Design for Our Times / V&A Dundee

Showcasing seven projects from designers, artists and researchers working across Scotland, Design for Our Times celebrated new ideas, ingenuity & material invention.

Design for Our Times was curated by DES’s Susanna Beaumont. It first showed at Brompton Design Week / London Design Festival 2021, travelling on in expanded form to V&A Dundee where it was on display until June 2022.

Design for Our Times – celebrating ingenuity & exploration in design & material innovation. Image Mhairi Maxwell.

Celebrating innovation & experimentation in materials & making for our contemporary age, Design for Our Times amplifies the vital need to support creative thinking & invention.

Andrew Miller Pend, 2021. Light sculptures constructed from glassware found in charity shops. Image Michael McGurk

Design for Our Times showcases seven projects at the forefront of sustainable design. The contemporary designers, artists and researchers featured demand a sustainable future by questioning established norms, re-visiting time-honoured materials and practices, and proposing practical solutions to issues of waste and overconsumption. From materials to processes, these innovative projects explore new possibilities and foster groundbreaking new ideas that could help tackle some of biggest challenges of our contemporary age. 

Ffion & Stephen Blench | Chalk Plaster 

Aymeric Renoud | Draff 

Maria Lander & Peter Large | Future Practical 

Dr Sam Chapman & Prof. Gabriela Medero | Kenoteq 

Andrew Miller | Andrew Miller Studio 

Lewis Harley & Simon Harlow | Mirrl 

Catriona Brown | Shroom 

Andrew Miller’s Terrace, a sculptural configuration of benches.

Chalk Plaster Theo, 2021 & Mrs Marshall’s Intonaco stool, 2018 on plinths designed by Future Practical.
Chalk Plaster’s stool exhibited on Future Practical’s aluminium plinths. Image Ruth Clark

A table & screen made from ‘spent grain’ leftover from the distilling process by Draff Studio of Dundee.
Draff Studio’s Feuilleté chair

Design for Our Times shares insights into the inspiration that lies behind the creation of a functional object. The exhibition seeks to illuminate the role of the designer as a catalyst of change, the design process, and to illustrate the careful determination and creativity that takes an initial idea through the trial and error of experimentation, prototype development, towards the exciting and sometimes challenging exploration of potential applications in the wider world.

Inspiration & Experimentation – the exhibition illuminated the way the designers explored ideas, took risks and found inspiration to fuel their creative adventures.
Development & Potential – the wall of the Michelin Design Gallery illuminating the process of making & creating. Image Ruth Clark
Chalk Plaster – various pigments made from stones collected along the beaches of Fife together with sample

Driven by a desire to make a difference, these individuals question established norms, re-visit time-honoured materials and practices, and propose practical solutions to issues of waste and overconsumption.

The objects and processes highlighted in this exhibition encourage us to consider new approaches to sustainable behaviour: from repurposing waste and discarded objects to using natural resources in place of manufactured materials. 

The K-briq made of over 90% construction waste in East Lothian.
Dixon drinking fountain designed & made by Mirrl of Glasgow, commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland.
Catriona Brown’s Shroom, a tree shelter made out of mycelium. Image Ruth Clark
A close up of Shroom, a prototype tree shelter made of mycelium by Catriona Brown. Image Michael McGurk.

Design for Our Times made its debut at London Design Festival | Brompton Design District in September. Design for Our Times is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.