The trial trail

Long before a design goes into production, long before the marketing and PR kick in, and long before it gets seen at a trade fair, it’s just an idea in the head of a designer. They might sketch it and make a scale model, and even get so far as a prototype to see if the idea works as a full-size thing. Even at this stage, it’s still a long way from production, and may only ever be an experiment, a trial-and-error piece to test the limits of an idea. Curator and Royal College of Art senior tutor Daniel Charny believes these early versions speak volumes about how designers think and work. ‘Prototypes reveal the mistakes and errors of the design process,’ says Charny, who is also a strategic consultant at the Design Museum. ‘They show you the idea, and get you close to the designer.’ Charny has put his idea into practice with Prototypes & Experiments, a series of displays of trial pieces sourced from designers’ studios, including work by Abake, Matthew Hilton, Jorre van Ast, Sebastian Bergne and El Ultimo Grito. ‘We’re trying to promote understanding of how designers work,’ says Charny, ‘but it’s also my reaction against the trend of limited editions, with only the sale in mind. Prototypes are the opposite of that.’Prototypes & Experiments runs from 30 May at The Aram Gallery, 10 Drury Lane, London WC2

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