Central Saint Martins Industrial Design Degree Show 2011

Categorised as ART., ART.

Note from the editor: Over the next couple of weeks we are going to be releasing features on various 2011 degree shows that our team were lucky enough to have visited. Given our limited set-up it was impossible to feature every artist we saw, let alone every show across the country, and for that we can only apologise. But to make amends we are giving you, our readers, the opportunity to submit your own work to be featured in one final feature on the class of 2011 at the end of next week. Just email your full name, degree, college, an image of your work and a brief description to marcus@mintmagazine.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you! MH

CSM MA Industrial Design Show 2011

I always feel a little sad for Industrial Design at any arts uni. It’s undoubtedly a tough course, yet never seems to grab the front pages of publications or gets wider acclaim in front of its trendy cousins; art and fashion. Luckily, this year CSM has seen it fit to have the ID show in the very first gallery space visitors see. A fitting tribute, seeing as starting this year, CSM students will be relocated to an industrial wasteland behind Kings Cross station, whilst the existing historic Southampton Row building will be made into the world’s largest Travelodge (presumably).

First up, a disclaimer; I am an alumni of the course, so I probably know it a little bit better than, say, the Daily Mail art critic, but that also can be a downfall too; MAID students are horribly critical and rightly so. It’s an uncomfortable necessity required to advance design further as a discipline, but it doesn’t half welt when you’re pitched against each other by your lecturer, Battle Royale style, and made to question each others work.  This year’s group has also had it tough, with the head of the department walking out on them halfway through the year.

I’m also wary of going to view galleries on private view days, which seem to be nothing more than a PR-fests for the upper classes and wannabe VIP’s hoping to get photographed at the show so it looks like they have “culture”, whilst ignoring the actual work itself. Worse still are the artists and designers that have to stand next to work to explain its meaning using four syllable or higher words, reminding everyone of that pastiche twat in Nathan Barley who took pictures of celebrities pissing. All of this is surrounded by the plethora of free booze that makes you forget you’re in a gallery space and instead, you’re in some “concept bar” in a former factory in Hackney. So, it is with that self-loathing thought that I make an immediate beeline to the free bar, dressed in my Yohji Yamamoto attire and a limited edition pair of Nike McFly’s, and spot these shining examples along the way.



Energising Neighbourhoods – Bharat Bhargava

The sheer size of this work should tell you this is serious. It’s a bastard-mash up of a piece of bike, a lamppost and a bench. It excels at being none of these individual objects, but as a whole, makes a fascinating piece that works really well in a public space. There’s always been a stigma against “adult playgrounds” due to the sheer paradoxical nature of the idea, but nevertheless, we’re content to play Wii Fit’s and Kinects to our hearts content. The mix of a waiting space and exercise bike in a public space is quite frankly a sweet and practical idea, given that we all can’t afford gym memberships.



Simply Measure It – Li Hsuan Chu

There’s a phrase used in design that something with a nice gimmick is just a “one liner” with no real substance behind it. This could be applied to Chu’s work here, but I’d disagree. It’s a highly marketable idea to people like myself who have no idea what actual portions are when cooking on their own, which is why I can only enter buildings through double door fire exits. This has Sainsbury’s written all over it, love.



Trace of Shadow – Kitjanes Kajornrattanadech

Kitjanes could win the longest name award joke here, but I’ll leave that particular witticism for Vice mag to pick up on when they do their ironic racism thing. The basic idea is that all objects are created with a “shadow” underneath. The shadow itself is actually another utensil in disguise. E.g. the shadow under a cup is in fact a saucer and houses a flat stirring spoon. It’s both space saving and visually elegant.

This piece may scream Muji to some, but I feel it’s a lot cleverer than that, both building on the existing minimalism that comes with certain Scandinavian and Japanese designs, whilst keeping the styling fresh.



The Knitting Craftsman – Jan Rose

So, this piece actually does win the WTF award from me. On the initial viewing, some of the pieces appear to be large props from “Land of the Giants”. However, on later inspection, it appears that Mr Rose has been knitting using material that you wouldn’t usually knit with, like wire mesh for example. Sitting down in the wire mesh knitted bean bag replacement is both an unnerving but highly relaxing experience. As I sit on it, some poindexter dressed like a 70’s gameshow host tells me I can’t sit on it “because I’m buying it RIGHT NOW.” I ignore him.



Complete me please – Hsiang Wang

Wang wins the “I fucking hate you hate you hate you” award from me. And that’s not a bad thing. I simply refer to the fact it’s one of those blisteringly obvious, kinda-been-done-before-but-in-a-worse-way ideas I wish I’d had. So in fact, that’s the highest accolade I can give.  The idea is simple, look for similar shapes in various different objects and see if you can make them part of each other in a way that requires both objects to be put back to make it complete. Take, for example, the bin. It houses the dustpan and brush, but removing them permanently makes the bin tilt at a not-very convenient angle. So you need to put it back together when you finish using it. The pegs that double as shoehorns are of similar ilk. Taking one object away reduces the functionality of the others. Really well thought out and aesthetically pleasing. WIN.

So that’s it from me, next time you’re at a degree show don’t forget us designers. Cuz we make those Apple Mac screen’s you’re staring at right now.

Ryan is the design lead at Inensu. 


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