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HAPPENINGText: Alistair Beattie

Someone emailed me recently to complain about my review of Game On. I was secretly delighted, I took it as ultimate proof that anyone actually reads these articles. My own personal SETI project. Anyway, his point was that I was light and fluffy, typical of the mainstream journo ticker-tape, not personal enough and far too forgiving of the hyperbolic PR whimsy that we all get fed ad nauseam. Deeply encouraged by this, I got into my car and headed over the water to the Design Museum in London.

Tower Bridge was resplendent in a fuddy-duddy kind of a way (the tourists like it anyway). Our Mayor’s new hideout, a dumbed-down Fosterised echo of Future Systems work, is squat and diligently fashionable. The Thames itself was a corpulent brown snake, as it ever was. Ancient, Victorian, Modern and Post-Modern(-ish) all bumping uglies in close proximity. A suitable environment for considering the ever shifting balance of power between convention and anarchic rejection of what are perceived as old limitations.

Matthew Carter

The exhibition I was there to see has been curated by graphic designer Christian Kusters and design historian Emily King, editors of the critically-acclaimed book, Restart: New Systems in Graphic Design (Thames & Hudson), Design Now – Graphics promises to give an insight into the cutting edge of current design practice through the work of an interesting selection of international artists. The emphasis is often on experimental, editorial work but balances this with client projects where relevant, if only to show that clients can be an inspiration and not an irritation. I think we all need reminding of this sometimes.

The Design Museum is weird. Despite best intentions , it always comes across as being a bit crap. The poor relation in London’s glittering family of stellar Museums.

The Design Museum

It’s a real shame that the exhibition was in the upper gallery, those glass cases are especially unforgiving when displaying printed materials. The selection of images from M/M’s Yohji Yamamoto work were crudely hung posters curling up at the bottom like yesterday’s sandwiches. Remember guys, this is the Design Museum.

Andrew Blauvelt

That said, it’s a great shame that the space isn’t bigger and couldn’t hold a wider selection of the projects contained in the excellent book. Among the designers featured are the US typographer Matthew Carter and Andrew Blauvelt, head of the award-winning design studio at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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