Design in Motion

Last week the Travelling Gallery found its way into Edinburgh: you might have stumbled across it in Grassmarket or on George Street. The idea of a rather monstrous looking, white bus acting as a gallery was unexpected but novel. Beginning in 1978, the Scottish Arts Council has ensured the entirety of Scotland has access to contemporary art, especially important for areas that are not as culturally fortunate as Edinburgh. Each exhibition also sees the commissioning of an artist to design the wrap of the vehicle, giving it a face-lift. On this occasion a William Morris wallpaper design covered the surface, vines winding themselves around the bonnet and flowering beside the wheels: a display perfect for the Design in Motion exhibition.

The exhibition is part of the V&A Dundee pre-opening program, displaying technology-infused creations by Scottish designers. The seven small exhibits are examples of software, fashion, jewellery, textiles, products, games and architecture “in motion”, they are products not possible before our technological age.

The first example of software is Anarkik3D Ltd’s 3D modelling tool, with haptic (touch) technology. The software is an amazing thing that senses on the screen the feel of an object. Another interactive piece is from Sophia George, the V&A’s first Game-Designer-in-Residence. George has used William Morris wallpaper again to create family computer games, escaping from the typical world of violence found in popular alternatives. When it comes to technologically created jewellery and fashion however, works by Lynne Maclachlan and Holly Fulton, the novelty does not hide their almost tacky nature: they may be practical but few people would choose computer created dresses over something handmade. Despite this, each of the designers on show has proven to be successful in their fields.

The Travelling Gallery is extremely limited in the space it has for exhibitions: each display is contained to one or two examples. The exhibits are innovative in design and pleasing in the interactive elements, something normally strictly forbidden in a gallery. Continue to follow the bus around Edinburgh this coming week if technological design takes your fancy.

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