Design 1900 – Now


The V&A presents a new permanent gallery; Design 1900 – Now. Exploring how design shapes and is shaped by how we live, work, travel, communicate and consume.

Housed within the museum’s former 20th Century Gallery, this newly curated space brings together leading design objects alongside the first redisplay of V&A’s celebrated Rapid Response Collecting programme since its founding in 2014.

As part of the gallery, new acquisitions will go on display for the first time at the V&A, including Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s iconic British road signage system, Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book, Nike’s Nigeria football shirt for the 2018 World Cup. A series of new Rapid Response Collecting objects will also go on display marking one of the most disruptive and impactful years in recent memory. From 3D-printed door openers to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus to British Vogue front covers portraying three key workers, a repurposed snorkel mask. The object on display also aims to spark the imagination of children and young people, creating connections between in-school learning and what is on display.

Design 1900 – Now will also provide the focus for V&A Innovate 2021-22, the museum’s annual flagship National Schools Challenge. A section on Automation and Labour explores the changing nature of the workplace from office chairs to Amazon warehouse robots. An inexpensive IKEA lamp designed for shipping across the world and new technologies including 3D printing examine the potential futures of global mass-manufacturing. Design’s ongoing role in shaping and reacting to global issues is examined in Crisis and Conflict. From Better Shelter’s flat-pack refugee shelter to the Progress Pride flag to Chris Ofili’s print reflecting on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, creative practitioners are often at the forefront in responding to global events whilst also encouraging a new sense of belonging and community. Exhibits also include a robotic lawnmower, a self-assemble 3D printer and the first-generation iPhone.

With an estimated contribution of over £110 billion to the UK economy, the creative industries are essential to the future growth and sustainability of the world. Design 1900 – Now examines how we reached the here and now, with the aim of inspiring the designers and creatives of the future.
Design 1900 – Now is opening on the 19th of June.

Image: V&A Press Office

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