RCA students create Disturbance in London hotel

Ron Arad’s team of product design students, currently studying under him at the Royal College of Art, are exhibiting their work for the first time at the Great Eastern Hotel, located in London’s Liverpool Street.

Fourteen first- and second-year students will be showcasing 18 of their new product designs, all of which have been specifically designed with the Great Eastern Hotel in mind. The aim of the project is to provoke more interaction among guests and visitors through the use of alternative designs and installations. The students came up with their own briefs, after creating a booklet that outlined their main inspiration and design influences. This has resulted in a raft of individually designed products with varying functions that complement different areas and aspects of the hotel.

The items will be scattered throughout rooms, lobbies, lifts and staircases in the hotel. The exhibition, called Disturbance, will run from 6 to 20 May.

Included in the collection is a rotating ‘clock’ made out of protruding warped forms, which has been built in part by digital manufacturing company 3D Systems. It casts numbers on the wall when it is aligned with light. First-year student Simon Husslein designed the time piece, which will be hung in the six-storey rotunda of the hotel’s staircase.

‘My interest is related to time and light. I collected information about sundials and time-related objects, experimenting to come up with designs. I had five final designs, but this was the most complex object and the best to fit into the environment,’ he says.

Other items in the exhibition include a clamp system, designed for the hotel’s concierge by student Jorre Van Ast, and an expandable shelving product by Peter Marigold. A revolving fish bowl, designed by Shay Alkalay, will be mounted in the reception area.

‘This is about tapping into the idea of utilising art above our competitors. Others will catch on, however, because it engages the consumer,’ says a spokesman for the Great Eastern Hotel.

The product design students form part of Platform 10, one of six teaching units within the Royal College of Art’s Design Products department, which is overseen by Ron Arad. Their tutors are designers Daniel Charny and Roberto Feo. The class seeks to create designs that subvert existing product typologies. A major theme for this year is ‘Design Scene Investigation’.

Following on from the exhibition, many of the items will form part of the RCA’s final summer graduate show, which starts on 25 May. This year the show is being sponsored by educational charity, The Conran Foundation.

Over 400 graduating students from the Fine Art, Applied Art, Architecture, Design, Communications, Fashion, Textiles and Humanities departments will show their work in four separate exhibitions throughout the show.

This year, tailor-made tours, run by Exhibit-K, a company set up by art graduates, will be introduced for the first time. Much of the work, such as ceramics, glassware, furniture, lighting, prints and painting, will be up for sale.

Work from Royal College of Art 

• Disturbance exhibition, at the Great Eastern Hotel, shows RCA’s design product students from 6 to 20 May

• RCA Summer graduate show on 25 May. See www.rca.ac.uk for more info

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