In October 2008, Block was commissioned to design Hussein Chalayan’s first solo exhibition in the UK at The Design Museum in London. Here we were able to continue an ongoing collaborative working process with the Turkish/Cypriot born fashion designer.
Given the multifarious output from Hussein’s studio; Fashion / Art / Objects / Film, we didn’t see this as an exhibition solely concerned with fashion. More, that it’s an extensive body of work from a single creative individual working across a range of media. The challenge and role of the exhibition designer in this context was not necessarily to provide a concept for the show; each collection or work is individually conceptual. We saw our role in the process as providing a clean and elegant backdrop to ‘hold’ the different works together in a similar way to how a gallery space performs.
To give continuity from the previous spaces we had created for Chalayan, we ‘borrowed’ some material references – black pebbles for the plinth bases (used in our concession installation at Dover Street Market), olive trees (which were located outside in the Design Museum’s display Tank) and generic office strip curtains (used in his Tokyo shop).
At first glance this could be seen as a collage of unrelated materials. However, it’s a deliberate move to create subtle juxtapositions with the work and provides visual continuity between each space. The curtains mark the threshold between the collections as you move through the exhibition, and the bespoke LED dot matrix signage provides a consistent way-finder throughout.