City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Dyson quits UK’s Design Museum

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“I am very keen on all forms of design, including graphic design and fashion design, but under Terence Conran’s original ethos it should maintain a balance,” Mr Dyson said yesterday.”

The Chairman of London’s Design Museum, James Dyson, has quit, after declaring that the Museum has been pursuing a ‘style-over-substance’ strategy. I’m not sure how I feel about the Museum these days. I was very disappointed by the Manolo Blahnik exhibition and some of the Designer of the Year stuff but have enjoyed their coverage of Archigram (although the exhibits are too small). And their website is still woeful. Hmmm.

So, does Dyson have a valid point or is it a storm in a nicely-designed teacup? Discuss …

Daily Telegraph: Dyson quits Design Museum in disgust over ’empty styling’
[via Things]


One response to “Dyson quits UK’s Design Museum”

  1. Dan Avatar

    Rick Poynor’s written a piece about this for Design Observer, coming out on the side of Rawsthorn. Excerpt:

    “Both Conran and Dyson have contributed to a cultural climate in which style is a priority. Design Museum visitors understand that appearances have become vital transmitters of meaning, as well as a way of adding commercial value. While the uses of style should be rigorously examined and where necessary critiqued, it’s entirely appropriate for a museum focusing on design to acknowledge and investigate the inextricable relationship of form and content, style and purpose, in contemporary life.”

    More than one observer has noted the whiff of misogyny that seemed to emanate from this middle-aged, masculine emphasis on engineering and against-the-odds invention versus such supposed fripperies as shoes, hats and – so it appeared – graphic communication. Perhaps some of the areas addressed by the museum’s exhibitions do appeal more to its many women visitors, but so what? The boys can make a beeline for an exhibition about the evolution of the E-type Jaguar, showing on the same floor as Spry.”

    With any luck, this storm in a teacup will now blow over and Rawsthorn and her team will be allowed to get on with the task of developing one of Europe’s most valuable design institutions. After a meeting of the trustees on 28 October, the museum announced that Conran had been invited to become “Life President and Life Trustee . . . in recognition of his unique contribution as its founder” – a signal that he has decided to stick around, after all. The search for a replacement chairman is under way.”

    Design Observer: Fear and Loathing at the Design Museum


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