RCA show 2014

Posted on July 24, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

RCA show 2014

RCA show 2014 at their Kensington campus


There are many design graduation exhibitions in June and July but the RCA show is certainly one of the most popular one. The design industry is always looking for new talents, so this show is a good opportunity to meet the design stars of the future. There are two venues for the show, presenting the work of 575 post graduate students. I always seem to only manage to visit one, the Kensington venue because this alone would take up at least two hours!

Due to the huge amount of work on display, I probably skipped some fine stuff, the projects mentioned here are just some that stood out to me. If there is any info that is missing or incorrect, feel free to leave comments so that I can make amendments.

Mireia Gordi Vila's "Fragile" explores packaging for shipping and created a flexible packaging system as a reusable companion to the packaged object rather than a disposable skin. It is an inquiry into the materiality and the typologies of transport packaging for valuable goods. Find out more about it via Dezeen.

Ayca Dundar's "Drop umbrella" re-examines the design of umbrellas (perhaps long overdue) and she came up with an umbrella that has a flexible and foldable structure that depends on material properties rather than hinges and joints. It offers a simple alternative to the complex structure of common umbrellas. When opened it has a unique organic shape with a surprising opening and closing movement. Find out more and watch a video on it via Dezeen.

I spoke to Alexandra Theunissen about her to toy-like display of "DYSsonance", a project aiming to help dyslexic people understand, read, play and compose music. The "DYSsonance notation" is a graphical language based on colourful and simple shapes, which would aid a dyslexic person who is a visual thinker. An interesting concept and the end results look fun too.


Mireia Gordi Vila Chuhan LiangYen Chen Changyasuhiro suzukiJohanna Schmeergangjian cui Julian Melchiorri

Top left: Mireia Gordi Vila's "Fragile"; Top right: Chuhan Liang's "Rice Water project"; 2nd row left: Yen Chen Chang's “Crafting electronics”; 2nd row middle: Yasuhiro Suzuki's "Re-Cocoon"; 2nd row right: Johanna Schmeer's "Bioplastic fantasy"; Bottom left: Gangjian Cui's "The Rise of the Plasticsmith"; Bottom right: Julian Melchiorri's "Silk leaf"


Chuhan Liang's Rice Water project examines how to turn 'waste liquid' into something more sustainable. The milky liquid left after washing rice has been used as a natural detergent for hundreds of years in eastern culture. Liang designed a series of tools for collecting and applying this, so that the liquid can be used as sustainable alternative of chemical detergents for domestic cleaning

Yen Chen Chang's project “Crafting electronics” is intriguing and fun! His project explores the combination of craft and electronics, and finding a balance in-between. One of his work is as grass carpet, which acts as a strokes sensor that controls a fan, and the harder you stroke on the grassy surface the stronger wind the fan generates. Another is a knitted ball/squeeze sensor which controls the juicer, and the harder you workout, the more orange juice you get later. Cool stuff! Find out more and watch a video of it via Dezeen.

Yasuhiro Suzuki's beautiful and organic-looking silk lampshades caught my eye at the show. The project, "Re-Cocoon" features lampshades directly moulded from silk cocoons through the use of a custom-built machine with a power drill that grabs strands from the cocoons placed below in a boiling pot of water. Find out more and watch a video of this via Designboom.

Johanna Schmeer's eye-catching installation, "Bioplastic Fantastic" investigates new types of products and interactions which might emerge from material innovations in the fields of bio- and nanotechnology. It speculates about the future design and use of domestic products made from enzyme-enhanced bioplastics. Find out more and watch a video on it via Dezeen.

I really like Gangjian Cui's concept behind the project, "The Rise of the Plasticsmith". The project speculates on China's post-industrial future, envisioning the rise of a new breed of post-industrial workers who will use plastic crafts to tell the glorious history of the industrial age. Find out more and watch a video on it via Designboom.

I was fascinated by Julian Melchiorri's "Silk Leaf & Exhale", an artificial leaf derived from silk protein and chloroplasts that absorbs carbon dioxide and emits oxygen and biomass via the photosynthesis of stabilised chloroplasts in the silk protein.  Silk Leaf can generate more oxygen and biomass than a normal leaf, depending on the number of chloroplasts embedded in the silk.  Silk Leaf could be used as lights (see above) and architectural surfaces that provide air purification.


IMG_8760 Savvas Zinonosjiayu liuRCA show 2014suhee leeHyungchung KimIMG_8744 Peter Shenai

Top right: Savvas Zinonos' "Voice boxes"; Main: Jiayu Liu's "Within Invisibility"; 3rd row middle: Suhee Lee's "Sound-writer"; 3rd row right: Hyungchung Kim's "Kairos – Wind Sculpture"; Bottom left: Chrysostomos Tsimourdagkas's "London Temple"; Bottom right: Peter Shenai's "Change ringing bells"


Aside from design products, many impressive projects could be found at the Darwin building by students from the Visual Communications, Information experience design and animation departments.

Savvas Zinonos' "Voice boxes" (see above) is not only interesting to look at but it also trys to capture, document and contain every single movement of the mouth during speech production in a box. The designer is interested inthe process of speaking and communicating through translating it into different mediums and containing the ephemerality of speech in a physical space.

Chinese student, Jiayu Liu's (see above) "Within Invisibility" explores the connection between one’s perception of a city and its data. The multisensory experience was created via live wind data from 40 major Chinese cities, each represented by two fans. Wind speed change over the past six hours is proportionally condensed into six seconds, and visitors could feel the wind speed via the collected data.

Similar to Jiayu Liu (see above), Korean student, Hyunchung Kim's "Kairos – Wind Sculpture" is also based on wind data. Viewers can watch the speed of the wind according to the real-time wind speed data feed from a selected city.

I had the opportunity to speak to another Korean student, Suhee Kim about her "Sound-water" project. Interestingly, Suhee converted an old typewriter into a musical instrument, and it was utterly strange and fun to hear sounds when I was encouraged to play with the typewriter. Very cool indeed!

"Change Ringing" is a collaborative artwork (very Zen-like) by artist Peter Shenai and composer Laurence Osborn that forms around a playable sculpture, which doubles as a percussion instrument. The instrument incorporates a set of six bronze bells, each of whose shape mathematically corresponds to statistical sets derive from the increase in summer temperatures/climate change across the Northern Hemisphere over the last 100 years. The entire row of bells, therefore, constitute a ‘tone row’ that narrates the story of climate change through sound. The tone row provides the basis for a composition, written by Laurence, for ten players: nine solo string instruments and a percussionist playing the bells themselves. This composition, entitled ‘Change Ringing’, was performed at the LSO Soundhub Showcase on June 28th. I love this creative project and would love to attend their future performance in London!


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