The Tower of Babel, by Barnaby Barford


Barnaby Barford’s Tower of Babel installation has been unveiled at the V&A Museum revealing a totem of bone china buildings, each 10-13cm tall.

Barford photographed 6000 shops in order to create the tower, which was made by a process involving photographic ceramic transfers which were fired onto bone china.

The photographic process took him to every postcode in London and he covered 1000 miles by bicycle capturing independent shops, department stores, charity shops and derelict stores.

Senior curator of the ceramics and glass collection at the V&A Alun Graves, says: “Part-sculpture, part-shop display, The Tower of Babel is an act of curated commerce. It’s about retail as a pastime, and the idea of shopping as a means (or not) to attain happiness.

“It is about how we identify ourselves as consumers and how we construct our sense of self through the choices we make when buying. Ultimately it’s about who we are, and where we position ourselves in the extraordinary metropolis that is London.”

The installation is part of the London Design Festival and can be viewed at the museum now.