Sella by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and Jasper Morrison’s Handlebar Table.
    A key section of the exhibition includes a spotlight on surrealism’s significance in the UK, documenting the partnership between Salvador Dalí and the British poet and art patron Edward James, whose collaboration resulted in some of the most notable works of surrealism such as the Mae West Lips sofas and the Lobster Telephone.
    The exhibition features a number of pieces by Dalí including the Lobster TelephoneAnother section of the exhibition examines surrealism and the body in relation to the human form, sexuality and desire.
    Included in this section are Sarah Lucas’ Cigarette Tits, in which the language of tabloids is used to expose stereotypes of female sexuality, and Najla el Zein’s Hay, which highlights the sensory pleasures provided by everyday materials.
    Photographs, vintage magazine covers and fashion items are on display to show the impact of surrealism on the fashion industry starting from the 1930s.
    The exhibition features fashion and objects exploring the human form, sexuality and desireAccording to Johnson, “surrealism attracted more women than any other movement since romanticism.” As a result, she wanted to ensure there was a wide representation of female artists and designers in the exhibition.
    “I think that was partly because of concerns about the body, about sexuality, and how the domestic were key themes of surrealism from the beginning,” she said.
    “But those themes were approached in a very original and critical way by the women associated with the movement – some of whom would not have considered themselves surrealists but were in dialogue with those ideas.”
    Surrealism attracted more women than any other movement since romanticism, according to JohnsonThe final section of the exhibition looks at the surrealist preoccupation with challenging the creative process itself and how this resulted in original works of art and design.
    According to Johnson, contemporary designers are still using ideas from early surrealism, such as welcoming chance into the creative process, or using techniques like automatism.
    “The surrealists try to write and draw without thinking, and we see in the exhibitions and studies where they are drawing in an automatic way. But now, of course, contemporary designers have other tools to use to try and bypass the known and the conventional,” Johnson said.
    The exhibition is on show at the Design Museum until 19 February 2023An example of this in the exhibition is Sketch Chair by design studio Front, which was produced using motion capture technology to translate the movement of drawing in mid-air into a 3D-printed form.
    “The surrealists knew that changing the mind would change the material world and we’re now at this frightening but thrilling juncture where we’re creating a computerised intelligence that can be creative,” Johnson said.
    Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today opened at the Design Museum on 14 October 2022 and is on show until 19 February 2o23.
    Tickets are available at
    Partnership content
    This video was produced by Dezeen for Design Museum as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen’s partnership content here.

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    Ginza Ecological Map designed by Hakuten presents the “hidden story of Ginza”

    Design studio Hakuten has created a three-dimensional map of Ginza, Tokyo, that presents the ecology that exists in the district.

    The Ginza Ecological Map, which was featured in the Japanese makeup brand Shiseido’s Hakuten’s window, was designed to “carefully express the impression of the location and the history of the city, with a hidden story of Ginza”.
    The map showcased the local ecology in the areaIt spotlighted the natural elements found throughout the district, including samples of trees, plants, insects and earth, with the intention of enhancing the local community’s knowledge of its district’s ecology. Each item was presented in one of 72 windows – similarly to how scientific specimens are exhibited in museums.
    The exhibition ran throughout 2021 and across two themes: Organisms, which presented insects and cuttings from plants, and Earth – showcasing the diversity of soils found throughout the district.
    Parts of the glothistle plant were arranged in a clock-like motif to represent the district’s Wako clock tower”We care­fully displayed this ecology in the window as if they were scientific specimens,” said Hakuten.

    “The exhibition ran throughout the year across two different ecological themes – Organisms and Earth – and brought to light a new and beautiful Ginza that had not been seen before in the form of the Ginza Ecology Map.”
    Ginkgo biloba trees were planted in Ginza in 1906The materials were collected during a number of fieldwork studies in addition to the knowledge gained from speaking to people local to Ginza. Once collected, the items were exhibited in creative ways with the aim of becoming a tool to communicate the connection between Ginza’s natural world and society.
    For example, the plant named glothistle was collected from under the city’s Wako clock tower, and as part of the exhibition was displayed in a clock-like motif to represent it.

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    In addition, the district’s ginkgo biloba trees were planted in 1906, and according to the designers, they represent a “turning point for modernisation in the city”.
    As a nod to the tree’s heritage in the district, images of Ginza’s buildings were printed onto the collected ginkgo tree leaves as part of the exhibition.
    The exhibition showcased a number of plants and insects”Unlike most window displays that show objects and installations that only suit its occasion, not only did Ginza Ecological Map provide a new perspective of Ginza city, but through research from local residents it also expanded into a communication tool between the city and the people,” said Hakuten.
    “By looking at the usually unseen ecology that exists in a metropolis, we were able to rethink the relationship between the city, people, and nature in an attempt to approach a more sustainable society.”
    Earth was collected as part of the exhibitionAs part of the Earth theme, the colour of the soil across the district was documented, including samples collected from sidewalk ditches and from around various plants such as dogwood and camellia.
    The exhibition also shed light on creating a number of creative resources from the city’s soil – including pottery and crayons – and clothing dyed using local plant’s pigments.
    The map featured in the Japanese brand Shiseido’s windowAccording to the studio, the pandemic provided the opportunity to reflect on the human-nature relationship as Ginza was “emptied” because of the pandemic.
    The project was conceived of this change, and aimed to rethink the district’s approach towards creating a society more mindful of enhancing and protecting its nature.
    The exhibition also presented the ways in which local plant pigments can be used as textile dye”In Covid-19 where we were provided with more opportunities to deeply reflect upon the global environment, this project allowed us to rethink the relationship between the city, people, and nature in an attempt to approach a more sustainable society,” said Hakuten.
    Ginza Ecological Map has been shortlisted in the exhibition design category at this year’s Dezeen Awards alongside, Weird Sensation Feels Good – The World of ASMR, Greenwood Rising: Black Wall Street History Center exhibition and Journey of the Pioneers.

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    Journey of the Pioneers exhibition presents the world in 2071

    German studio Atelier Brueckner has created an immersive exhibition at the Museum of the Future in Dubai that aims to investigate the world in 2071.

    Named Journey of the Pioneers, the permanent exhibition was created for the recently opened Museum of the Future, which was designed by local studio Killa Design.
    Atelier Brueckner split the exhibition, which was shortlisted for this year’s Dezeen Awards, into three sections that aim to investigate what the world may look like 50 years from now. The sections focus on life in space, bioengineering developments and the future of well-being.
    The exhibition’s first district contains a space stationAccording to Atelier Brueckner, each district was designed using different materials and methods to represent their distinct but interconnected narratives.
    The first district focuses on life in a space station, the second on an organisation that aims to regenerate endangered ecosystems, and the final district examines the future developments of well-being rituals.

    “The experience touches on subjects and narratives that are relevant in the present day and foreseen to be still the challenges that we will face in the future,” said Atelier Brueckner.
    “The experience is both informative and transformative and calls on the visitors to embark upon an expedition to a future for which they will, through individual choices, become part of a collective effort to create a better future for all humanity.”
    The second district is named The LibraryThe first district presents the OSS Hope space station – the “largest man-made object in space”. Within the exhibition, visitors can look out from “space” to see a digital image depicting the Earth 50 years from now.
    During the immersive experience, visitors are “recruited” to undertake a fictitious mission aligned to the space station’s overall aim – “to use the sun’s energy to provide power for mankind by harvesting it from the moon and then transmitting it down to the Earth”.
    As a nod to its futuristic theme, the exhibition’s surfaces were 3D-printed, according to Atelier Brueckner.
    The Library presents a range of organisms, such as single-cell organisms, plants and mammalsThe second district is named the HEAL Institute – an organisation that uses bioengineering to help regenerate damaged ecosystems.
    Also included is a “digital Amazon”, which intends to showcase how life in the rainforest is interconnected.
    “In ‘the Forest’, visitors gaze upon a majestic Ceiba tree at the sound of rain, as thousands of dancing point clouds overlay the scenery with the choreographed, but invisible life, that infuses the Amazon,” said Atelier Brueckner.
    This district also features The Library, which includes 2,400 laser-engraved crystal jars that represent different species. This includes single-cell organisms, plants and mammals, which will either be alive or extinct by 2071.
    The organisms presented in the second district will alive or extinct by 2071The third and final district is described by Atelier Brueckner as “the space where the pioneers encounter themselves”. It aims to be a space where visitors can reconnect to their senses while exploring what the future of well-being will look like in an increasingly technological world.
    The district includes a number of therapies and treatments using technologies, such as “Movement Therapy” where visitors can explore and discover the benefit of dance. Additional therapeutic areas in the space include Grounding, Connection, and Feeling.
    The district also includes “The Centre”, which is designed as a space for relaxation and contemplation, and Atelier Brueckner chose earth and clay-like tones on the district’s walls to be in keeping with its theme.
    The final district explores a number of therapies including Movement Therapy”The design approach for the whole experience was an exercise in the creation of suspension of disbelief, crafting convincing environments through the choice of materials and the overall spatial design, and through the intricate score-like staging of the various narrative & sensorial components,” said Atelier Brueckner.
    “With moments of tension and moments of release, rhythmic crescendos and climaxes, and phases of decompression and contemplation.”
    The designers chose warm, earthy colours to complement the final districtIn addition to the main exhibition, the museum includes a space showcasing future innovations and products, in addition to a space with an “immersive and engaging landscape dedicated to children”.
    The exhibition’s design was created in collaboration with Marshmallow Laser Feast, Jason Bruges Studios, Galerija 12, Altspace, Framestore, Superflux, Emilie Baltz, Deep Local and Certain Measures.
    Journey of the Pioneers been shortlisted in the exhibition design category at this year’s Dezeen Awards alongside Ginza Ecological Map, Weird Sensation Feels Good – The World of ASMR and Greenwood Rising: Black Wall Street History Center exhibition.

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    Kate Byron designs modernist Don't Worry Darling set as “a playful and debaucherous take on the 1950s”

    Production designer Kate Byron used vintage “treasures” and referenced key modernist architecture to create the set of psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, which was shot in California’s Palm Springs.

    Byron drew on the architecture and interior style of the many modernist buildings that dominate the landscape in the desert city to create Victory – a fictional, utopian 1950s-style society where the film takes place.
    Katie Byron referenced modernist architecture for the film”We wanted to build a playful and debaucherous take on the 1950s, when there was this illustrious progressive, mid-century modern movement happening,” Byron told Dezeen.
    “The world of Victory is supposed to be alluring, it’s supposed to be beautiful and sultry and sumptuous and opulent.”
    It was shot in Palm Springs, a Californian city famous for its modernist architectureDirected by actor and director Olivia Wilde, Don’t Worry Darling follows fiery couple Alice and Jack – played by British actor Florence Pugh and musician and actor Harry Styles – as they go from living in an idealistic paradise to a troubled world fraught with secrets, control and manipulation.

    The characters move across a quintessential Palm Springs backdrop of low-slung buildings with clean lines by architects including Richard Neutra, Harold Bissner Junior and Albert Frey.
    Kaufmann House was one of the filming locationsSeveral scenes, such as a cocktail party hosted by the leader of Victory which took place in Neutra’s Kaufmann House, were shot in real modernist buildings, while the home of protagonists Alice and Jack was built in a Los Angeles studio.
    “We’re really lucky in California to have access to this architecture and in my history of being an architecture student and a production designer, I’ve gotten to visit a lot of these houses in person,” Byron said.
    “I was interested in Neutra, but also Frey was a huge inspiration for us because of that playful wholesomeness that he embodied,” she said.
    Alice and Jack’s house is filled with locally sourced propsByron, who studied architecture at University of California, Berkeley, threaded more subtle modernist details into the interiors of Don’t Worry Darling through devices such as colour.
    “A colour we used quite a bit was Frey’s favourite colour – this Frey blue – which is like a robin’s-egg blue that he puts in all of his buildings,” explained Byron.
    “There’s also a colour that Kaufman House has quite a bit of; Neutra put this really, really, really dark brown that almost feels black, but it has this warmth to it,” she continued. “We weaved that throughout the film as well.”
    Byron used lots of glass and mirrors throughout the setByron sourced vintage products from shops and prop houses in LA for Alice and Jack’s home, which recalls “cookie-cutter” houses – rows of identical homes found in idyllic depictions of 1950s suburbia.
    Much of the furniture seen was built from scratch, in part because the film was shot during the autumn of 2020 when many vendors were unavailable or had long lead times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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    “When you’re in Palm Springs, they just have these antique stores and even in thrift stores and Facebook marketplace you can find really special things,” the designer recalled.
    “That’s also one of the most amazing things about Los Angeles – there are infinite prop houses here so we shopped quite a bit at all the local prop houses,” she continued.
    “The television in Alice and Jack’s house is from this vendor called RC Vintage, which is just like a treasure trove place of antique electronics.”
    Much of the furniture was made from scratchOther smaller references were embedded into Byron’s material choices, primarily glass, stone and brick.
    Meanwhile, the designer paid homage to Neutra’s storage cabinets, which the production team filled with items such as business cards, cleaning supplies and photographs of Alice and Jack to make the set feel more real for the actors.
    “Keeping with Neutra as our design inspiration, the house is designed with a lot of storage in mind – we wanted all of this stuff to be cleanly kept behind doors,” Byron said.
    The desert setting is designed to look like a utopiaByron hoped that by incorporating playful elements throughout the set she could “subvert” the sense of normalcy in Victory and play with the audience’s expectations of a thriller.
    “The thriller follows a formula often, and I thought it could be really great to just subvert that,” she said.

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    “I think the level of play helps viewers feel like they want to be there and if it wasn’t for the playful aesthetic, I think we would be expecting something to go wrong,” she added.
    Don’t Worry Darling is not the only film that draws on a key architectural movement to inform its set. Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs film sets were heavily informed by metabolist architecture, while Black Panther’s “voluptuous” sets recalled works by architect Zaha Hadid.
    The photography is courtesy of Warner Bros.

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    Mixed Seats aims to show “what a chair could be”

    Designer Ali Shah Gallefoss invited 15 creatives to design their own interpretation of a chair that is suitable for a public space, all of which were presented as a recent exhibition in Oslo, Norway.

    Called Mixed Seats, the exhibition was curated by Shah Gallefoss and exhibition platform Pyton.
    Mixed Seats featured a series of concrete chairs including one by Henrik ØdegaardIt featured an installation of concrete chairs from Norwegian creatives including designers Henrik Ødegaard and Maja Pauline Bang Haugsgjerd, which were arranged in a cluster outside at a square next to Oslobukta shopping centre.
    The project stemmed from Pyton inviting the participants to a dinner party for which they were asked to design and bring their own chairs.
    Tron Meyer designed a blue chair while Jonas Løland made a stoolArchitect, designer and artist Tron Meyer created a textured blue seat with a chunky backrest while architect Jonas Løland offered a sandy-hued stool with three-pronged legs.

    “The chairs are individual suggestions for what a chair could be,” Shah Gallefoss told Dezeen.
    “They’re fun, bold, weird, serious, and playful, just like the group of individuals that made them.”
    Maja Pauline Bang Haugsgjerd created a swirling stoolWhile the creatives were free to add additional materials to their chairs, they were instructed to use concrete as their base material. The furniture was made at a collective workshop held in Drammen.
    Some of the offerings feature colour while others were kept simple, such as an ambiguous, rough concrete stool in the shape of a star or flower by designer Christoph Boulmer.
    Spindly wooden legs make up Kevin Kurang’s abstract stool”The variation in shapes and sizes made an appealing composition,” reflected Shah Gallefoss.
    “When they arrived at the square at Oslobukta they looked like small ants, with the huge Munch museum in the background.”
    Christoph Boulmer designed a flower-shaped chairShah Gallefoss himself contributed a chair design to the exhibition with a squat concrete seat attached to a sculptural metal backrest.
    After the exhibition was dismantled, the curator explained that each of the chairs has travelled to a new location to be repurposed in various ways.
    Shah Gallefoss contributed his own design to the exhibitionIndustrial designer Falke Svatun created seating made from two abstract cylindrical concrete components that has now been placed in Oslo’s Sentralen restaurant while product designer Bjørn van de Berg’s stool featured at Stockholm Design Week.
    “It is [often said] that Norwegians don’t like to sit next to another person on the bus,” joked Shah Gallefoss.
    “But the majority of outdoor furniture [created] is benches that invite people to sit down and disturb your peace and quiet. That made me think about personal space in a public setting.”

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    As well as exploring suitable seating for public spaces, another key objective of Mixed Seats was to showcase and encourage multidisciplinary creativity across Norway, according to Shah Gallefoss.
    “I hope that by introducing fifteen creatives [to each other], the exhibition will plant a seed that will grow and strengthen collaborative efforts between the different disciplines, and in the end, build a stronger design industry,” he concluded.
    Two cylindrical components make up Falke Svatun’s chairOther recent chair designs include a chubby furniture collection by Holloway Li and Uma Objects that was presented at London Design Festival and a chair made of plastic rubbish by design studio Space Available and DJ Peggy Gou.
    Mixed Seats was on display as part of Oslo Runway in Norway, which took place from 23 to 28 August in Oslo, Norway. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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    London Fire Brigade “celebrates bravery” with exhibition marking launch of updated typeface

    The London Fire Brigade has unveiled its updated typeface designed by Studio Sutherl& and The Foundry Types at the Running Towards exhibition of graphic artworks informed by the organisation’s design heritage.

    The Running Towards exhibition took place at the Shoreditch Fire Station during the London Design Festival, with visitors entering through the building’s big red shutters into a display of artworks created by UK designers.
    The exhibition took place at Shoreditch Fire StationThe new Fire Brigade Sans typeface, created by Studio Sutherl& and The Foundry Types, was displayed on the exterior of Shoreditch Fire Station.
    Its design was informed by the lettering of old fire engines and on the facade, the typeface was printed in the red, yellow and gold colours synonymous with fire engines.
    Studio Sutherl& designed London Fire Brigade’s new typefaceTo celebrate the typeface, London Fire Brigade collaborated with communications agency KesselsKramer, writer Thomas Sharp, Studio Sutherl& and carpet manufacturer Britons on the exhibition, which saw designers create their own interpretations of the organisation’s design heritage.

    Among the pieces on show were graphic interpretations of the Danger Risk of Fire safety sign, a bespoke carpet with a pattern informed by the universal fire exit sign and firefighting objects and items from Shoreditch Fire Station’s own collection.
    London Fire Brigade’s typeface Fire Brigade Sans was featured on postersKesselsKramer described the showcase as “a celebration of London Fire Brigade’s bravery, aiming to inspire that very same spirit within ourselves.”
    The studio invited 25 London-based designers to recreate the fire safety symbol for their display, titled ​​Warning: Risk of Fire.
    “It felt appropriate that for London Fire Brigade’s inaugural Design Festival exhibition, a piece of graphic design synonymous with the fire service became the focus,” said KesselsKramer.
    Franz Lang’s design tells the story of her grandma’s catPresented on triangular signs, each artwork was designed to tell a story of firefighting bravery. Graphic artist Jimmy Turrell’s interpretation was dedicated to his father who was a firefighter.
    Illustrator Franz Lang’s entry represented the story of her grandma’s cat, who was rescued from a tree by the fire brigade.

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    “This is such an iconic location for an art show,” said Lauren Coutts, art director at KesselsKramer. “To get a rare glimpse into a fire station is very exciting in itself so to then be able to celebrate bravery here, in so many forms, feels very special.”
    Britons created a bespoke wool carpet for The Running Towards exhibition, which features a pattern informed by the universal fire exit symbol.
    Britons designed a carpet to display at The Running Towards exhibitionBurgundy and navy chevrons repeat along the length of the carpet with arrows and stick figures that reference the fire exit sign. According to Britons, the carpet is made from wool to exemplify the material’s naturally fire-retardant properties.
    “As a material, wool contains a higher water and nitrogen content than other man-made fibres making it a naturally fire-retardant material,” said Britons.
    “Another benefit is that it does not emit smoke or fumes, often one of the main causes of serious health issues following a fire.”
    The exhibition showcased graphic posters in a colour palette that references fire enginesOther exhibitions that took place during London Design Festival include a collection of wooden objects made from a dying ash tree and a sculptural stone installation that references Stonehenge.
    The photography is courtesy of the London Fire Brigade.
    The Running Towards took place between 20 and 24 September as part of London Design Festival. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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    Exhibition dedicated to the work of Yinka Ilori opens at London's Design Museum

    Brightly coloured chairs and personal memorabilia feature in the Parables for Happiness exhibition showcasing the works of London-based designer Yinka Ilori at the Design Museum.

    Opened during London Design Festival, the exhibition is the first major display of Ilori’s vast number of vibrant designs, including graphic murals, furniture and public installations.
    Parables of Happiness showcases a wide selection of Ilori’s designsIlori’s designs are exhibited alongside pieces that influenced his work and objects representing his Nigerian heritage, including Nigerian textiles adorned with colourful geometric patterns and a traditional Dùndún drum that visitors can play.
    The show also includes models of some of the 80 sculptural chairs that Ilori has designed.
    Ilori started his career designing chairsOne of Ilori’s chair designs is presented in a line-up of iconic and recognisable chairs with the aim of giving context to his work. Included in the display is the RCP2 chair by Jane Atfield, who was Ilori’s tutor at university.

    “One of the reasons I started designing was because of a brief given by Jane Atfield called Our Chair,” Ilori told Dezeen. “Purely because of her brief is why I started designing chairs when I finished uni.”
    A chair designed by David Adjaye is exhibited alongside Ilori’s workAnother chair on display is the Washington Skeleton Side Chair designed by British-Ghanian architect David Adjaye, who Ilori credits with having “opened doors for designers like me”.
    “Over the years, my work has gained recognition for the strong use of colour, pattern and narrative that comes from my Nigerian heritage,” said Ilori. “However, it has often deviated from design trends and has been misunderstood”
    “This display charts my inspirations and creative journey as I transitioned from furniture design to community-driven public installations,” he continued.
    His work is influenced by Nigerian textilesVisitors to the exhibition can discover Ilori’s architectural projects through photographs, drawings and models including his Colour Palace pavilion, which was erected in Dulwich in 2019.
    Details of Ilori’s Launderette of Dreams – an installation that involved reimagining a launderette in London as a children’s play zone for Lego – are displayed. A lego chair that formed part of the Launderette of Dreams installation is also on display at the show.

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    “A fast-rising star of contemporary design, Yinka Ilori’s unique aesthetic – drawing on Nigerian textiles with a nod to postmodernism – employs a mix of visual references that come together to inspire joy,” said the exhibition’s curator Priya Khanchandani.
    “This display is a testament to how cultural fusions, frissons and juxtapositions can be rich fuel for creativity and for generating more inclusive architectures in the city.”
    Chairs and details of the designer’s public installations are included in the exhibitionAs well as showcasing Ilori’s bright, playful designs and examples of his design influences, the exhibition features some of the designer’s personal items.
    Visitors can see his name badge from working at Marks and Spencer and a pair of paint-splattered trousers that Ilori wore while painting a number of his graphic murals.
    Ilori is known for his use of colour and graphic representation”I’m a huge believer in memory making and storytelling – how do we relive or revisit memories?” said Ilori.
    In Parables of Happiness, Ilori hopes to “open up new conversations about design in the UK and internationally, to see how other people view design around the world”.
    “I am truly humbled and honoured to have my work exhibited at such an early stage in my career and hope the display provides inspiration for the next generation who might feel they don’t fit into the status quo,” the designer continued.
    Known for his colourful designs, Ilori has recently completed a pavilion in Berlin with a canopy made up of brightly coloured translucent disks and transformed his London studio and office with bold hues indicative of his signature art style.
    The photography is by Felix Speller.
    Parables for Happiness takes place from 15 September 2022 to 25 June 2023 at the Design Museum in London. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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    Ten designers create products from a single dying ash tree for SCP

    Furniture company SCP has tasked a group of British designers including Faye Toogood and Sebastian Cox to craft objects from the wood of a tree infected with ash dieback disease for this year’s London Design Festival.

    The resulting pieces, ranging from furniture and lighting to decorative objects, are currently on display as part of the One Tree exhibition the brand is hosting in its Shoreditch showroom.
    One Tree includes works by Moe Redish (above) and Wilkinson & Rivera (top)The project saw ten designers make use of a tree on SCP founder Sheridan Coakley’s property, which had to be felled after being infected with a highly destructive fungal disease called ash dieback. Eventually, this is expected to kill around 80 per cent of ash trees in the UK.
    “Most fallen ash trees are getting just cut down and used for firewood,” Coakley told Dezeen. “But rather than burning the tree or letting it rot, we wanted to capture the carbon that’s in the wood by making something out of it.”
    Faye Toogood made an organic love seat from a tree forkA group of ten designers and makers, including Cox and Toogood alongside industrial designer Matthew Hilton, carpenter Poppy Booth and design duo Wilkinson & Rivera, was invited to observe the tree being felled in April 2022 and to select the pieces of timber they wanted to use.

    Toogood created a stool from the fork of the tree, which forms a natural love seat. This effect was highlighted by stripping off the bark of the wood but leaving its shape largely unadulterated.
    Flat facets allow the wood grain to become decoration in Sarah Kay’s piecesAlso making use of the thick, solid parts of the tree was designer and maker Sarah Kay, who chose to bisect a log to create a series of geometric side tables.
    The logs were given flat facets to highlight the gnarled grain of the wood. This swirling, almost psychedelic graining is also apparent in Wilkinson & Rivera’s three-seater bench.
    Poppy Booth’s cupboard is based on an abstract paintingHusband-and-wife duo Grant Wilkinson and Teresa River used rudimentary forms to construct the bench, allowing the grain of the wood to serve as decoration.
    Another furniture piece in the exhibition is a corner cupboard designed by Poppy Booth based on Black Square – an abstract painting by Russian-Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich from 1915.
    Mirroring the painting, the cupboard front features a square of blackened ash surrounded by a non-burnt frame. The piece is intended sit high up in the corner of a room to act as a kind of memorial for all the ash trees killed by the dieback.
    Max Bainbridge created a bench, vessels and wall pieceEast London designer Moe Redish created a series of glass vases and vessels, which were mouth-blown into natural voids in the wood made by birds, insects, weather damage and the fungus that causes ash dieback.
    Taking a similar approach, artist and craftsman Max Bainbridge chose to work with pieces of the tree that had apparent fissures, splits and raw edges, and turned them into a series of organically shaped vessels, a bench and a wall piece called Portrait of Ash.

    Two Kettles, No Sofa installation playfully explores tensions between cohabiting couples

    A number of designers took a more sculptural approach, with Oscar Coakley creating a giant wall fixture in the shape of an acid-house smiley while Hilton designed a helical Jenga-like sculpture made from repeating elements of carved wood.
    Cox, who took charge of cutting up the ash tree using his portable sawmill and dried all of the wood for the exhibition in his South London studio, created two lights using the branches that were left behind after all the other designers had made their selections.
    Long sections from the tree’s branches were used for Sebastian Cox’s lightsThe branches were cut into thin, raw-edge slivers and fashioned into triangular prisms to act as shades for a pendant and standing lamp.
    The pieces are being presented as part of SCP’s Almost Instinct showcase at LDF and are all for sale, with the aim of putting a selection of the items into production in the future.
    Oscar Coakley created a wall fixture in the shape of a smiley”I think this is a project that might continue,” Sheridan Coakley said. “There are other trees that have got to come down, why not make something with them?”
    This year’s LDF saw a slew of brands open their showrooms and run events, many returning for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
    All the pieces in SCP’s show were made using wood from this ash treeOther projects on show as part of the festival include an installation by architecture studio Stanton Williams that was informed by Stonehenge and Shakespearian theatres, and an exhibition of furniture by James Shaw that pokes fun at the tensions that arise between cohabiting couples.
    Photography is by Robbie Wallace.
    One Tree is on show between 17 and 25 September as part of London Design Festival. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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