Craft + Manufacture at The Aram Gallery


Craft + Manufacture
Industrial Design by Foster + Partners
at The Aram Gallery
Until 2nd July 2016

Being ever-so-slightly obsessed with the creative process, Craft + Manufacture the latest exhibition at The Aram Gallery is right up my boulevard. This fascinating show looks at the design approach of the Industrial Design team at Foster + Partners, the London architectural practice founded by Sir Norman Foster – famed for his iconic architecture projects which include 30 St Mary Axe aka ‘The Gherkin’ and, what must be the most-Instagrammed atrium in the world, the beautiful crisscross-glazed courtyard at the British Museum.

But Foster + Partners is not all about behemoth projects in bricks and mortar or concrete and glass, it has also developed a reputation for applying the same attention to detail that goes into their architecture as they do into the smaller aspects of the design world, things that we can touch and use every day.


It was on the practice’s 1981 move to new office premises on Great Portland Street that their Industrial Design Team was born. Needing new drafting tables for the new office, Foster + Partners found the choice of off-the-shelf tables wanting. So, necessity being the mother of invention, they designed their own. In fact this desk was further developed for Renault’s industrial HQ in Swindon and went on to be refined into the Nomos range of furniture for Italian manufacturer Tecno.

You can follow this and many other design-process arcs in the Aram’s Craft + Manufacture exhibition and the whole show reveals the practice’s philosophy of experimenting, refining and optimising every single element of a product. This is craft in the truest sense of the word.


Craft + Manufacture takes you from the earliest genesis of an idea through to the finished product. The exhibition’s strength lies in the way it gives you a real understanding of the collaborative nature of this design team and an insight into the hundreds of tiny decisions that go into designing anything from the cabin interior of an executive jet to solutions to how the air is controlled in a double decker Routemaster bus. There is everything here from super yachts to dining tables, water taps to chairs and loads of brilliant lighting solutions.

This is another great exhibition from The Aram Gallery and a must for anyone who has an interest in the collaborative process of design and indeed the very act-of-making itself. Good one.

The exhibition is on until 2nd July 2016.

All photographs ©The London Art File

Craft + Manufacture
Industrial Design by Foster + Partners

Admission: FREE

Opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
Thursdays until 7pm

The Aram Gallery
110 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5SG
0207 557 7526



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