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Out in the Streets: The Road to Grunwick

Today Chapter Road, NW2, is unremarkable. To avoid the road parallel – Willesden Green’s repetitive High Road of fried chicken shops, bookmakers and estate agents, the ambler can deviate and walk along the pavements outside the late Nineteenth Century terraces. To step away from chaos means that Chapter Road, as

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A House for Essex, image courtesy of Living Architecture

Grayson Perry’s two-storey artwork

    Grayson Perry’s Dream House caused a storm among art critics following its unveiling in a Channel 4 documentary last week. Although commissioned by Living Architecture to function as a holiday home, the two-storey detached property in Wrabness, north-east Essex, is far from a residential new-build; it is a

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HELSINKI

  Ready to brave Baltic weather conditions and loaded with preconceptions of Scandinavian ‘IKEA’ modernism, we winged our way to Helsinki in search of an answer to a simple question that would guide this year’s V&A/ RCA History of Design study trip: What is Finnish design?   With an entire

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One stop on the HoD historic pub crawl: The Jerusalem Tavern, an example of domestic repurposing.

It’s the Drink Talking (and Walking)

Current History of Design MA candidate, Magnus Copps, recounts the historic pub crawl on which he led a group of academics and students of the course’s own Material Cultures of Intoxication module. ‘The day was long, scholarly and unquestionably illuminating for all concerned. In all, we walked about 12km and visited

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La Pyramide, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photograph: Iwan Baan

Modernist African Architecture

We have tried to resist the temptation to succumb to the fetishisation of concrete, but this ongoing project to document modernist African architecture from the 1960s and 70s deliciously cool on the palette. . Architect Manuel Herz has curated an exhibition of the work of Dutch photographer Iwan Baan, depicting

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History of Design MA Open Day, Mon. 12 Jan

The postgraduate course from which Unmaking Things was born will be looking for its next intake of students from January. The V&A/RCA Postgraduate Programme in the History of Design is holding its second Open Day on 12th January 2015. History of Design is a relatively new discipline; students of the course

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The Weston Cast Court © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

V&A Cast Courts Reopen

  Following a three year closure for renovation, restoration and research the Weston Cast Courts of the V&A reopened earlier today to the public. These 19th century galleries contain replicas of European masterpieces first created for the purpose of study, and created a Grand Tour experience that was accessible for

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Tate Minecraft scheme

Minecraft Takes on the Masters

Tate Worlds is an exciting project undertaken by Tate, realising virtual environments inspired by various paintings and sculpture in Minecraft ‘maps’. Players can explore, undertaking activities and challenges along the themes of the artworks. The first two maps were launched on 24 November modelled on Christopher Nevinson’s Soul of the

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Image ©Ida Taavitsainen, 2014.

The Memory of my Wardrobe

The Memory of My Wardrobe, a new book by RCA graduate and Unmaking Things contributor, Ida Taavitsainen, explores the intimate relationship between clothing and memory. Ida’s evocative images comprise a visual history that, in the words of her publisher, takes ‘the reader on a journey through time from the garments original

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SIBLING © Chloe Frechette

Fashion In Motion

Today, the London based knitwear label, SIBLING, takes to the runway as part of the V&A’s ongoing Fashion In Motion series. Set against the museum’s Raphael Gallery, the brand’s live catwalk performance showcases the designers’ unique approach to knitwear, challenging traditional techniques and silhouettes while promoting an irreverent and frivolous

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1950s Magyar Kocka or “Hungarian Cube”. Image © Katharina Roters

Weekly Reads

This week we have been fawning over German-Hungarian photographer Katharina Roters’ new publication  Hungarian Cubes: Subversive Ornaments in Socialism. In it she collects over a decades worth of images of standardised dwellings of the 1920s found in many of the countries towns and suburbs, redecorated by residents as a protest against

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Rapid Response Creativity © Chloe Frechette 2014

Across RCA

Last week we were busy with the History of Design Across RCA workshop, Rapid Response Creativity. Conceived of by History of Design’s own Kaisu Savola and Zara Arshad, the three-day workshop adapted the V&A’s Rapid Response Collecting strategy to encourage RCA designers from a range of disciplines to respond to contemporary

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Vladimir Malevich, Modern Lubok Postcard, 1914-1917. Courtesy Anthony d'Offay and The Gallery of Russian Art and Design

Exhibition: A Game in Hell, London

With this year marking a hundred years since the start of the First World War, there are a plethora of exhibitions opening dedicated to the subject. A Game In Hell: The Great War in Russia at The Gallery of Russian Arts and Design stands out as an absolutely fascinating insight

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Damian Le Bas with his artwork, 1984. 'This picture was taken for my husband Damian’s portfolio when he was applying for the Royal College Of Art.'

Weekly Reads

Here, David Armitage discusses the problems with a systemic ‘short-termism’ and lack of historical perspective in public policy formation today. Within a governmental system that privileges ‘quarterly reporting, brief electoral cycles and planning horizons of at most five years’ to determine almost all aspects of public life, the historical perspective

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Doir by Raf Simons, S/S 2013. Floral Ball Gown. © Stephen Mattues

Exhibition Opening: MoMu Now, Antwerp

  For Antwerp’s Mode Museum, the exhibition MoMu Now provides an opportunity to display some of its most recent acquisitions, showcasing the work of contemporary Belgian designers and recent graduates. The museum has long focused its acquisition policy around the collecting of contemporary designers work, such as Maison Martin Margiela,

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Sustainability and the City

In London, issues around sustainable design have come to the fore over the last few weeks. As more than 40,000 campaigners took to the streets to march against climate change, designers across London exhibited their responses to environmental issues at both the London Design Festival and London Fashion Week. The

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