London Transport Museum:
While repair work on London Underground looks set to frustrate commuters at least into the next decade, the newly refurbished London Transport Museum threw its doors open for good at the end of 2007.
The seven-year, £22m refit of William Rogers’ 1871 flower market building, masterminded by architect Avery Associates, brought about a complete restructuring of the museum’s exhibition space, almost doubling visitor numbers in the past year.
The new space, which features an enlarged entrance and shop, by the then Lumsden Design Partnership, and a high-level ‘Victorian’ gallery, won the 2008 Museums and Heritage Award for Innovative Design and Interpretation, and fully justifies the museum’s inclusion in the Hot 50. LDP also designed a striking range of products for the shop, drawing on London Transport’s icons and imagery.
The redesign, with interiors by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, has also brought about a shift in curatorial approach. Now much more than a static collection of old trains and buses, the new London Transport Museum engages with the legacy of London’s transport design as a means of narrating the city’s social and cultural history. It also sports a graphics gallery curated by David Worthington.
Throughout the year, the museum launched public events from its home in Covent Garden, including the resurrection of a Tube train from 1938 for a limited number of journeys in April, and a photographic scavenging hunt in association with Flickr around the museum in July.
It’s a tough job to juggle the freethinking attitudes of design with the red tape of official life in a way that benefits all players. But Christine Losecaat has succeeded in doing just that over a number of years.
Her company Little Dipper is involved with UK Trade & Investment, putting together missions to potential overseas design markets on the one hand, and networking events on the other. She has worked with Andrew Summers of the Government-backed Design Partners on missions to China, for example.
Her inclusion in this year’s Hot 50, however, relates to one specific project.
This is the London Design Embassy set up under the auspices of UKTI at London’s Somerset House last September as part of the London Design Festival.
The London Design Embassy creates an environment where overseas visitors can meet and do business with UK designers, suppliers and creative activists.
It is a temporary business centre that is set up in a way conducive to promoting UK design. As LDE project director, Losecaat is considering making the venue a more permanent fixture in the capital and taking the concept abroad.
The LDE is not a new concept. The UKTI-backed venture was first organised at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the Mall, with the likes of Tom Dixon and design journalist Marcus Fairs in the driving seat. Ross Lovegrove created the interiors for its incarnation at the Royal Festival Hall in 2007.
But the choice of Somerset House as a venue was inspired, being not only central, but a delightful walk away from the main London Design Festival hub on the opposite side of the Thames at the Southbank Centre. Furniture and interiors by Barber Osgerby completed the scene last year.
Olwen Moseley is not a new name on the scene. Over the years she has made a big impact on design, nurturing new talent through her work as director of enterprise and development at Cardiff School of Art & Design.
She has also has helped put her home town of Cardiff on the design map through her role in promoting and sustaining the annual Cardiff Design Festival.
Her place in this year’s Hot 50 reflects this continued bid to boost design across various platforms.
Moseley would be the first to say she hasn’t achieved this on her own, but she is a constant presence in the local design firmament, and anyone who has met her is impressed by her drive and enthusiasm, particularly when she is speaking about or on behalf of her students.
Her passion for design has made her a persuasive advocate for Cardiff. She has attracted top-flight designers to become involved at the college and speak at the Cardiff Design Festival, now in its fifth year, of which she was a founding committee member.
Moseley is a graphic designer by background and, as well as her other activities, still practises.
Professor Jeremy Myerson:
Professor Jeremy Myerson has gone far since his days at Design Week, of which he was founder editor from 1986 to 1989. Author of a number of design books, an eloquent speaker and an expert in lighting, office design and inclusive design, among other areas, he has used his journalistic skills to great effect in a number of guises.
But it is as director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at London’s Royal College of Art that he is currently best known.
Through this position he has done a considerable amount to promote inclusive design – and, because of its nature, service design – within the creative community and to client companies. Postgraduate students at the college work directly with clients and activists to address social ills, particularly those related to less able people.
Having been a co-director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre virtually since its inception by arch inclusivity proponent Professor Roger Coleman, Myerson took up the reins in 2007 when Coleman effectively retired.
Myerson is on the management team of Design London, the catalyst organisation for the Royal College of Art, Imperial College London and the Tanaka Business School headed by Nick Leon.
With the reality of an ageing population kicking in and global events such as the 2012 London Olympics creating a greater need for an inclusive approach to design, the work of Myerson and his collaborators is invaluable. Long may it continue.
Last summer, drinkers in London’s Soho were caught in bleary eyed shock as they came face to face with Michelangelo and Holbein upon stumbling out of their favourite boozers.
This was the summer of The Grand Tour – an inspired promotional strategy conceived by The Partners for The National Gallery, in which the streets of the West End were hung with lifesized reproductions of 44 masterpieces from the gallery’s collection.
Conspicuous, yet surprisingly effective, in their ostentatious gilt frames, the works, positioned expertly to complement or contrast their various locations, were accompanied by witty plaques written by the gallery’s curators and telephone numbers that visitors could call for more information.
Members of the public were encouraged to take tours of the paintings, either by picking up a map from the gallery itself or by downloading one of the several themed audio tours from the project website to play on a portable MP3 player.
The tours were popular, with more than 28 000 MP3 files downloaded and 23 000 maps taken from the gallery. The Grand Tour was created by The Partners to help The National Gallery re-contextualise its permanent collection and re-engage with a public whose attention it had lost. With the utmost simplicity it created a valuable public service at the same time as an unforgettable advertising campaign, making the client an obvious choice for this year’s Hot 50.
The project picked up a Black Pencil at the 2008 D&AD Awards, in the Poster Advertising category, and has since toured to York, where it has been equally successful.