Time Machines: Daniel Weil and the Art of Design

With clients as diverse as the Pet Shop Boys, Mothercare and United Airlines, designer Daniel Weil’s oeuvre is a fascinating study in adaptability and imagination.

Pet Shop Boys Very sleeve

Source: © Daniel Weil

Pet Shop Boys Very sleeve

From this week, the Design Museum is celebrating the Argentina-born Pentagram partner’s work in the first museum exhibition detailing his 30-year career.

The show – entitled Time Machines: Daniel Weil and the Art of Design – will display new works alongside some intriguing insights into Weil’s design process, in the form of hundreds of identical hardback sketchbooks showing the preliminary pencil drawings that preceded his final creations.

Weil says, ‘My designs are time machines, in their process of making and expression of the moment’.

Acrobat clock

Source: © Daniel Weil

Acrobat clock

We’ll get a chance to see the sketches that birthed projects such as Weil’s World Championship chess set and his Acrobat Clock; as well as exclusive access to his current sketchbook.

Weil studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires; and after qualifying as an architect went on to study at London’s Royal College of art, where he later became Professor of Industrial Design.

Daniel Weil, Radio in a Bag

Source: © Design Museum

Daniel Weil, Radio in a Bag

Among his numerous creations designs are the 1983 Radio Bag – a dismantled radio displayed in a clear plastic bag; and The E20 Story – a London 2012  Olympic Games exhibition that used a chronoscope to show what the area around the Olympic Park would look like after the games ended.

Swatch Irony

Source: © Daniel Weil

Swatch Irony

He joined Pentagram’s London office in 1992, where he has worked on projects combining product design, packaging, interiors and art direction for clients including Pantone, EMI, King’s College, Boots and Cass Art.

Weil’s recent projects include designing the signage for the Serpentine gallery in London, which was formed as shapes representing the aperture of the identity designed by team led by Pentagram partner Marina Willer and Wolff Olins chairman Brian Boylan.

Weil stepped down as Royal College of Art professor of industrial design in 1995, staying on as a visiting professor.

Architect clock

Source: © Daniel Weil

Architect clock

‘Continuously inventive, Weil plays with fundamental elements of time, light, space and sound – always seeking a new connection, a fresh approach’, says the Design Museum.

‘The pieces on display, from found objects to finished products, tell a story not of design, but of designing.’

Time Machines : Daniel Weil and the Art of Design, curated by Martina Margetts, runs from 14 May – 31 August at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2Y.

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