Yesterday I went to the Barbicans Pop Art Design exhibition and, as usual, the Barbican definitely didn’t disappoint. Pop Art is one of the more fun approachable art genres so I would definitely recommend people go visit the exhibition whether you’re familiar with Pop Art or not. It’s on until 9th February 2014- plenty of time! Perfect to brighten up dreary winter afternoons!
There were many artworks that I loved, but one of the stand out exhibits was actually a small flat packed paper jewellery kit by Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins.
It was exactly that- a paper kit which you assembled together to make pyramid form earrings. I just thought it was quite a different idea for jewellery- it’s not often you buy a piece of mass produced jewellery which you then have to assemble yourself. It made me wonder if perhaps the consumers had a greater sense of ownership because they had been part of the assembly process, even though it was such a disposable item especially being made out of paper. It got me thinking about mass production today, and how more and more products are being developed so that the owner can put their own stamp on it- yeah I bought this flat packed bit of kit, but look how I’ve made it my own…
People went crazy when Habitat launched Tord Boontjes ‘Garland’. Such a simple, decorative, and affordable lamp shade alternative that gives consumers creative power to create their own lampshade form and talking point in their home. They can stick with just the one garland, add another one on, mix up the metal colours- quite a few options and a reasonable price.
‘Cloud’ by the Bouroullec brothers was created for Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat. The textile segments can be easily clipped together to create a wall mounted feature or surface or a ceiling hung space divider. Apart from the restrictions of the colour palette and the amount of segments the consumer ‘the system’s infinite possibilities offer complete freedom in creating customised pieces’.
Luckies Scratch off World Map may not be as high tech as some of the Bouroullec brothers projects, but it’s a really fun gift. The idea is that the owner scratches off where they have been in the world revealing the coloured in country beneath the gold scratch off surface. Despite it being a mass produced item, by the time the consumer has interacted with it, every one will be different, and it tells a personal story.
Stories could be told with this fairytale like, slightly surreal magnetic wallpaper by Sian Zeng. The woodland pattern wallpaper comes with a pack of magnetic creature characters and speech bubbles to stick to the wall wherever you like. It is £248 per roll (including characters and the receptive liner needed to create the magnetic surface) so it is more pricey than your average kids bedroom wallpaper so you’re definitely paying for the personal interaction. The woodland pattern wallpaper is available to buy on its own as a non-magnetic paper at £65.
I think manufacturers do have to keep on mass producing items that can be personalised because consumers are more savvy and there’s more alternatives available. If they can’t get the personal touch they’re wanting from an off-the-shelf kit, it could be just as easy for them to buy an alternative mass produced item that they can adapt themselves…