Tuesday, 27 March 2012

So Far, the Future


Though So Far, the Future is probably the same size as a broom cupboard in the new Bermondsey White Cube, its aims are sizable indeed: to showcase the process and materials of design. It's always been something of a mystery to me that, given the size of London's design industry, there are so few dedicated design galleries in town. The best London-based design curators - Libby Sellers, DesignMarketo, and Faye Toogood - have always tended to exhibit in pop-up installations often coinciding with the London Design Festival. Before Sellers opened her new gallery space on Berners Street last year, I don't think it really occurred to anyone that collectors could be persuaded to buy design pieces as one-off or limited multiple editions from design galleries that weren't studios or showrooms. The LDF exhibitions were primarily directed towards press and manufacturers, just another part of the trade-show hoopla.

Perhaps the success of Sellers & co has inspired other young and would-be design curators to concoct more public-facing galleries. Or perhaps it's only now that a new generation of curators, who have been educated in a more interdisciplinary fashion, are realising that there may in fact be a market for design-technology-material hybrid gallery spaces after all. So Far, The Future, for example, was set up by Rebecca and Andreas Pohancenik: Andreas is creative director at Practice + Theory, which explains the gallery's apparent obsession with typography, and Rebecca has degrees in biology, philosophy of science as well as an MA from Kingston in curating contemporary design. The gallery's exhibition programme reflects the diversity of their backgrounds and feels largely driven by their educational and practical experiences. The exhibition I saw, Plastic Alchemy, didn't strike me as a complete success, but the ambition is certainly there and I look forward to seeing how the So Far, the Future programme develops. It's very exciting to see a dedicated design space set up by inquisitive and intelligent young curators who actually care about the process of design and in communicating that process to an audience wider than top-doller buyers.


Top photo copyright Duncan, bottom photo copyright So Far, the Future

1 comment:

Yvonne Courtney said...

The lack of design galleries in London seems to coincide with the increasing dominance of the internet. In the late 90s/noughties there were various dotted all over town - Haus (W1), Same (Brick Lane - by the guys who now run Designersblock), Mission (W2), Adam Bray (W11)... but another key reason is rent/rates. It may be easier to negotiate in today's climate but rest assured that will change when things perk up/developers start swirling in to gentrify an area (witness Redchurch St). Finally it's the age-old conundrum: a lot of UK-based design receives more attention/appreciation/ patronage abroad. Sad but true!