British Council plans show as design gets upgraded

The British Council unveiled its plans for a series of exhibitions around the world last week as design continues to move up the council’s arts agenda.

According to British Council head of design promotion Emily Campbell, design is still a relatively new art form for the council, compared with art, music and film, but is picked up with ‘massive enthusiasm’ overseas.

‘Part of the reason is design is so readily integrated with social and economic development,’ says Campbell.

Planned exhibitions include Posh, which examines how Britain’s traditional luxury brands are trying to redefine their positions in a less classless society. Designed by Una (London) and Stickland Coombe Architects, it opens in Tallinn, Estonia in April.

China is one of the council’s key priorities for 2003 and sees the launch in August of Hometime, an exhibition about contemporary British domestic design. Nine designers – Tom Dixon, Ben Kelly, Michael Marriott, Casson Mann, Cottrell and Vermeulen, Digit, Fat, Tord Boontje and Priestman Goode – have been invited to create a room for the exhibition. Final participants have yet to be confirmed.

Rooms planned include those designed for individuals, with names such as the Prime Minister mooted, and others for people with specific difficulties, such as a semi-dependent elderly relative or visually impaired child.

Designer Peter Saville is one of the case studies for the exhibition The 21st Century Dandy, which examines the wardrobes and look of British men. It opens in Moscow in March and is designed by Andrew Stafford.

The show will be grouped around six themes: the Gentleman, the Hoxton Dandy, the Terrace Casual, the Neo-Modernist, the New Briton and the celebrity tailor. Saville will be featured alongside journalist Robin Dutt, Bloomberg chief executive Lex Fenwick and fashion designer Oswald Boateng.

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