Monday, November 1, 2010

Designing in Their Society

Actual design in society: this is an example I came across of designers doing exactly what they do (design) in their very own community and society.  Back in April of this year, I traveled to London, England with my family for a vacation.  While we were there, we went to art museums just about every day, ranging from historical ones to contemporary ones.  Some of these included the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, and the list literally could have gone on and on.  All of these museums had their similarities and differences, but none of them could have prepared me for what my sister showed me one of the days we were there. 

Off of the Waterloo station in London, there is this two hundred meter tunnel that is covered entirely by graffiti from different artists and designers from not only all over London, but all over the world.  In fact, Banksy even had an art exhibit one time in the tunnel, but the walls are not just for famous people to design on—it is for anyone and everyone.   All you need is spray paint.

Pictures curtesy of my trip to London :)

Walking through the tunnel, there is no possible way you can see everything that has been painted.  Not to mention, if you come back a week or so later, chances are something new will be added.  Artists and designers use contrasting colors in order to make their art and designs stand out, because quite honestly, at first glance, the gestalt of the tunnel is almost too chaotic and overwhelming.  But certain pieces definitely draw the eye—perhaps due to its message and typography, or unrealistic scaling and proportions, or even in a few cases, its realism.  Regardless of what caught my attention, I was consistently impressed as I walked through the tunnel.  And with the creation of this tunnel, the amount of vandalism in other areas of London was significantly decreased because these “designers” now had a legal outlet. 

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