Design – Design is not all about functionality. Would you throw away your beloved late grampa’s old watch even if it hasn’t been working in decades? In R for Repair, curators Hans Tan Studio and Jane Withers Studio invited British and Singaporean designers to creatively repair and renew broken sentimental objects submitted by members of the public.
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“As we address global waste output and the need to rethink our relationship to objects,” the curators told Archipanic. The Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition during London Design Festival “embraces a growing landscape of initiatives designed to encourage a repair culture.” R for Repair is brought forward by the DesignSingapore Council and the Singaporean National Design Center.
Designer Ng Si Ying created a cast and belt out of rattan for a toy puffin submitted by UK-based Oli Stratford. The toy and 30th birthday present was damaged by a cat and then repaired using an intricate weaving technique.
Even a humble plate can tell an epic story, such as the tea saucer included in the exhibition that was smuggled out of Paris’ iconic Maxim restaurant by actress Jane Birkin in the 1970s. Donated by Andrew and Karen Birkin, this memento to the fashion muse was repurposed by Studio Dam. The designers also repaired a porcelain dinner plate that broke down the middle with steel staples and epoxy glue.
Other objects in the exhibition include a grandmother’s no-longer-working camera, redesigned by Singaporean experimental architect and designer Syafiq Jubri – whose work focuses on drawing and mechanical design.
The rich histories that accompany the objects, despite their fractured state, add a unique sense of character and sentiment to the items, inviting us to rethink how we, as a society, relate to old and damaged objects and ascribe value to the material items in our lives.
All photos: courtesy of London Design Festival.