Online cultural products retailer Culture Label is due to launch its £500 000 website in February 2009. Its four founders include John Tait, director of design group Lazy Grace, and Florian Wupperfeld, creative and media director of Soho House’s magazine House.
The site – www.culturelabel. com – is being designed by MTV Sticky magazine art director Benjamin Allder. It will aggregate retail offers from about 20 international museums, galleries and cultural institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Icon Gallery.
Allder was appointed to design the site without a pitch in April, off the back of his illustration work for House magazine, on which he works with Wupperfeld.
The London Design Festival has agreed to offer its merchandise range, including T-shirts, on Culture Label, and intends to expand its product offer after launch by featuring work by emerging designers.
Culture Label commercial director Peter Tullin says the company is currently in talks to make the Tate and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum partners.
A further section of the site will feature spaces for individual designer-makers and artists to sell their work. Partners will have access to the back-end of the site to upload their own products, while users will be able to search by price and also to review and rate products.
Tullin says, ‘This is supposed to provide a safe space for cultural and commercial brands – which have radically different DNA to each other – to engage. Nobody Googles museum or gallery shops, and yet the Tate does phenomenal business through its physical stores.’ Culture Label’s Release 1.0 awards last week saw three products by emerging designers selected for production and sale in the ICA store, including Benjamin Hubert’s ‘edit undo’ eraser (pictured top right).
The ICA will spend £2500 on manufacturing each product and all three will be on sale on Culture Label next spring.
Selling Culture on the Web
• Joining Culture Label in retailing ‘cultural products’ online is the Central Illustration Agency, which has more than 80 member illustrators, artists and designers, and holds an archive of work going back 25 years
• The CIA launched www.centralillustration.com/shop on 3 November to compete with Art Republic and Pictures on Walls. Designed in-house, the store offers prints by Sir Peter Blake, Brian Grimwood, Nathan Fox, Tom Bagshaw and John McFaul, among others
• ‘There is an upsurge of interest in cultural products – if you can’t invest in a house or a car, then art can be a good bet,’ says CIA shopkeeper Alicja McCarthy