Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Preview: Ada Zanditon

Susan Hiller-Tate-Britain
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret one piece from the new collection… so read on to see what they did!

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, about it rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, recipe having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is, ailment ” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person,” she says. Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes.

With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished,” she says. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market of one.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.” As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important.

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon in her studio by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

There are only a few print designs in the new collection, which were printed locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change on a regular basis and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,ACOFI, ,Ada Zanditon, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Andrew and William Ho, ,Antarctica, ,British Wool, ,Broadway Market, ,Bulgaria, ,Danielle Shepherd, ,Dee Andrews, ,Donya Todd, ,Europa, ,extremophile, ,Georgiana, ,Ice Core, ,Jupiter, ,Kingston University, ,Lagerfield, ,lfw, ,Lithuania, ,London College of Fashion, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,McQueen, ,Morley College, ,Mulberry, ,Netil House, ,peace silk, ,Robert Scott, ,The Cryoflux, ,Ukraine, ,Victoria House, ,whitechapel, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Professor Brian Cox and his Wonders of the Solar System.

Professor Brian Cox - Wonders of Solar System
Illustration by Abigail Daker and Lesley Barnes.

This week I discovered the multifarious joys of Professor Brian Cox. I know I know, I’m a bit late with this one. But I don’t watch TV so I had to find the time and space to watch iPlayer – a tough call around these busy parts.

And find that time I did, over the course of less than 24 hours. Yes siree, I watched the 5 episodes of the BBC series Wonders of the Solar System more or less back to back, stopping only to catch up on a bit of the old shut eye. I’d heard the hype of course, and I’d read all about his previous pop-tastic career supporting our wonderful Labour government get into power with that infamous D:REAM anthem of the 1997 elections (love the prescient Heironymous Bosch backdrop to the video) Way back in the mists of time when I too thought that Tony Blair was saviour of the world I remember celebrating by dancing on the tables in a pub somewhere in North London until I threw up in the gutter. Woops. The ONLY time, I hasten to add, that I have ever done that, throughout a long and illustrious drinking career. Such was my excitement the day that Labour got in. Moving swiftly onwards…

So, what is it about the Cox that kept me glued to the screen? Well, cute science geeks have often turned my head, and Coxie’s boyish enthusiasm cannot help but rub off on even the most uninterested of parties, no matter how many times he *impulsively* uses the salt and pepper/rocks in a desert/lumps of whatever comes to hand with no planning whatsoever to demonstrate some law of the planets, you’ve got to love that sparkle in his eyes. And the way he smiles! Constantly smiles! There is nothing sexier.

But what is it about this series that is so very inspiring, apart from, obviously the presence of a very attractive floppy-haired boffin? Of course it’s not just Brian Cox that drew me into the Wonders of the Solar System series: it’s my fascination with new discoveries, and the marvel of life. Over the course of fiver hours I learnt that Jupiter’s moon Io is spewing fire, that there are beasties which live in ice as if it’s fluid which means there may be beasties living on Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa. Given the presence of gypsum salts even Mars could harbour life. This and so much more was revealed over the course of the superbly paced programmes. Even The Sun was enamoured of the series.

Professor Brian Cox - Wonders of Solar System
Illustration by Abigail Daker and Lesley Barnes.

Why are popularist programmes that reach out like this so important? Because they familiarise more of us with the wonders of the universe – and with the preciousness of our own planet, the “Goldilocks” world where conditions have evolved in just such a way that life is possible for such a wondrous array of species today. Not once does Brian Cox mention climate change, but I suspect this is deliberate. I’ve since watched an interview with him which makes his position clear – he is no denialist, thank god. (No sensible and educated scientist is.)

Maybe he thinks a bit like me: revel in the wonder of nature and life, and hope that the right conclusions will be drawn. I defy anyone to watch these programmes and not consider how lucky we are, how fragile our life is, how easily we could throw it all away. I hear rumours that Brian will be making another series though he is determined to carry on his role as professor at Manchester University (dontcha just love his commitment. I bet admissions applications have sky-rocketed for his courses.)

I wonder if he will tackle climate change. And if he doesn’t I can’t wait to see what he does do, because it’s bound not only to inspire far beyond the usual reach of scientific journalism, but it’s also likely to get more people into the scientific professions which is something we desperately need. A man who shows that the fleeting success of pop fame is nothing compared with the joy of physics: Brian Cox, you are a true icon for this age.

For now you have until Sunday 11th April to catch up with the professor on BBC iPlayer – I suggest you get in there straight away. There’s no time to waste!
You can also follow Brian Cox on twitter here.



Categories ,Abi Daker, ,Abigal Daker, ,BBC, ,Brian Cox, ,Climate Change, ,D:REAM, ,Heironymous Bosch, ,iPlayer, ,Jupiter, ,Labour, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Mars, ,Saturn, ,science, ,Television, ,The Sun, ,Tony Blair, ,Wonders of the Solar System

Similar Posts:

Bookmark this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn

Amelia’s Magazine | Professor Brian Cox and his Wonders of the Solar System.

Ron Arad chair model
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, more about and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, remedy which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the first chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept to come up with many versions before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest seems to be little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting take, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, treatment and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the first chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept to come up with many versions before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, viagra and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, case which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the first chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept to come up with many versions before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, physician and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the first chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept to come up with many versions before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, cheap and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the first chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept to come up with many versions before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, drugs and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Ron Arad reflective chair
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Once upon a time I assisted a well known stylist on a shoot with Ron Arad. We went to his vast warehouse studios in Camden to take the photo for a magazine, medical and my abiding memory is of the courtyard in front, for sale which was littered with the carcasses of old chairs.

Ron does chairs. This is a man who seriously, seriously loves something to sit on, so it comes as no surprise to find that the entire upper gallery of this Barbican exhibition is devoted to his many chair designs.

Ron Arad typewriter chair
Fun with a rusty old typewriter as seat pad.

Ron Arad Rover Chair
The Rover Chair. Image courtesy of the Barbican.

Ron Arad steel rover chair
The gleaming metal version in pride of place.

Here we can trace the journey of Ron’s love from the early days – when he casually tossed aside a career in architecture to pursue dreams of product design – up until the present. At first he took a higgeldy piggeldy approach to their construction: the chair that made him famous was one constructed from the leather car seat of a Rover. In one room we discover how he adapted and changed this original concept before culminating in the final denouement: a sleek recliner in gleaming steel proudly showcased in front of a digital LED screen. For why stop at just one product when you’re onto a winner? Herein lies the essence of Ron’s career – straddling the creation of one off works of art and mainstream manufacturing with gleeful abandon.

Ron Arad Tom Vac
Image courtesy of the Barbican. This was popular in trendy restaurants.

Ron Arad big chair
Ron Arad rocking chairs
Ron Arad. Well Transparent Chair
Image courtesy of the Barbican.

So what defines a Ron Arad work? Aesthetically he has messed around with all sorts of materials, especially in the early years, but if I had to pin it down to a couple of things, I would say he is principally concerned with bulk and sheen. Rotund forms bulge ominously towards the ceilings and floors of the small upper galleries, suggesting the swallowing of any daring seatee. Delicate this ain’t. Comfortable? Maybe, but we aren’t allowed to try. I particularly love a smooth red and white plastic chair, glowing like a giant boiled sweet. But I think I want to lick it rather than sit on it. Is this the reaction one should have to a chair? Semi-phallic pieces appear more sculptural than useful. Shiny metal surfaces reflect the gallery-goers like distorted mirrors, and automated rockers set the chairs in perpetual motion as directional lighting throws dramatic shadows against the encroaching walls.

Ron Arad red white chair
Ron Arad London Papardelle
Ron Arad sculptures

If we aren’t allowed to sit in the chairs upstairs there is much fun to be had stretching out on the various seating arrangements that populate the large open downstairs gallery. Particularly with my austostitch app in hand. On the walls there are bookshelves – his famous curved Bookworm, an impressive patchwork map of America and a giant bookshelf wheel that maintains an impressively upright angle as it regularly slips down a long slope. Some of the most interesting items are the models that Ron has sent out for mass production, complete with scribbled markings.

Ron Arad blue chairs
Ron Arad chairs
Ron Arad America bookcase
Ron Arad wheel bookshelf
Ron Arad chair model

In side rooms we discover Ron’s other projects, including some experimental lighting that plays with the direction of beams so that GOD reads WAR, and a giant disco ball. But it is in his recent return to architecture that Ron really goes to town, even if not much seems to have actually been built other than in Israel, country of his birth. The rest represents little more than extreme flights of fancy, huge brutalist monstrosities designed to house his chairs but destined to forever remain toy models.

Ron Arad War- God light
Ron Arad architecture
His architectural models left me cold. I mean, I love a bit of brutalism, but there’s a time and a place. Architecture now needs to take into account the environment.

The exhibition left me pondering when the time is right to have a retrospective. When is the work of an artist deemed of high enough calibre? Until recently Ron Arad was head of product design at the RCA and he is still very much an active designer today. This in itself makes for an interesting angle, but does he deserve such a major retrospective? I’m not convinced. At times it felt to me very much like this was the work of a one (or two or three) trick pony. Who, despite the title, likes very much to sit down.

Ron Arad: Restless is on until the 16th of May at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Professor Brian Cox - Wonders of Solar System
Illustration by Abigail Daker and Lesley Barnes.

This week I discovered the multifarious joys of Professor Brian Cox. I know I know, cialis 40mg I’m a bit late with this one. But I don’t watch TV so I had to find the time and space to watch iPlayer – a tough call around these busy parts.

And find that time I did, dosage over the course of less than 24 hours. Yes siree, dosage I watched the 5 episodes of the BBC series Wonders of the Solar System more or less back to back, stopping only to catch up on a bit of the old shut eye. I’d heard the hype of course, and I’d read all about his previous pop-tastic career supporting our wonderful Labour government get into power with that infamous D:REAM anthem of the 1997 elections (love the prescient Heironymous Bosch backdrop to the video) Way back in the mists of time when I too thought that Tony Blair was saviour of the world I remember celebrating by dancing on the tables in a pub somewhere in North London until I threw up in the gutter. Woops. The ONLY time, I hasten to add, that I have ever done that, throughout a long and illustrious drinking career. Such was my excitement the day that Labour got in. Moving swiftly onwards…

So, what is it about the Cox that kept me glued to the screen? Well, cute science geeks have often turned my head, and Coxie’s boyish enthusiasm cannot help but rub off on even the most uninterested of parties, no matter how many times he *impulsively* uses the salt and pepper/rocks in a desert/lumps of whatever comes to hand with no planning whatsoever to demonstrate some law of the planets, you’ve got to love that sparkle in his eyes. And the way he smiles! Constantly smiles! There is nothing sexier.

But what is it about this series that is so very inspiring, apart from, obviously the presence of a very attractive floppy-haired boffin? Of course it’s not just Brian Cox that drew me into the Wonders of the Solar System series: it’s my fascination with new discoveries, and the marvel of life. Over the course of fiver hours I learnt that Jupiter’s moon Io is spewing fire, that there are beasties which live in ice as if it’s fluid which means there may be beasties living on Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa. Given the presence of gypsum salts even Mars could harbour life. This and so much more was revealed over the course of the superbly paced programmes. Even The Sun was enamoured of the series.

Professor Brian Cox - Wonders of Solar System
Illustration by Abigail Daker and Lesley Barnes.

Why are popularist programmes that reach out like this so important? Because they familiarise more of us with the wonders of the universe – and with the preciousness of our own planet, the “Goldilocks” world where conditions have evolved in just such a way that life is possible for such a wondrous array of species today. Not once does Brian Cox mention climate change, but I suspect this is deliberate. I’ve since watched an interview with him which makes his position clear – he is no denialist, thank god. (No sensible and educated scientist is.)

Maybe he thinks a bit like me: revel in the wonder of nature and life, and hope that the right conclusions will be drawn. I defy anyone to watch these programmes and not consider how lucky we are, how fragile our life is, how easily we could throw it all away. I hear rumours that Brian will be making another series though he is determined to carry on his role as professor at Manchester University (dontcha just love his commitment. I bet admissions applications have sky-rocketed for his courses.)

I wonder if he will tackle climate change. And if he doesn’t I can’t wait to see what he does do, because it’s bound not only to inspire far beyond the usual reach of scientific journalism, but it’s also likely to get more people into the scientific professions which is something we desperately need. A man who shows that the fleeting success of pop fame is nothing compared with the joy of physics: Brian Cox, you are a true icon for this age.

For now you have until Sunday 11th April to catch up with the professor on BBC iPlayer – I suggest you get in there straight away. There’s no time to waste!
You can also follow Brian Cox on twitter here.

Categories ,Abi Daker, ,Abigal Daker, ,BBC, ,Brian Cox, ,Climate Change, ,D:REAM, ,Heironymous Bosch, ,iPlayer, ,Jupiter, ,Labour, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Mars, ,Saturn, ,science, ,Television, ,The Sun, ,Tony Blair, ,Wonders of the Solar System

Similar Posts: