Narrating Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things: Unveiling the New Design Museum Collection

London’s Design Museum has announced that it will display a new permanent collection dedicated to contemporary design and architecture from 20 January 2013. The exhibition will offer an investigation into the impact of design on everyday life through the presentation of hundreds of items grouped in six very diverse key narratives (national identity, plastic, Modernism, design collecting, the Anglepoise lamp, and fashion) alongside contextual images and documents that will illustrate the origin and purpose of design.

The notion of British national identity is explored through objects such as the phone box, road signage, the post box, the London 2012 logo and the Euro. The dominance of plastic in our lives is examined with examples of luxurious and everyday plastics (from small household items to the first examples of plastic furniture in the 1960s) from the last 75 years. A section on Modernism will provide a snapshot of this period of design in Britain through pieces of furniture, products, textiles and architecture. In a section that will look at collecting, Jasper Morrison’s ‘Handlebar Table’ will go on display for the first time. Another section will profile a single iconic design – the Anglepoise lamp – telling how an experiment by a car engineer with an obsession with springs resulted in an invention that was to become one of the most copied, parodied and collected in the history of design. A display of fashion from the 1970s to the 1990s will throw a spotlight on six occasion outfits from a personal wardrobe of over 400 items belonging to fashion collector Jill Ritblat.