What can I say – it’s 2014 already. Last year was quite busy with both participating in 100% Design in September and project work, so very little time to see what was going on in the wider world.
Apart from 100% Design only had the energy to see Decorex at the Design festival in September which has now relocated to Kensington Gardens – very convenient! As I was suffering from exhibition overload, Decorex was a sprint rather than a marathon, so only really stopped to chat to a few suppliers I already know like CTO lighting, who have some great new products. Though I did manage to spot Fine cell work who are a charity training and selling embroidery by prisoners from all over the UK.
Also in the autumn and again in the park we made it to the first week of the opening of the new Zaha Hadid project. (I seem to be becoming a fan). The new extension is to form the Magazine Restaurant and the Sackler art gallery. We enjoyed the gallery which was exhibiting the Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas “Today we reboot the planet”. His work exploring modern themes in clay would take more than the time I had to get to grips with. It was only later that I realized that the floor and clay walls were the work of the artist and not the designer. Then on to the restaurant. I have walked past this building a few times and I am still not sure about the junction between the original 1805 gun powder store (as was) and the ultra modern restaurant extension but the interior is a great space for a park full of light and drama, though as I am only 5 ft nothing I thought the bar was a bit high so I felt a bit like Alice in her wonderland. The central kitchen is very brave as the chefs are always on view – lets hope Gordon Ramsey doesn’t do a guest spot.
Now I am a member of Tate Modern which apparently is the most visited gallery in the world!! I have taken to visiting the V&A on Friday evenings instead. Popped in to see the Jameel prize – an International award for contemporary Art inspired by Islamic tradition. The winning entry was impressive, but I thought some of the runners up were even better, particularly the concrete carpet with an Arabic font designed by Nada Debs who is actually a Tokyo born furniture designer based in Beirut. I was also astounded by the intricacy of the works by Waqa Khan from Pakistan- drawings built up of thousands of tiny dots marks and lines that can only be seen with a magnifying glass.
We did try Tate Britain on a Friday evening but there were 6,000 others queuing to get in as well so back to the V&A where it is generally quieter and a second visit to the excellent installation Tomorrow by Elmgreen and Dragset. The exhibition is splashed all over the front of the museum on a giant hoarding in the guise of a property advert (apparently there have been a number of offers to buy the fictional property) which despite being 2 stores high I didn’t even notice – well it was dark. The installation is set in the textile galleries which were a major trek to find but worth it . The artists had put together a well chosen collection of Furniture Art and accessories from the museum mixed in with some of their own pieces to create the essence of the life of a fictional Architect Mr Swann with an interest in the contemporary but obviously past his glory days. Great stuff.
So Now on to 2014. It’s a struggle to overcome Xmas inertia and venture out into the grey and damp London streets, but I will be making the effort to get to the arffordable Art Fair in Islington today. As ever there are a whole raft of great things to see and do including a major Pop Art exhibition at the Barbican and looking forward to Giorgio de Chirico at the Estorick in N1. I may make it to Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the Barbican, though I think I may just give the Wedding dresses at the V&A a miss!