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13 APRIL 2011

The Design Research Unit: 1942 -72 [UK touring exhibition]

Friday 15 April – Friday 13 May 2011, Bonington Gallery, Bonington building, NTU City site, Nottingham, UK. This is a Cubitt Gallery touring exhibition.

"Formed in London in 1942, The Design Research Unit were responsible for some of the most important design produced in post–war Britain. They pioneered a model for multidisciplinary practice, being the first consultancy in the country to bring together expertise in architecture, graphics and industrial design. By the 1970s it was one of the largest and most established design offices in Europe.

This exhibition is the first of its kind, mapping the history of the group and the currency of their designs. It spans more than four decades of their work, focusing on some of their most significant projects and charting their ambition to bring elegant and functional design to all sections of society. It covers three phases of activity; the group's early origins and founder members, initial work in exhibition design and the Unit's role in devising some of the first and most comprehensive corporate design schemes commissioned for British industry.

The Design Research Unit: 1942 –72 will be open to the general public on 15 April 2011. Admission is free."

(Nottingham Trent University, UK)

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TAGS

19421970s2011architectureauthorshipBonington GalleryBritish designBritish industryBritish Rail • commercial design • consultancy • corporate design • corporate identitycreative practice • Cubitt Gallery • design formalismdesign historydesign researchDesign Research UnitDRUexhibitionexhibition designgraphicshistoryindustrial designinterdisciplinaryNottinghamNTUpioneeringpostwarrail • touring exhibition • UKvisual communication

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 JULY 2010

London Underground Victoria Line ceramic tiles

The Victoria Line that opened between 1968 and 1971 "provided the opportunity to produce a new and consistent look across the whole line, from the trains themselves to the stations and platforms. All aspects of design were overseen by Misha Black, the Design Consultant for London Transport (1964–1968), who previously had a similar role with British Rail. He employed the talents of the The Design Research Unit (DRU) – a collective of designers, artists and architects who designed all aspects of the VIctoria Line.

Each platform was designed with a very muted colour scheme, described by some of the press at the time as the 'late lavatorial style' (1, P58). The tiled designs in each seat recess provided much needed colour and decoration, and gave each stop its own visual identity. The results were a mixture of direct inspiration from the station name and references to historical details of the local area."

(Ian Moore, Design Assembly, 3 May 2010)

Fig.1 Stockwell by Abram Games – a semi–abstract swan, representing the nearby pub of the same name.

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TAGS

19681969197120th century • Abram Games • blocks of colourBritish Rail • Brixton • ceramic tileceramicscolourcolour schemecreative practicedecorationdesigndesign historyDesign Research UnitDRUgeometric designshistorical detailhistoryidentitylocalLondon TransportLondon Underground • Misha Black • motif • name • rail • station platform • Stockwell • train stationTube (transport)tube stationUKundergroundunderground line • VIctoria Line • visual communicationvisual depictionvisual designvisual identityvisual motif • Walthamstow Central • Warren Street

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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