Design for Life is a project by designer Stuart Walker at Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin. It includes:
The exhibition presents objects and words that challenge our conventions and offer hope for a more meaningful future. It looks at the inner journey and its effects on our attitudes and actions as well as on creativity and solitude. Blurring the boundaries between art and design, the objects raise fundamental questions about the modern condition and the costs of consumer culture. They offer a positive vision that is socially and culturally meaningful, locally relevant and environmentally responsible and they invite us to reflect on critical contemporary questions about progress, technology, nature, spirituality and death. Collectively they show why urgent change is needed not only for social good and environmental care but also to counter the anxiety and meaninglessness created by our distracted lifestyles. Through humour, satire and pathos the works elicit surprise, disquiet and reflection.
These contemporary ideas and speculative objects resonate strongly with John Ruskin’s thoughts on ethical work, social welfare and environmental responsibility and so it is particularly apt for this exhibition to be hosted at Brantwood, Ruskin’s former home overlooking Coniston Water, Cumbria. During the public forum, Director of Brantwood Howard Hull, will give a talk focusing on the relationship between Stuart Walker’s design practice and Ruskin's ideologies.
Design for Life takes place in the Blue Gallery at Brantwood and throughout the house, aligning Walker’s contemporary and provocative approach to design with Ruskin’s philosophy on ethics, work and wealth. Given Ruskin’s influence on, and interest in, design throughout his life, it is remarkable that this is the first exhibition of design at his historic home.
“It addresses all the concerns that we ought to be exploring here and with which Ruskin was so engaged”
Howard Hull, Director, Brantwood
Design for Life is supported by Arts Council England, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and Brantwood and is curated, produced and managed by Suzy Jones (www.suzyjones.co.uk)
You can find out more about Stuarts work and its foundations in his TEDx talk here