An IKEA soft toy, a pair of Primark jeans, a 3D-printed gun and a piece of lift cable are just a few of the objects that will go on display in a new gallery at the V&A this summer.
Ikea wolf Lufsig soft toy. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The objects have been recently acquired as part of the Museum’s new approach to collecting contemporary design and architecture, known as ‘Rapid Response Collecting’. This new strategy will help the V&A engage in a timely way with important events that shape, or are shaped by design, architecture and technology.
UltraRope. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Regularly updated with new objects, it will be the first gallery in the Museum that can be responsive to global events, technological advances, political changes or pop cultural phenomena that have an impact on art, design and architecture. The long-term result will be a permanent legacy of objects in the collection that will help future visitors and researchers to access material culture in the 21st century.
Denim Co slim jeans. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Kieran Long, Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital at the Museum, said: “The V&A has always strived to understand social history through objects of design, art and architecture, and with this new strategy we are bringing that social commitment to bear on the contemporary world.”
Objects in the opening display will include a sample of KONE UltraRope, a new lightweight lift cable. This new material will enable lifts to travel 1000 metres in a single run, potentially transforming city skylines as buildings get slimmer and higher.
The world’s first 3D printed gun, ‘the Liberator’, designed by Texan Law student Cody Wilson will also be on show. The gun upended discussions about the benefits of new manufacturing technologies and the unregulated sharing of designs online, and continues to make the news.
A pair of jeans from Primark, acquired soon after the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1129 workers will be displayed. The factory made clothes for a number of major western brands, including Primark and the jeans are an example of the fast fashion that characterises the Bangladeshi textiles industry, but also material evidence of the Rana Plaza disaster.
Corinna Gardner, V&A Curator of Contemporary Product Design at the V&A and Curator of Rapid Response Collecting, said: “Much of the commentary in the media around the Rana Plaza disaster was about international labour laws, building control in Bangladesh and the responsibilities of global corporations and of consumers. But at its heart was a material thing: a pair of jeans that you can buy on any British high street. By bringing these designed objects into the Museum we can explore contemporary issues and events that can seem remote or abstract.”
The gallery will open to the public from 5 July 2014.