Midlands Modern Review

The Midlands Modern exhibition is currently taking place in Parkside Gallery until January 14th, 2017 and is an opportunity to see some great exhibits of modern Midlands manufacturing. At a recent private viewing of the show, I got the chance to look through the range of exhibits on display.

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To start off some of my personal highlights, I first looked at the Gordon Russell exhibit containing the design work of Richard Drew Russell. This particular exhibit shows design work on chairs and includes a cathedral chair from Coventry. These chairs have interesting design elements to enhance the functionality of the seat.

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One of the most exciting pieces within this part of the exhibition is the 1949 Baffle Console and Radio Cabinet.  The design and curvature alone make it interesting. It also serves the purpose of baffling the sound from the radio console above making it a must see for audiophiles.

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Midlands Modern also features designer Susie Coopers work for Wedgewood Group. Wedgewood is still a household name in ceramics and tableware today but the Carnaby Daisy and Gay stripes surface patterns by Susie really makes this range of Wedgewood stand apart. The ceramics exhibit highlight how designs can change the nature of an ordinary object into something far more interesting aesthetically.

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Midlands Modern covers the wide spectrum of disciplines in manufacturing and design throughout the Midlands. The works of printed and woven fabric by Tibor Reich are on display within the exhibition space. In the mid-1950’s Tibor developed a brand new approach to textile design entitled Fotextur to create revolutionary next design for fabric. It is fascinating to see some of the different results of Tibor’s experimental design work in the gallery.

The Midlands manufacturing scene isn’t just known for its work with ceramics, design and fabrics. Midlands Modern includes a wide range of different displays including steel and metalwork, lighting and more.

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I would highly recommend visiting the gallery for this enjoyable exhibition as not only are the exhibition ranging in variety and interest but are a testament to midlands manufacturing over the years. Curator Richard Snell has also provided an interesting video to give you an insight to some of the thinking behind the designs. He also highlights that these designs are important as part of Midlands history and heritage and they will also be part of its future in manufacturing and design.

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A lot of companies involved that pioneered these designs are still going strong today. Their influences can be seen in other modern day products and manufacturing processes. With the Midlands beginning to experience growth again, new opportunities will arise in manufacturing and design. By looking into the manufacturing designs and successes of the past in Midlands Modern, we can see that they are still relevant today and could be a great influence for future design and manufacturing processes within the Midlands.

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Midlands Modern is now open and will continue until January 14th. Check out the website for more details on all of the current and future exhibitions and sign up for the regular newsletters.

Parkside Gallery is active on Twitter and Instagram via @ParksideGallery, so if you go to the exhibition, be sure to tweet or tag the gallery using #MidlandsModern

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