If you’re thinking about taking a course in furniture design and furniture making, it’s a good idea to take into account the location of the school. It’s such an important factor, since you’ll be living there for a considerable amount of time (we’ve already written about how great it is to be so close to Brighton), but also because it dictates what kind of extra-curricular things you can do. We love being based in Newhaven because it means it’s quick and easy to get up to London for the day, so we’re able to take students to visit galleries and exhibitions. It also means that students can use their spare time to visit even more places and get inspired! Here’s a selection of some of the London-based events we’ve taken students to over the years…
The V&A Museum
The Victoria and Albert museum has a fantastic collection of furniture on permanent display. Their range spans six centuries, showing furniture from all over the world, and they also feature some more contemporary pieces. It’s a great idea to learn about the history of furniture design and making since it gives so much context to even modern day designs and can provide some great inspiration.
PAD (Pavilion of Art and Design) is an annual design fair for modern art, photography, and design from the 20th century and onwards. It features small collections from a range of galleries, rather than individual designers, and all of the pieces are available for purchase. Collectors, interior designers, and art consultants attend PAD, so it’s a great event for students to attend as we find it really helps to get them thinking beyond the making, and start to consider what it takes to create a piece that sells.
This is another annual event, taking place during the London Design Festival each year. Design Junction features modern furniture, lighting, and product design. It caters for both the trade side, for buyers like interior designers, as well as the retail side, for collectors and art lovers. Although there are many design exhibitions each year, particularly during the London Design Festival, it’s fantastic for students to be able to attend quite a few, as each one is different and has a different focus, whether that’s on the types of pieces displayed or the style they show.
London Design Fair
Also taking place during the London Design Festival, London Design Fair boasts being the most international of all events taking place during the festival, showing pieces from 29 different countries. This event features furniture, lighting and textiles from all sorts of sources – individual designers, galleries, and established brands. This is a great one for our students to attend as it shows what works for both trade customers, serious collectors, and fans of art, since it has products from designers as well as more commercial brands.
The Tate Modern is a world-renowned museum with a huge range of art from different periods, countries, and styles. It features contemporary art as well as pieces from back in the 16th century, both British and international. We find that taking an afternoon to wander around Tate Modern can really help to get inspiration and develop your aesthetic, as it’ll expose you to things you might not normally be drawn to, and has such a wide variety of pieces.
Collect is a great, unique exhibition with a focus on the modern craft movement. It features craft-led works by artists and makers from a range of galleries, showing everything from wood and metal to ceramics and textiles. Run by the Crafts Council, Collect exhibits works from all over the world that are preserving historical techniques, as well as modern pieces that break boundaries and involve brand new, innovative techniques – something we’re big fans of here at robinson house studio.