Now semi-derelict and, though the existing building dates from around 1900, the Bargehouse has had quite a history from King James I’s Royal Barge House to a meatpacking warehouse and is now a popular venue for contemporary art and design exhibitions, with contemporary work contrasting against the old crumbling building.
This week, several designers are showing their work across several floors of the building in a series of curated spaces in ‘The Future of Craft’.
Fung and Bedford’s hanging architectural origami panels fill one room, gently moving as the visitor weaves in and out, with different experiences against the decaying brick walls and rusting steel frames of the windows, which allow light to flow through the panels. There is a 21st century twist in that these have been treated to be fire-proof, which seems to also have contributed to their strength. Paper is also a theme that we see in the ground floor entrance with its central hanging installation and the paper marbling for book binding by Freya Scott for Paperwilds.
The curated spaces include Design Nation and Future Icons, showing the imagination and dexterity of a selection of some of the best British and international designers, in a wide variety of media, again working in counterpoint with the old derelict architecture of the Bargehouse. It is difficult to pick out specific designers from such an excellent array of talent, but Christine Meyer-Eagleston’s marquety has a touch of Frank Lloyd Wright, Kevin Stemper’s architectural furniture is just amazing, Jacky Puzey’s textiles are rich and gorgeous, Leszek Sikon’s metalwork reminds us that knives can be beautiful if used properly, Helen Yardley’s rugs creatively fill one of the spaces while Pipet’s printed fabrics continue the tradition of Liberty and Margo Selby’s geometric coloured fabrics bring new style to modern furniture and Georgia Blossom brings the heat and patterns of Mexico to a cold London day.
Nick Rawcliffe’s lights create quite a surreal atmosphere against the old brickwork and Sarah Villeneau’s lifelike ceramics are positively spooky within the decaying atmosphere of the Bargehouse, contrasting with the simple elegance of Linda Bloomfield’s pots and vases.
Lastly, interaction, technology and light combine in Studio Catinca Tilea’s perpetually changing #1minute lamp.