Design: Malcolm Garrett
Development: Tom Cowle
In 2009 Melita co-founded the curating practice, Double Decker, together with Wilhelm Finger who were both students on MA Curating Contemporary Design. Double Decker has offices in east London and offers a diverse range of tailored services, including exhibition and hotel curating, programming and branding. Working with leading international clients such as the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Brazil, Hyatt International and the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, they have established a distinctive approach to curating. Melita and Wilhelm have a shared interest in design, architecture, film, photography and fashion. Double Decker’s approach to curating celebrates curiosity, concept and narrative which combine to create experiences that operate on all of the senses to engage visitors. They have curated international exhibitions and event programmes at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Brazil; the Science Museum, London; the Design Museum, London and the Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens.
Despite the recent economic crisis in Greece, or perhaps because of it, the cultural sector in Athens is flourishing. The city is seeing a shift towards the presentation of touring exhibitions and ephemeral performances, events and discussions. For the first time ‘Documenta 14’ will take place in two locations, its original venue in Kassel and in Athens. In 2016 the Onassis Cultural Centre, designed by Renzo Piano, will host the new National Opera as part of a series of new projects in the city.
Double Decker has established a strong working relationship with the OCC in Athens. The idea behind the partnership has been to offer an alternative to the usual historical survey or fine art exhibitions. Double Decker became the first agency to bring a series of ‘blockbuster’ style art exhibitions to Athens that subsequently attracted large audiences. ‘3D Printing in Art, Architecture, Fashion, Product Design and Science’ was the first major exhibition in Greece dedicated to examining the exciting possibilities of the medium and featured twenty-five artists, designers and scientists from eleven countries. ‘Hello Future Talents Archive’ was the first global archive of sketchbooks produced by the newest graduate artists and designers and featured two hundred artists from thirty countries. ‘Strange Cities: Athens’ was inspired by non-visual references of the city of Athens and featured twenty-five photographers, painters, graphic artists, illustrators and interactive designers from eleven countries.
Sun Feng is Project Director and Curator at China Arts and Entertainment Group where she works on international art and design exhibitions. Since graduating in 2010, she has curated a large number of exhibitions including ‘Transformation: A View on Chinese Contemporary Art’ at Istanbul Modern, Turkey, ‘Glamour to Wear: The ASEAN and Chinese Costume Culture show’, ‘Superimposing and Mutually Appearing: Chinese Contemporary Ink Art’. She has project directed ‘New Continent: A Selection from the Video Collection of Istanbul Modern’, ’Darkness Visible - Chinese and American Artists Group Show’ at NAMoC, ‘Fashion From East Asia’ for Beijing Fashion Week and ‘Alor, La Chine? Chinese Contemporary Art’ at the Pompidou Centre, Paris.
China’s capital city, Beijing, is well known for its rich history and traditional culture. The city is now devising policies and programmes to attract contemporary artists and designers. Beijing Design Week is an annual city-wide event co-hosted by the National Ministries and the Municipal Government of Beijing. The event attracts over 2,000 designers, institutional representatives and industry experts. With over five million visitors every year, Beijing Design Week has become the largest and most influential platform in Asia for the display, promotion and exchange of contemporary design.
Candice was born in Johannesburg and is now based in Cape Town. She is the curator of a contemporary African art collection at The New Church Museum, South Africa's first contemporary art museum, where she also curated ‘No Fixed Abode’ (2012) and ‘It Begins with Battiss’ (2014). In 2015, she co-founded The Drawing Room, a café and gallery with a rotating programme of exhibitions showcasing contemporary illustration, graphic art and photography. A spacious, double-fronted Victorian shop next to the Observatory train station offers a meeting place for local creatives by day. At night The Drawing Room hosts a dynamic programme of creative events including film and local documentary screenings, poetry, live music, hip hop, vinyl DJs, doodle nights as well as talks by a host of innovative and interesting thinkers. Allison was the recipient of a 2014 Pro Helvetia Research Residency, which supported a month long research trip to Harare, Zimbabwe. During her visit she curated ‘The First Supper’, an evening of food and art at Njelele Arts Station.
Cape Town combines a natural beauty, diverse cultures and a vibrant creative sector where the visual arts, performance, literature and design flourish. In recent years Cape Town has witnessed an innovation in design, with new design districts opening up from the city centre through to the outskirts of the city. The first Thursday of every month sees a concentration of art in the city centre while a short ride by taxi, train or bus accesses the regenerated areas of Woodstock, now home to the Woodstock Exchange, the Foundry, the Old Biscuit Mill, and the neighbouring suburbs of Salt River and The Observatory. Bicycle builders, maker collectives, artist studios and commercial galleries have flourished in these areas taking advantage of the space offered by converted warehouses, Victorian factories and Art Deco buildings. Cape Town design is known for fashion, home decor and accessories combined with innovative illustration, graphic and jewellery design.
Open Design Cape Town Festival is a twelve day city-wide festival that celebrates the values and impact of design and innovation as key drivers of economic, environmental and social development. The Festival is positioned as the leading showcase of innovative design from Cape Town. The Drawing Room participated in the 2015 Open Design Cape Town Festival with the exhibition ‘Oh, Hello!’ curated by Alexander's Band, an illustration collective based in Cape Town. Working exclusively with South African illustrators, the exhibition featured work in very different styles that encapsulated a local visual flavour, from references to urban dance styles unique to South Africa’s townships to the iconic visual imagery of Cape Town.
Over the past ten years Noor has been been working in the art and design sector in the UAE. She has co-curated an exhibition of fifty art works by twenty-five artists that is now touring the USA as part of a cultural diplomacy programme. Noor has also worked with Dubai Culture, Abu Dhabi Tourism, Maraya Art Centre and the UAE Embassy in Washington DC curating exhibitions and programmes to promote the art of the UAE locally and internationally.
The United Arab Emirates vibrant art scene emerged in the 1950s and is flourishing today. The UAE has many museums, galleries and creative spaces for younger generations of artists and many new cultural venues are being developed. Abu Dhabi’s new Saadiyat Cultural District will house the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum, while Dubai will be home to a new Modern Art Museum and Opera House District. The UAE hosts numerous annual events including festivals, artist residencies and symposia. In the past decade, two major annual international art fairs, Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art, have showcased artists from around the world. Sharjah is home to the Sharjah Biennial, a cultural event organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation since 1993. which plays a vital role in supporting emerging artists.
Noor co-curated the exhibition ‘Past Forward’ featuring fifty art works by twenty-five artists. The exhibition presents the history of the UAE art sector from the late 1950s through a selection of art works and public programmes.
Over the last decade Raphael Chikukwa has become one of Africa’s most influential curators building on twenty years of creative practice. He is best known for his pioneering work curating the first Venice Pavilion of Zimbabwean artists in 2013. He also works across the world raising the profile of African creativity and leading the training of a new and powerful generation of African curators. As Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Raphael has played a key role in programming exhibitions and events to support these changes. He has led projects that include exhibitions that bring together artists and makers through traditional crafts such as basket weaving.
Harare is one of Africa’s creative capital cities. Through its rich heritage of contemporary art, music and design, the city is now being reclaimed by a new generation of designers, such as graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa and sculptor Tapfuma Gutsa.
Raphael’s curation of the Zimbabwe Venice Pavilion in 2016 brought new Zimbabwean artists to the international stage and opened up a vital dialogue. Raphael’s inclusive agenda also enabled emerging African curators to gain experience, including Candice Allison in 2014 and Tafadzwa Gwetai in 2016. In Zimbabwe Raphael has led a pioneer series of exhibitions around basket making bringing together makers from different regions working with international and Zimbabwean creative practitioners.
Neringa is a PhD student at Vytautas Magnus University. Her PhD research is centred around museological concepts and tendencies in Lithuanian art museums in the early 21st century. Neringa also works as a design consultant with the Lithuanian virtual art and design platform, Art-Cart. Recently, she worked as an audience development manager for the largest contemporary arts event in the Baltic region, the Kaunas Biennial, devising and delivering its educational programme. In 2015 Kaunas Biennial celebrated its ten year anniversary with exhibitions, concerts and events taking place across the city. Since its inception in 1997, the Biennial has become the most important event for contemporary art in Lithuania and prioritises creative collaboration and openness across different areas of culture.
Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania. Historically it has been a leading city in Lithuanian academic, cultural and economic life. From 1918 to 1939 Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania when the city grew rapidly and was extensively modernised. More then 2,500 new Modernist-style buildings were completed during this period. During the 20th century, the largest industry in Kaunas was textiles with many factories employing thousands of people and exporting their goods across the Soviet Union. Today Kaunas is often referred to as a city of students as more than ten Lithuanian universities have faculties located in the city. Kaunas is a candidate for the award of European Capital of Culture 2022. With the slogan ‘Contemporary Capital’ Kaunas hopes to win the bid and become the second Lithuanian city to hold the title.
Kaunas will become the European Capital of Culture 2022 which will create a unique opportunity for the city and its residents to establish a new identity through the creation of cultural events and active participation. The initiative will create a platform that will bring together various projects in art, science, culture and technology, involving different communities across the city with the aim of strengthening community spirit.
Catherine Ince is a Senior Curator at the V&A with a specific remit to develop the curatorial vision for V&A East. The V&A was established in 1852 to inspire people about art, design and manufacturing. The Museum holds many of the UK's national collections and houses some of the world’s greatest resources for the study of architecture, product design, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, graphic design and book arts. As part of a long-term expansion plan to increase access to its collections and resources, the museum is currently developing V&A East, a brand new civic space and cultural destination that will form part of the Olympic legacy project at Stratford Waterfront in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to open in 2021. Prior to joining the V&A, Catherine was a curator at the Barbican Art Gallery where she organised major survey exhibitions and commissions including ‘Bauhaus: Art as Life’ (2012) and ’The World of Charles and Ray Eames’ (2015).
London’s special heterogeneous character generates the conditions for a productive and creative life. It also faces sharp contrasts in economic and social realities. London’s strength is in the challenge to think creatively about how it can and should continue to evolve.
Catherine is leading a team of curators working on the development of V&A East, a new civic institution rooted in the evolving cultures of its east London home. Its design will allow the visiting public to engage with all areas of its work. At its core will be the ability to respond quickly to current affairs, and to use objects from the V&A collection to interpret and debate events in the wider world. Most recently at the Barbican Art Gallery she curated the Show The World of Charles & Ray Eames.
Fleur is Curator at RMIT Design Hub, a building dedicated to cross-disciplinary design research and experimentation. RMIT Design Hub draws upon its extended community to curate projects, exhibitions, programmes and events locally, nationally and internationally. In driving an open platform for design researchers, it is becoming a home for design thinking nationally. Fleur has curated a diverse range of exhibitions for Design Hub with a specialised focus on mediating and exhibiting design ideas. Recent projects have included ‘Las Vegas Studio’, ‘De Anima: Brook Andrew’, ‘The Future Is Here’ (in collaboration with the Design Museum, London) and the architecture exhibition, ’Occupied’ to open late 2016. In 2013, Fleur was a guest curator for the National Gallery of Victoria's ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition. She also co-founded Pin-up Architecture & Design Project Space, an independent exhibition space in Collingwood (2011-2014). Fleur is a former editor of Monument magazine (2001-2007), editor of the Edmond & Corrigan monograph ‘Cities of Hope: Remembered/Rehearsed’ and, most recently, co-edited an issue of Architectural Design UK (May/June 2015) with Professor Leon van Schaik. In 2015, Fleur completed a practice-based PhD entitled ‘The Agency of Encounter: Performative curatorial practice for architecture and design.’
Melbourne is defined by a built environment and creative community that has been driven by a long commitment to an ongoing investment in the development of a local design culture. This local culture is driven by diverse positions and rigorous debate while being imbued with a spirit of generosity towards ideas-led practice. Melbourne’s design community is evolving from its foundation based upon local ideas and discourse to engage with and support a new generation of cross-disciplinary practitioners who are as comfortable with craft as they are with digital manufacturing processes. Although based in Australia and committed to the local context, they are also at ease working between Melbourne and Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Guangdong, Chennai and beyond.
The notion of the ‘curator as interloper’ has emerged as a recurring curatorial theme within Fleur’s creative practice. It is an idea that she first identified through her PhD research as being an intuitive response to Design Hub's experimental curatorial remit and to Melbourne's vibrant local design community. The curatorial intent is to ‘crack open’ or ‘cut into’ the normally 'fixed' curatorial model. It is focused on mediating the design ideas within a project rather than on a fixed outcome, as shown in her recent projects, ‘The Housing Project’ at Pin-up Project Space (2011), ‘The Future Is Here’, RMIT Design Hub (2014) and ‘Occupied’, RMIT Design Hub (2016).
Renata Becerril is part of a new generation of Mexican design curators based in Mexico City. She is the Executive Director of the Abierto Mexicano de Diseño, the first international design festival in Mexico and the only one of its type in Latin America. The festival celebrates all design disciplines, and includes cultural and commercial exhibitions within the historic centre of Mexico City. It began in 2013 with 190 events and in 2015 attracted 2.5 million visitors, thanks to public installations such as Studio Myerscough's ‘Mirar y Ver’ for the second largest square in the world, Zocalo. The festival has gained international recognition collaborating with the British Council to present the UK as the guest country for the Dual Year MX/UK 2015. Renata has curated a number of exhibitions including the first Mexican exhibition at the London Festival of Architecture presented at RIBA. She works as a design advisor for brands commissioning work from emerging and established designers. She also writes on design and teaches at the design university CENTRO.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world whose vibrant design scene has been attracting international attention. Mexican design is not only appealing to design consumers, but increasingly to international visitors and organisations. Mexico offers new creative practice that combines with the city’s rich cultural traditions as one of the oldest capital cities in the world.
The public monumental installations commissioned for Abierto Mexicano de Diseño represent the idea of the “affective appropriation of public space”. Anything that takes place in this space speaks not only of the city but also how Mexicans engage with it and helps to raise awareness of design. ‘Mirar y Ver’ (look and see), designed by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan, was a monumental, building-sized camera obscura. Visitors entered the colourful chamber through a large portal situated on a scaffold-supported structure. The raised platform allowed visitors to view the familiar plaza in perspectives and angles never before experienced. Once inside the dark room, the camera obscura effect worked to create an upside-down, two-dimensional projection of the outside environment. The phrase ‘look and see’ positioned on the top of the installation together with a giant eye, reiterated the artists’ appeal to visitors to appreciate the sights and sounds around them. A series of swings fixed underneath the platform allowed visitors to stop and rest within the plaza, while also participating in an unfamiliar activity.
After graduating, Arpna set up Norway’s most popular design event ‘Pecha Kucha Oslo’ at DOGA, the Norwegian Centre for Design and Art. She also co-curated an Italian scooter exhibition at the Chelsea Space in London. Now based in London, Arpna’s focus is New Delhi and the promotion of design and craft traditions across India. Arpna established Create Culture as a design consultancy to promote Indian design across cultural boundaries and continents. It sets out to support designer makers and craftsmen through exhibitions, collaborative projects, design residencies, events and workshops.
New Delhi is India’s second largest city and one of the oldest cities in India carrying influences drawn from Indian Moghul culture and Imperial Britain. In the 21st century it’s creative quarter is the Gurgeon district where national crafts and cultural organisations, such as the Crafts Museum, exist alongside private initiatives, such as India Design ID, a design trade fair and now the leading platform for Indian designers and manufacturers. New Delhi benefits from its close proximity to regions with a rich tradition of craftsmanship and artisanal skills such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir. Creatives in New Delhi have colonised many of the South Delhi villages such as Haus Khas, Lado Sarai and Shahpur Jat. Mehrauli. Gurgaon Road, or MG road as it is popularly known, is the unofficial design street in the city where many furniture stores are based.
Arpna’s focus has been to support local artisans and contributing to the local economy and working with designers who adopt an ethical approach. These design studios represent the essence of New Delhi. Injiri was founded in 2009 by Chinar Farooquim who studied textile design at NID Ahmedabad. Injiri produces textile products using traditional handloom techniques from different parts of the country. Klove specialise in custom lighting solutions employing mixed glass blowing techniques used by the surgical glass industry. Design by Design was established by Alliance Francaise de Delhi and Studio IF. Their annual exhibition of young and upcoming designers ‘Design x Design Exhibition: 20 under 35’ showcases the work of New Delhi-based designers and emerging trends across various design industries in the city.
Pablo has worked for many years as a museum educator and since 2007, as Director of Adult and Academic Programmes at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Located in Midtown Manhattan, MoMA is often identified as the most influential collection of modern art and design in the world. The museum's collection pioneered the collection of architecture and design alongside art, film and electronic media. Pablo is also an artist and Visiting Professor for MA Curating Contemporary Design. In 2013 he was awarded a PhD for a thesis exploring his curatorial practice, incorporating performance, public art and socially engaged art.
New York is a global city whose fast pace invented the term ‘New York minute’. For over a century the city has led new creative work and the development of contemporary curatorial practice and research.
Although twenty-five per cent of New York’s inhabitants are of Latino descent, there are no bookstores catering solely for the Spanish language. Librería Donceles was created to address this issue. It opened in 2013 as the only Spanish language bookstore in New York, first in the Chelsea neighbourhood and later in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Libreria Donceles is now an itinerant bookstore in Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago with another soon to open in Indianapolis. This project seeks to serve Spanish-speaking communities and foster cultural dialogue in the United States.
Eunjoo is Director of Design Education at KIDP and plays a leading role in promoting Korean designers and design internationally through exhibitions and events. She has a key role in developing KIDP’s global businesses and partnerships. She also sits on the board of the World Design Organisation WDO. KIDP aims to strengthen the national design competitiveness of Korea through design policies, exhibitions, conferences, education, training programmes and by building international relationships and co-operation.
In recent years Seoul has successfully emerged from the aftermath of the Korean War and is now a city of ten million people with a thriving industry in fashion, film, computer games and digital media. The city provides an important platform for artists and designers producing innovative products and architectural projects, including Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) designed by the late Zaha Hadid. Located at the centre of the Dongdaemun area, DDP serves as a key venue for design-related shows, conferences, exhibitions and other events.
In 2008 Eunjoo curated ‘Korea Design’ at 100% Design, as part of London Design Festival. It was KIDP’s first national pavilion in Europe to showcase contemporary Korean design. Since 2008, Eunjoo has led this annual exhibition project increasing the number of emerging Korean designers and extending it to other cities including Berlin, Munich, Tokyo and Beijing. Eunjoo successfully set up ‘KIDP China’ in Beijing and developed ‘Next Generation Design’, Korea’s national initiative that recognises young design talent.
Ning has worked for the China Art Museum for nearly a decade and is one of Shanghai’s most experienced and respected curators. The China Art Museum started life in People’s Park, in the former British Clubhouse, and moved in 2010 to occupy China’s iconic national pavilion built for the Shanghai Expo.
Shanghai is emerging as China’s centre for digital design, fashion and film and a creative hub for the whole of Asia. It’s role as China’s main port has given the city a unique history of international influences that continues in the 21st century. The most famous global style associated with the city is the unique expression ‘Shanghai Art Deco’ developed in the 1920s. In 2012 Shanghai launched China’s first Design Week which has become one of the most important design festivals in Asia. Shanghai Fashion Week and Design Shanghai are now two of the most important annual design events in Shanghai.
Since graduating in 2008, Miyuki has worked for a number of cultural institutions including 21_21 Design Sight, YCAM and Miraikan. She has produced exhibitions, performances and books. Her projects often focus around cross-disciplinary, social and communication design. In recent years, disability has been a key theme in her work.
Tokyo is one of the world’s creative city hubs with a tradition of unique creativity and style. Over the last sixty years it has sought to recover from the devastation caused by the Second World War and the 2011 earthquake. Tokyo is now working towards hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Border is a performance-based work integrating media art installation, dance and mobility design which pushes a new frontier in Japanese digital design. Participants experience interaction on personal mobilities, controlled by a shared system so that they become part of the installation.
Rafael was awarded a Chilean Government scholarship for MA Curating Contemporary Design and returned to Valparaíso University to lead the institution’s gallery. His task was to help build the emerging creative economy in Valparaíso. The University of Valparaíso is one of the key centres for design education in the country. It is leading on project’s around Chilean design history and the history of the port of Valparaíso.
In recent years Chile has emerged as one of the most creative countries in South America. It’s architects, artists and designers, such as Smiljan Radic and Alejandro Aravena, have been winning global recognition for distinctive work that addresses international challenges with a Chilean contribution.Valparaiso is Chile’s main port and earned World Heritage recognition for its claim as the world’s first modern global trading centre.
Rafael is part of a team establishing curatorial policies and resources for the development of the Design Gallery at Rioja Palace in the Municipality of Vina del Mar to open in September 2016. This important project will be the first dedicated design space in Chile. The Design Gallery will present stories about local industries, materials, innovation and science. It will also showcase the work of local creatives.