What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

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What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:50 am

Artistic licence to kill: does an AK-47 belong in a design museum?

Jonathan Jones
Artblog. The Guardian

London's Design Museum has added a Kalashnikov to its collection. But can a killing machine be a design classic?


Deadly design ... a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. Photograph: Hugh Threlfall/Alamy

Can a lethal weapon be a design classic?

Well yeah, obviously it can, question answered, let's move on. Do they pay you for this? (I have developed a condition called bloggolalia where you hear comments in your head before people post them).

But this isn't just any lethal weapon. This is the Soviet Union's Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, developed in the 1940s for the Arctic, and popular with assault rifle users everywhere.

A Kalashnikov has just been acquired by London's Design Museum.

To experience the edgy quality of this choice by the Design Museum, which is building up its collection of "classics" before moving to bigger premises in 2014, try googling the Kalashnikov. Even reading its Wikipedia entry, or the Kalashnikov home page that explains the gun's origins in the second world war and the military design genius of Kalashnikov himself, makes you feel you have crossed an invisible line into the world of terrorists and lone assassins. It is a bit unsettling. The Kalashnikov is a cult object but not in the same way as the magazine The Face or the Sony Walkman, two more new acquisitions by the Design Museum.

Yet weapons have been collected and have been popular exhibits for at least as long as works of art. People flocked to see cannons and battle axes at the Tower of London long before the National Gallery opened.

What makes someone collect arms and armour? At the Wallace Collection in London, the same Victorian collecting passions that brought together so many fine paintings and objets d'art in this treasure house filled a suite of galleries with ivory handled crossbows, shining scimitars and sinister pikestaffs.

At the V&A in London you can see a sword scabbard that belonged to the murderous Cesare Borgia, model for Machiavelli's Prince. It's a darkly beautiful souvenir of conspiracy and killing.

Is it time that cleanses these old weapons? Or the lingering myth of medieval chivalry that turns knightly swords and lances into imaginative wonders?

Yes, but it is not entirely a fictional difference between past and present. Chivalry, tournaments and the tales of King Arthur made medieval war more theatrical than modern conflict. The coming of gunpowder made death and wounds much more brutal, inflicted from a distance, at increasingly industrialised rates. The gun was a "hellish" invention, thought the first people to see its effects.

That's why it is hard to be romantic about a Kalashnikov. This is a killing machine, cold and inhuman. But it probably does belong in the Design Museum. Unfortunately.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:55 am

Here's my first choice: the Zippo lighter:








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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:02 pm

...and my second choice: the paper clip:







Last edited by eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:05 pm

...the Safety Razor:




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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:09 pm

The safety pin:


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:50 pm

To redress the gender balance a little here:


Tampon with applicator.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:53 pm

I really don't know how I'd manage without my washing machine:


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Guest on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:04 pm

...cast bells...


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:18 pm

This is two stops on the Tube from my place:


The Whitechapel bell foundry.

The foundry has produced a number of famous bells, including many of those in the London churches commemorated in the children's rhyme Oranges and Lemons. Westminster Abbey is one of the most longstanding customers, the two bells that call people to services dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The current ring of ten bells was cast at Whitechapel in 1971.

One of the most historically significant bells cast at Whitechapel is the first casting in 1752 of the bell which was to become known as the Liberty Bell. This bell cracked when first rung and it was locally recast prior to its use in the proclamation of American Independence. Whitechapel cast a replacement to celebrate the bicentenary of American Independence in 1976.

Big Ben which tolls the hour at the Palace of Westminster was cast in 1858 and at 13½ tons is the largest bell ever cast at the foundry. This bell also cracked due to too heavy a hammer being initially installed. The crack and the subsequent retuning give Big Ben its distinctive tone. A profile template of Big Ben surrounds the entrance door while Big Ben's original moulding gauge is retained near the foundry's furnaces.

Whitechapel supplied peals of 10 bells (later augmented to 12) for Guildford Cathedral in Surrey in the years following the Second World War, recast and augmented the bells of Canterbury Cathedral to a peal of 14 in 1981, and for the National Cathedral in Washington DC in 1964.

Many churches across the world have bells cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, including: Armenian Church, Chennai, Liverpool Cathedral, St Dunstan's, Mayfield, St Dunstan's, Stepney, St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside and St Stephen's Anglican Church, Newtown and St James' Church, Sydney both in New South Wales, Australia.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:25 pm


Replica of the ship bell of the Titanic.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Constance on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:13 am

Google images isn't working right here at the library computer, but I wanted to post a picture of one of those wonderful marble composition notebooks. Do you have them in England and Australia?

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Constance on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:14 am

And to go with that, a sharpened yellow pencil.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:23 am

Like this, Constance?


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Constance on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:25 am

That's it!

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:26 am


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Constance on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:52 am

Do you have Adirondack chairs in England? They are plentious in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, and such a sleek design.

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:57 am

Constance wrote:Do you have Adirondack chairs in England? They are plentious in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, and such a sleek design.

Can't say I've ever seen one, but they look very elegant:


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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  Constance on Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:06 am

There it is! They are often painted white but I like them left natural. You'll find them mostly on beaches and at lakes. A very deep seat, very comfortable, but not always easy to get out of!

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:23 am

My favourite British design

For James Dyson it's the Mini, for Ron Arad it's the Anglepoise lamp and for Barbara Hulanicki it's one of Dyson's own creations … As the V&A launches a retrospective on great British design, six of Britain's most creative minds choose their favourite object

Great British design: six favourites

The Observer, Sunday 18 March 2012

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:25 am


David Bailey
Gaffer tape. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:28 am


James Dyson
The Mini. Photograph: Richard Saker

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:30 am


Zandra Rhodes
Pillow ceramics. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:33 am


Richard Rogers
Brompton bike. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:37 am


Barbara Hulanicki
The Dyson fan. Photograph: Brian Smith

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Re: What item/s would you exhibit in your personal Design museum?

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:39 am


Ron Arad
Angelpoise lamp. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

^
Amen to that one!

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