Ron Arad exhibition “Restless” @ The Barbican (until 16 May 2010)


Every Thursday at the Ron Arad exhibition, Absolut puts on a revolving bar designed by two of Ron Arad’s students which serves, amongst other things, vodka martini.  The HPL just wanted to say that we very much like drinking an olive-filled vodka martini before an exibition and think all London museums should follow suit. 

Martini-glow aside, I knew absolutely nothing about Ron Arad before going along last night.  Ron Arad is a London-based designer, architect and artist who explores functionality and aesthetics, a sort of senior Phillippe Starck-type.

So, what do I know about design and architecture?  Absolutely zip. But the exhibition has been designed so you think about it. 

Architects and designers are obsessed with chairs.  For me, they were just something to park my behind on, which is why I was excited to find that the exhibition made me think differently.  The first room, where you sit avec martini, is all about function.  The chairs are interesting sure, but they’re deliberately functional – stacked in piles, sat upon.  They’re hard-wearing, versatile, could be mass-produced and put in a garden, cool East end office, school, Ikea.

But then you move on and the chairs become different – they move, take on unusual shapes.  Is this still function or is it art?  Can it be both?  You also see Arad’s work on lighting and architecture – again this mixture of enlightened design and art, but also there’s a functionality about some of the pieces, which I’d have in my house.

To the top floor where design became art for me – I loved these chairs.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful they looked – a chair??!  Colourful, undulating, sexy.  There was no touchy-touchy and I’m not sure if I’d want to sit my ass on them, or just stare at them, but I was mesmerised (altho, might be the martini).  

I just frickin’ love this one above.  I mean its a chair, right, but it looks like the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, doesn’t it??  Its a wicker chair but it could also be a rabbit.  You could sit on it or it could chase you round the room. 

The exhibition was filled with students, artists, kids, and, like me, occasional-Wallpaper-reading Londoners interested to see new things. Tickets were £8 online and get you £2 off entry to the Design Museum.  The outside terrace of the Barbican looked awesome so I’d stop there for drinks before or after too.

UPDATE:  To see all the photos I took at the exhibition, please see the HPL’s flickr page.

One response to “Ron Arad exhibition “Restless” @ The Barbican (until 16 May 2010)

  1. Pingback: Pop T'art London - Ron Arad at The Barbican

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