In conjunction with its official opening on December 2, 2017, the V&A Gallery at the Design Society museum in Shenzhen—designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki—has debuted its inaugural exhibition, dubbed “Values of Design.” Presenting a broad exploration of the relationship between notions of value and design, the exhibit was conceived by London-based Sam Jacob Studio and is on view in the permanent gallery space of the V&A museum. “Values of Design” features more than 250 objects from 900 AD to the present, and originating from 31 different countries, to frame a global debate about how design is valued. Drawing from the V&A’s extensive permanent collection, the objects are organized into seven themes—including performance, cost, problem solving, materials, identity, communication and wonder—to provide the framework of the exhibition narrative as they represent broad value statements about design.
“The new V&A gallery presents design as more than just a matter of ‘good’ and ‘bad,’” said Sam Jacob. “Instead the show creates an arena of different and sometimes conflicting possibilities. It argues that design performs many different roles depending on its purpose, its attitude and its context. The design of the gallery organizes space, material and media to make this argument both intellectually rich and experientially visceral, advancing a sophisticated understanding of the way design shapes the contemporary world.”
Sam Jacob Studio worked alongside lead curator Brendan Cormier to craft the dynamic gallery design in which the thematic sections—comprised of materials that reflect each subject—are distributed across an open floor plan and complemented by strips of moving wallpaper, which feature illustrative imagery. The exhibition also includes a thought-provoking interactive section.
“It is very exciting to be part of this project to present Chinese audiences with an extensive selection of works from the V&A’s permanent collection,” said Cormier. “The exhibition ‘Values of Design’ looks at objects that propose a different way of addressing a certain value and exploring what that says about design in our everyday life. Through this new show, and the upcoming thought-provoking exhibitions at the V&A Gallery, we hope to continue to collaborate with and inspire the local community.”