Public Works Office to create V&A paper exhibition

The Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London has appointed Public Works Office to design its autumn exhibition Cut it, Fold it, Build it with Paper.

Public Works Office won the project in January after being appointed without a pitch on the strength of its work on three previous Museum of Childhood exhibitions. Cut it, Fold it, Build it with Paper will feature a collection of about 150 flat, unmade paper architectural models donated by US collector Robert Freidus, dating back to the 19th century.

It will also showcase about 60 constructed, 3D paper models to be displayed in glass cases and on open 5m and 11m-long plinths. These were made and donated by model-maker Mike Stamper. The 400m2 show will take place in the temporary exhibition space on the museum’supper floor, the first room being dedicated to architectural building types and the history of paper model-making.

This room features extensive use of environmental graphics that were sampled from the 19th-century architectural model sheets. ’The model sheets use absolutely beautiful muted colours and typography that have informed the graphics, which are used as a backdrop to the models,’ says Public Works Office director Andrew Gibbs.

A second room will feature more framed Freidus collection models, as well as an open, 5m-long display of constructed paper models of buildings including the Eiffel Tower, the Albert Memorial, London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, the Tower of London, the White Houseand the Empire State Building. The third room will feature models for children, including from cereal packets and children’s magazines.

There are two interactive workshop spaces where exhibition visitors can make models of buildings, some of which will become part of a cityscape of the Bethnal Green area.

Cut out and keep

  • Paper cut-outs have existed since the invention of printing in the 15th century
  • Architectural paper models originated in 16th-century Japan, appearing in Europe in the 18th century
  • In the 19th century architecturalmodels were made by European and US companies like Pellerin, Schreiber and Milton Bradley
  • A revival of interest in the late 1970s saw very complex models for adults being produced, mainly in Eastern Europe

Source: The V&A Museum of Childhood

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