British Design

Swiss Cottage Library by Basil Spence Tom Dixon at Milan Design Week
Kenwood hand whisk by Kenneth Grange Bettina suit by Vivienne Westwood

Image credits: see below

The exhibition British Design 1948-2012 currently showing at the V&A Museum explores the impact and innovation of British designers in the post war period. It shows how British designers have gone on to lead the world across the fields of architecture, product and furniture design, textiles, graphic design and fashion.

The exhibition shows how social, economic and cultural forces have shaped design in Britain, through the immediate post war austerity years, through the 1950's and the Festival of Britain, the radical social changes of the swinging sixties, the subversive seventies, economic upheaval in the eighties and through to the present.

All of these can be explored further through the Library's collections. Each subject area will have books covering British design by period or style or on the work of individual designers, for example in architecture and design explore modernism and post-modernism, or the work of architects such as Bernard Spence, James Stirling or designers Kenneth Grange or Tom Dixon. In fashion and textiles you'll find the work of designers such as Lucienne Day, Jacqueline Groag, Ossie Clarke, Vivien Westwood or learn more about street styles such as punk.

Social and cultural studies, looking at the history or visual culture of the period provides the background and context to why particular styles or movements develop, as well as to changes in society that might have altered the way we think as a nation, or developments in other fields such as science or technology that change the way we work or interact.

Journals and magazines provide a rich source of information that can be used to learn more about design in Britain. Art & Architecture complete, Art Full Text, Design and Applied Arts Index and JSTOR are tools that can all be used to search for articles and provide access online. Image resources such as VADS provides access to extensive design collections and video tools like Box of Broadcasts or News Film Online can be used to watch television documentaries and historical news footage.

In addition to the Library collections, the Museum of Design in Plastics, located within the AUCB Library also holds a large collection of objects designed and made in Britain, such as the hand whisk designed for Kenwood by Kenneth Grange shown in the picture above. For more information about the museum and for contact details visit the MoDiP web site.


Image Credits:

Original image by: George Rex
Title: Swiss Cottage Library, south
Date: 2011
Source: Flickr
Used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Original image by: jsigharas
Title: Untitled [Tom Dixon at Milan Design Fair]
Date: 2008
Source: Flickr
Used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Original image by: Museum of Design in Plastics
Title: Kenneth Grange Kenwood hand whisk
Date: n.d.
Source: MoDiP web site
Copyright MoDiP. Used with permission.
Original image by: nicolecolecole
Title: Vivienne Westwood -A Life in Fashion - Hong Kong 2008
Date: 2008
Source: Flickr
Used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)